Dreams and nightmares

No one will realistically think that you can make a living out of literature in Brazil. I faced many difficulties. When I was young, my parents in a desperate act of love, as they cared for me, sent me to a mental institution. They thought I was mad, as I wanted to be a writer. However, I was absolutely convinced about what I wanted to be.

The fact that you know your dreams is not enough. It is not good, living with the fact that you have it in you. You have to think of measures to manifest your dreams and be brave enough to pay the price of it. In a way, I postponed my dreams, and I was almost 40 when I dare to write my first book, The Pilgrimage.

And my second book, The Alchemist, was first published and then put out of print by my first publisher. “This title will never sell more than 900 copies”, he said. Today “The Alchemist is among the best selling books of all times.

If you are hurt about something that is meaningless to you, you can blame anybody else for it. But it is quite complicated to be hurt about something that is meaningful to you.
Then you get confused, as you know the dream is there. And the dream is not going to leave you as long as you live.
But besides the pain, there is also a great joy. You are fighting for something meaningful. Defeats are part of life, IF you don’t decide to quit.
And at the end of your life, you will understand: the journey was fantastic.

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  1. Cynthia Ranjeeta says:

    Just picked up a 25th anniversary edition of The Pilgrimage but finding it a tad difficult to comprehend. Will try out the exercises. Love…

  2. Existem sonhos e noites de sonhos… Mas no silíªncio da noite talvez alguém nunca sonhe…

  3. […] Few people, besides my family and closest friends, probably understand why I’ve decided to leave my job behind and pursue this dream. Few people understand what makeup artistry really is. Perhaps I need not explain myself. Paulo Coelho probably expressed it best when he said, “the dream is not going to leave you as long as you live.”  (from Dreams and Nightmares, Paulo Coelho’s Blog) […]

  4. Ankit Kaparuwan says:

    How true and how relevant……u made my day sir.
    and as you say god always gives you a hint…maybe this is it for me.
    i was down and tired…fighting for a dream…my dream……and it is bloody difficult mind you…..to carry on with the tide against you…and i was starting to think….is it up? do i still have the fight……and lo…..here i saw these beautiful words….
    no fight is worth quitting……more so if you are fighting for something you always dreamt of….thanks again

  5. Kany says:

    I think this is really valuable advice and my pose of not thinking what i need to do in future impresses very badly on me. Also I need to make measures to achieve it. I have heard about this from different people, but hearing it from Paulo Coelho makes me think that I need really to do so, so the “Universe will do the best to fulfill my dreams” ,

    Thank you very much!

  6. anulekha says:

    i really like the way you write – so simple, yet so meaningful, so interenting, keeps me wanting to read more…. alchemist was unmistakably an elixir of life to me…. read a few years ago, i keep thinking of it very often. Oh how well i know the unseen force that leads me, makes me smile, makes me see the larger meaning of little things I see everyday, I felt so happy to read alchemist.
    i completely agree on your analogy of bitterness as a unfallible tool for satan, how very true….
    thanks for writing……

  7. My dreams – As a young child I already found beauty in nature and people’s faces. I was twelve when I received my first camera and I realized that the camera was a powerful story telling tool.
    I wanted to be a fine art photographer and artist. I took pictures and visited galleries. Then I realized that I had to earn a living. I studied languages and became a translator in Europe. I got married, had a son and was the breadwinner for the family while my husband studied architecture. Money was tight.
    Years later, when my husband had finished his studies he told me that he did not want to have a family and he filed for divorce. I remarried. Years later we lost everything due to a bad business decision. At that time my son had finished his studies and was on his own. My passion for art and photography was still alive. We worked hard to get our life on track again and years later I enrolled at the New York Institute of Photography and finally received my degree in professional photography.
    My photographs show that natural beauty can be discovered anywhere the eyes travel. My innovative style often pushes the limits of conventional photography and I embrace every technique that will aid in achieving my vision.
    My artistic images are a combination of traditional photography, digital technology and modern art.
    I have won several awards in international photo competitions which all were juried by top international decision makers in the Art and Photography Industry.
    My dream is alive! I enjoy sharing my artwork with people all over the world and hope that my artwork will stimulate the imaginative soul in all of us.
    I share this with you to show you that it is never too late to follow your dreams – quite often there are many detours one has to take in order to reach one’s goal!

    1. functuay says:

      thankyou for this lovely story, truly inspiring! i am a 17 year old junior level tennis player and im trying to make it big and start playing nationals soon. its hard to follow your passions when everyone and everything is against you EVEN my parents, family. i have to work everyday after school to earn money to pay for my tennis training. its SO unbelievably hard especially when i see my friends having a good time being provided for by their families and being loved and encouraged by their parents to pursue their dreams. but im not complaining here. im an idealist and i derive inspiration from people like you who have defeated odds to be where you are today! a heartfelt thankyou, i really needed to read this!

  8. jackienoriega says:

    sueños y pesadillas es lo que paso nuestro amigo paulo para ser lo que hoy es el escritor mas importante del mundooo. nosotros que hemos hecho para alcanzar nuestros sueños o por lo menos para intentar conseguirlos la mayorí¬a nada por miedo al fracaso. si intentaramos hacerlo serí¬amos mas felices pues nunca nos reprocharí¬amos no haberlo intentado talvez no sea tarde para soñar y hacerlos realidad estamos a tiempo porque aí¹n estamos vivos adelante!

  9. neelam says:

    i just don’t know exactly what is my dream, where to go and exactly what to do but still i believe that i m not useless m here in this world with a purpose and i have to find out what my purpose is. A month or two ago i read alchemist and after reading it i start believing myself and universal language, i begin to sort out the purpose of my life. Thank you paulo for giving me the insight to find out why i m here and what is my destiny which i have to follow.

  10. Jia Ballano says:

    Whenever I read about Paulo Coelho’s life, I always cry. My heart gets overwhelemed by the fact that he had strongly fought for his dreams. He has endured so much pain, rejection and defeat and yet he surpasses it all. He fought for what he wanted and he has never settled for less. And now, look at him. He is one of the most successful writers in the world and is living his dream way beyond the way he imagined it. I LOVE YOU.

    1. gretel hulse says:

      thats exactly how I feel

  11. Hana Sofia says:

    I have been fighting for my dream to come true for about..to be honest 4 years now. My dream is to get into college of my own choice and study what I LOVE. It can be very hard at times. I most definitely don’t have the support of my family, now I don’t even know If I’ve got support of my siblings, who are very important to me.Life puts you to test, there are many obstacles in the way.
    `And every time I fall, I feel great pain and think it Could get even worse..but in all this mess and disappointment, I still keep fighting. I will until I reach my dream .Even If my family thinks I’m crazy..and keeps telling me ‘ hey you should have gotten another degree by now’….Life is short and we have just certain number of chances, but because we have just one life to live an we can loose it any minute, I will fight! you can have a fulfilling life by doing what you love the most. The Alchemist inspired me very much, actually it helps me to go through disappointments . Each time I fail,or I;m feeling down and don’t believe in myself, reading just a short passage from Alchemist helps. Thanks for writing this great book ! It touches so many people every day, and I think it shows us that we shouldn’t give up. Hold on to your dreams, no matter what !!

  12. Foz says:

    I read your book alchemist, and it was really worth every moment to read it. So inspire and give us the hope to move on in our life, and to keep our march no matter what is facing us with joy of what we have even it’s so simple, but that is the point of this life enjoy of our simple things, which is different from person to another, and to be patient of the obstacles in our way. Thank you, Paulo for your effort to made this masterpiece to the real world.

  13. Phudolma says:

    I am someone young and fresh… but i really like reading ur books….. your writings are just fantastic…..
    and about this blog…. it is really encouraging.. i am sure it’s helping a lot of people all around the world.. !!
    what I want to say is that…..
    “KEEP WRITING……. ” :)

  14. Wajiha says:

    the stuff in the alchemist where you talked about omens.. well i just experienced the feeling. i was actually made to listen to the omens and i understood :)
    i seriously feel the joy i had that day after i lived the most magical moment of my life, was somewhere because of you …
    thank you Paulo!

  15. toñi says:

    Estoy releyendo este párrafo de los sueños y …quiero explicar una idea que me ronda por la cabeza. Cuando una persona realiza un sueño es porque cree realmente en su sueño, aunque los demás se rian de él. Mi madre se sacó el carnet de conducir hace poco y tiene casi 70 años de edad, no lo utiliza y si conduce alguna vez…va acompañada de alguno de sus hijos o hijas. Pero ella siempre soñó con tener su carnet de conducir y ahora puede enseñarlo orgullosa. Puso todo su amor y su fuerte voluntad en este sueño y no abandonó (suspendió el examen de conducir 11 veces!) y al final …lo consiguió. Tus libros vieron la luz a través de tus lectores porque pusistes todo tu amor en ellos y todo tu empeño en realizar tu sueño. Los sueños se hacen realidad cuando enfocamos en ellos todo nuestro amor. De ahí­ que dicen que “la fé mueve montañas”. Esa es la fórmula, el amor. Y sobretodo no anteponer nada a este sentimiento, enfocarse solo en el amor y no en el éxito, así­ es como se alcanza un sueño.
    Bueno pues esto es lo que querí­a escribir. Un saludo. Toñi.

    1. Empié says:

      Al fin y al cabo, si no sigues tu vocación, qué haces con tu tiempo?

      Una vez que terminas tus obligaciones ¿por qué no haces lo que amas?, los resultados si llegan bien y si no, estás haciendo lo que te gusta. Además estoy totalmente convencido que al seguir tus sueños sigues por un camino que te va ha hacer encontrar otras cosas y desarrollar otras capacidades.

      Trabajar en busca de mi sueño me ha hecho vivir un montón de experiencias que me han transformado, pero creo que el dí­a que deje de buscar, el dí­a que vuelva a ser yo, la búsqueda del sueño habrá terminado su trabajo, y ese dí­a, cuando no me importe el resultado, el resultado me buscara. Entre tanto estoy viendo que el objetivo de ser de nuevo yo, y estar en el mundo como antes de todo esto, está cerca, y la verdad es que conseguir mi sueño me importa menos, aunque no lo pierdo de vista, lo que me gusta realmente es tocar la guitarra o el piano, cantar, escuchar canciones que me hagan sentir cosas preciosas, eso es lo que realmente me gusta. La búsqueda del sueño, tiene como resultado el encontrarme a mi mismo, y estoy convencido que cuando vuelva a ser yo, no me importará demasiado si consigo reconocimiento o no, estaré feliz por volver a estar en el mundo como antes de todo esto.

      Solo entonces todos mis sueños vendrán a buscarme donde esté, pero lo que realmente ansí­o es volver a ser yo.

      Un saludo, hasta pronto.

    2. toñi says:

      ¿Recuerdas el libro del Alquimista de Paulo? Cuando el protagonista está cerca de las pirámides, lo que le dice el hombre aquel que le pega: “Por un sueño has llegado hasta aqui? Yo tuve un sueño en el que habí­a un tesoro en España en una iglesia abandonada. (algo así­ era más o menos) y era la misma iglesia en la que el protagonista habí­a dormido cuando tení­a su rebaño y donde habí­a tenido el sueño. Quiero decir que seguir los sueños y el camino es lo correcto, y luego los sueños se hacen realidad de la manera más extraña. Mi madre hizo realidad su sueño de su carnet de conducir y hay más personas cercanas a mi que han hecho realidad sus sueños, …quizás sus sueños han llegado rápido porque tienen una capacidad de soñar con más intensidad que yo, pero si persistes…al final todo llega. Ya verás que si. ¿sabes qué? te voy a contar una cosa, yo siempre soñaba con una niña pequeña, una barriguitas (desde que era pequeña) y mi sueño se hizo realidad, esa niña era mi hija, mi barriguitas. Siempre le pedí­a a los Reyes Magos una muñeca “barriguitas”. Y a veces cuando miro a mi hija me sonrio yo sola y me dice “¿de qué te ries mamá?” y le contesto que ella es mi muñeca barriguitas que le pedí­ a los Reyes Magos hace muchos años. Pero a veces tenemos el sueño delante de nuestras narices y no nos damos ni cuenta, como le pasó al protagonista del libro del Alquimista.
      Un fuerte abrazo.

    3. Empié says:

      Hola Toñi.

      Yo siempre he sabido cual es mi sueño. Mira la vuelta que dio Santiago para llegar al sitio de donde partió. Así­ es el camino que lleva a la plenitud y no se puede acortar. Pero claro que se lo que quiero, siempre lo he sabido.

      Un saludo. Aunque haya momentos mejores y peores, vale la pena el esfuerzo. Es lo único con lo que he soñado desde que partí­, regresar a casa con el tesoro que siempre anhele.

      Hasta ponto, al final todo sale bien. Creo que la última parte del camino es bastante bonita y divertida. Seguiremos caminando, pero ya en España…

  16. New Soul says:

    Here is my new soul comment

    Never give up. Trying to do what you really want to do. Where there is love and inspiration, you can never go wrong.

    Never, never, never give up. You are worth it!

  17. Satori West says:

    Thank you, thank you, thank you so much for writing! When I met my father in law for the first time, I read him the alchemist, he was dying. He couldn’t carry on a conversation and I wanted to be with him, he needed company, soothing words. I had only spoken on the phone with him a few times. When I was in the hospital room, I knew I had to be there and just sitting silently by him as he was fighting for every breath wasn’t working. Sometimes silence is needed but this wasn’t the time. I kept thinking about the alchemist, even though I had read it a few months before and decided to buy another copy of it so I could read to him, the way parents read a goodnight story to their children. I read him the entire book (with the help of a couple others too). When I took a break for a moment, he opened eyes, and I asked him if I should keep reading and his piercing look was an unmistakable yes! He had such relief once I began again and he closed his eyes. He died about six hours later. Thank you for writing…..Thank you!

  18. Carolena Sabah says:

    We follow a Dream because it makes us feel good, it bring joy to the heart and mind. It brightens our life and makes us feel good. But when it makes you feel Disgustingly Sick over and over again, without fail, I spit on that shit and walk away!

  19. Mariane says:

    Il suffit d’avoir un ríªve et le désir pour le réaliser , dans la route seulement nous connaitrons la joie de vivre mais une certaine catégorie de gens cessent de ríªver parce qu’ils ont peur d’échouer d’autre ne ríªvent pas parce qu’ils se disent que ce fait ne changera pas grand chose dans leur vie , comme moi , mais je sais qu’au fond de moi j’aimerai bien savoir ma route comme vous, et tous les autres courageux qui ont eu la volontécde déclarer leur ríªve í  tout le monde , comme vous…Merci d’avoir íªtre un bon exemple !

  20. marina says:

    it’s vital and the most important thing in our life – to fight for our dreams. thank you, dear Paulo

  21. Ana María says:

    Querido Pablo, las traducciones al español son muy deficientes, pero alcanzo a captar la idea central, yo también pospuse mis sueños por mis hijos, ahora con 55 años, deseo seguirlos y ocupar mis dones en hacer Arte, pero también, mi entorno no confí­a mucho en mí­, ni en mis capacidades…gracias por tus palabras, me animan a seguir adelante en pos de que mi sueño se haga realidad.