1 min reading: Killing our dreams



The first symptom of the process of our killing our dreams is the lack of time. The busiest people I have known in my life always have time enough to do everything. Those who do nothing are always tired and pay no attention to the little amount of work they are required to do. They complain constantly that the day is too short. The truth is, they are afraid to fight the Good Fight.

The second symptom
of the death of our dreams lies in our certainties. Because we don’t want to see life as a grand adventure, we begin to think of ourselves as wise and fair and correct in asking so little of life. We look beyond the walls of our day-to-day existence, and we hear the sound of lances breaking, we smell the dust and the sweat, and we see the great defeats and the fire in the eyes of the warriors. But we never see the delight, the immense delight in the hearts of those who are engaged in the battle. For them, neither victory nor defeat is important; what’s important is only that they are fighting the Good Fight.

And, finally, the third symptom of the passing of our dreams is peace. Life becomes a Sunday afternoon; we ask for nothing grand, and we cease to demand anything more than we are willing to give. In that state, we think of ourselves as being mature; we put aside the fantasies of our youth, and we seek personal and professional achievement. We are surprised when people our age say that they still want this or that out of life. But really, deep in our hearts, we know that what has happened is that we have renounced the battle for our dreams – we have refused to fight the Good Fight.

When we renounce our dreams and find peace, we go through a short period of tranquility. But the dead dreams begin to rot within us and to infect our entire being.
We become cruel to those around us, and then we begin to direct this cruelty against ourselves. That’s when illnesses and psychoses arise. What we sought to avoid in combat – disappointment and defeat – come upon us because of our cowardice.

And one day, the dead, spoiled dreams make it difficult to breathe, and we actually seek death. It’s death that frees us from our certainties, from our work, and from that terrible peace of our Sunday afternoons

Words from Petrus to me during The pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela


  1. Namhla says:

    Dear Mrs Paulo

    I say thats a bad thing to just sit around and do nothing because of lacking time it really kills our dreams, and always complaining also kills our dreams, if i may ask a question sitting and doing nothing where is it going to take you?. Really we have refused to fight the good fight, inorder for you to be somewhere in life you should fight the good fight and start standing up, I am telling you, you wont always complain of how short the day is.

  2. Nilza says:

    Estou buscando forí§as para realizar um desejo que cresce a cada dia, esse desejo surgiu ainda menina e só agora com 44 anos consegui interpretar, o desejo? ser peregrina e percorrer o caminho de Santiago. O desejo existe há anos, mas ainda falta coragem e essa hei de encontrar. Através de seus livros consegui descobrir meu desejo que hoje vejo como uma missí£o. Vocíª é muito importante para mim mestre Paulo Coelho.

  3. Ria says:

    A really important message, perhaps one of the most. I have seen the result of dreams left to rot. The energy to fulfill our dreams stays with us, either dammed up or flowing out to be answered. I think just being able to feel honest and alive and living your passion is worth anything. For a while I have been wondering about “being yourself”, i think that’s what it is. You can only be yourself when you are living your dreams. So go, go, go!

    Dare to dreamxxx

  4. sami says:

    I think zou could start thinking about your actual position from different point of view. Starting from this letter, it looks like not everything is lost or hidden. That s because your judgment is clear and clever. Try to divide the heart from the brain. Find out that a human has write to take some rest or a bit sick leave. In meantime you have time without time table tensions to reflect and recollect energies.
    Ask your self what do I do, then, what do I have to do. When you will start managing the brain and the body connections, the part of the heart will came little bit later.
    Something like find out the answers on WHY? – Am I in a hurry!

  5. Girl With No Compass says:

    I (also) can truly identify all those three symptoms in my own life…I’d really like to change all that, and start to “fight the good fight” -as you named it- and live my life to the fullest, and follow my dreams. But what if I’m so lost and have been stucked in somewhere dark for so long, that I have forgotten what my dreams even were, or are? Feels as if my compass has totally broken. Just feeling a bit confused and lost with myself and my dreams and goals for this life, and I really don’t know what step should I take next, or even which way to head. My heart doesn’t give me anykind of answer at all, no matter how hard I tried to listen to it…How could I find out what do I REALLY want??? Or should I just go on aimlessly and do as much as I possibly can, just to find out what I at least DON’T want… :s

    1. Christian says:

      Hey Girl with no compass…

      Congratulations.. First step is that you realise your compass is broken, that you see the darkness and that you feel confused…

      Give yourself the time to dream.
      Go out and start to change small things in your life.
      Go out and talk with strangers. Maybe it is time to change the circle of your friends, your work, the place you are living…

      Start to change. Be grateful for every day, every sunbeam. Believe.
      I was there too. Every day I chose a sentence of the warrior of the light and lived it that day. Felt it that day…

      My feelings came back. My dreams came back… Believe me, it works.
      Being grateful is as powerful as love in the universe.
      And changes will come…



    2. Julian says:

      Dear Friend,

      I empathize with you. I, myself, am currently going through a period of such strife. However, there is one thought which keeps myself going, and that is, “I am special.”

      The reasoning behind is somewhat strange, yet undeniable. Forgive me for my dreariness, but I shall use several rudimentary laws of probability and some basic biology to prove my point. An average man produces an average of 4 trillion sperm cells in his life time, if memory serves me correctly. Each sperm contains a unique set of dna which, when combined with an egg, will result in a unique individual. An average woman has 1-2million egg cells in her ovaries and like sperm, they all differ from one another on a genetic level. Thus, the odds of your conception is: [1/(4 trillion)] * [1/ (1 million)].

      As proven above, you should not have come into existence. And yet, here you are, miss – breathing, talking, living.

      You have been given the rarest of all gifts, and time is an ever-depleting resource.

      Unfortunately, I do not have an answer for you. Your dreams, passions, and interests are something you must discover for yourself. And often, it is the process of self-discovery which makes you grow as a person.

      There is a certain beauty in being lost. Why? Because you are absolutely free! You have no restraints, no commitments to a “dream”. Take this opportunity to explore what this world has to offer. There are so many things to experience! And so little time to do it in… Do this, and I believe you will eventually stumble upon true happiness.

      It is so easy to succumb to fear and to live life by the sidelines – idly and cowardly. However, such a path is a life to mere existence. And that is the biggest waste.

      Garner up your courage, and launch yourself into the fray of life with a snarl on your lips.

      I’ll leave you with a prayer which has never failed to inspire me,

      “Disturb us, O Lord
      when we are too well-pleased with ourselves
      when our dreams have come true because we dreamed too little, because we sailed too close to the shore.
      Disturb us, O Lord
      when with the abundance of things we possess,
      we have lost our thirst for the water of life
      when, having fallen in love with time,
      we have ceased to dream of eternity
      and in our efforts to build a new earth,
      we have allowed our vision of Heaven to grow dim.
      Stir us, O Lord
      to dare more boldly, to venture into wider seas
      where storms show Thy mastery,
      where losing sight of land, we shall find the stars.
      In the name of Him who pushed back the horizons of our hopes
      and invited the brave to follow.
      Amen. ”

      To your success,

  6. Abs Maanna says:

    Truth !
    Blessings :)

  7. Rohan says:

    ^ whoever u are ‘ex best friend’ .. u never were his best friend.. i see what u did there…
    lost faith in humanity , once again..

  8. meni says:

    wow…there is so much truth in these words…that hurts

  9. Kt says:

    Wow I unfortunately have all the 3 symptoms. I think I really need to fight the good fight. Really uplifting,insightful blog. Thanks.

  10. jackienoriega says:

    tengo muchas veces problemas en casa justamente porque me resisto a quedarme acostada durmiendo mientras mi cabeza y mi cuerpo quiere hacer mucyhas cosas provechosas por mi y por mis hijos a veces ya no quiero luchas y vivir esos domingos constantes que me pide mi compañero pero no puedo siento que me asfixio y vuelvo a intentarlo dí¬a a dí¬a con tus palabras se que estoy haciendo lo correctoy estoy dispuesta a luchar por lo que en realidad me llena la vida


  12. Tarun Kumar says:

    Great words for sustaining the people living for their dreams…simple and direct…”Fighting the Good Fight” for whatever one aspires or stands for makes the life more worthwhile and meaningful.

  13. BEEP BEEPER says:

    yOU SHOULD BE A LIFE COACH. I can pay you in the hapiness you get from helping others achieve their best

    1. sami says:

      Payment can change and do lot of things. When it comes to happiness, there is no money you can pay. because the happiness is not on sale, it is on you. Sometimes it happen that you can not find it out. I think getting out of yourself and seeing yourself from different view, you might notice where the happiness is hidden.

  14. Gemma says:

    We mature and grow up. We don’t settle for Sunday afternoons but appreciate simple pleasures and a enjoy the world with all our senses. Instead of thinking of our ‘dreams’ we think ‘what can I contribute to the world?’ and sometimes that might be something small and mundane but we’re grown up enough to accpt that.

    1. Sacrosanction says:

      Gemma is right. When I think of all the “adventures” I had as a younger man, I shudder. And then I marvel at the fact that I lived through them to be able to tell the tale. My dreams of youth don’t “rot” within me, they evaporated, like ghosts, and were replaced by Mr. Coelo’s acursed “peace.” Dreams are just that: dreams. Nothing tangible, nothing valuable, nothing useable. I’m so very grateful that the dreams of my youth are dead and gone. Real life has turned out to be so very much better. Especially watching my young son sleeping… and Sunday afternoons.

  15. chetan says:

    sir, well said.. M stuck with all these in my life.. But what manish has said about budha has inspired me.. Thank u manish..

  16. Cayla says:

    Thank you

  17. yogesh says:

    i just focus too uch to avoid my dream that now forget what was that. after reading this post i realise that i m on wrong path

  18. Nandhini says:

    Why shouldn’t be there an end to dreams? Isn’t existence possible without dreams? Can’t DUTY drive us in life instead of DREAMS?


    1. Madeleine says:

      Things that are necessary to do at the time don’t have to stop us; duties can be stepping stones in the reality of achieving your dreams.

  19. siddhartha says:

    great stuff.really needed it….thnx..

  20. Mario says:

    Pero ¿cómo sabes o cómo te das cuenta de que por lo que luchas vale la pena?

    ¿Cómo descubrir que estás luchando en el lucha adecuada?

  21. sami says:

    Theoretically it looks nice and simple. What if it is too difficult to feel and transform it into ourselves! This Good Fight looks interesting point of view to the life.
    I think we are leading three kind of fights in our life.
    1. The fight for safety (safe space, environment, food, friendships, sleep, step…., like TAKE CARE!)
    2. The fight for pleasures (breastfeeding, play, smell, feel, enjoy, …, like HAVE FUN!)
    3. The fight for a position (my place in family, kindergarten, street, school, job, fame, …, like BE SOMEBODY!)

    Then the question is – can we deal with three of them at same time or, which one we are leading!

  22. deepa says:

    This is so true Paulo, but the problem is here that even if you know you are not living your dreams & every thing, how do u get break free from this vicious sleepiness!!!

  23. Viviane Aires says:

    …demais…é incrí­vel como podemos deixar de lado sonhos que antes nos faziam dormir e acordar todos os dias…eu ainda os tenho…e preciso retomá-los!

    Obrigado meu anjo!

  24. Arto Hutto says:

    In Swedish:
    Paulo Coelho på svenska: http://www.facebook.com/PauloCoelhoSverige
    í–versättning: oLaVie (http://olavie.wordpress.com/)

    De 3 symtomen på att våra drömmar dör

    Det första symtomet på att våra våra drömmar dör är bristen av tid. De mest upptagna människorna jag har känt i mitt liv har alltid haft tid att göra allt. De som inte gör någonting är alltid trötta och uppmärksammar inte den lilla mängd arbete som krävs att de gör. De klagar hela tiden på att dagen är för kort. Sanningen är att de är rädda för att kämpa Den goda kampen.

    Det andra symtomet på att våra drömmar dör ligger i våra förutfattade meningar och sanningar. Eftersom vi inte vill se livet som ett stort äventyr, börjar vi tänka på oss själva som kloka, rättvisa och korrekta för att sedan inte begära så mycket utav livet. Vi ser bortom murarna av vår dag-till-dagliga existens, vi hör ljudet av lansar brytas, vi känner doften av damm och svett och vi ser de stora nederlagen och elden i krigarnas ögon. Men vi ser aldrig glädjen, den oerhörda glädjen i hjärtat hos dem som är engagerade i striden. För dem är varken segern eller nederlaget viktigt. Det som är viktigt är bara att de kämpar Den goda kampen.

    Och slutligen, är det tredje symptomet på våra drömmars bortgång, frid. Livet blir en söndagseftermiddag, vi ber om något storslaget, och vi upphör att kräva något annat än vad vi är villiga att ge. I det tillståndet, tänker vi på oss själva som mogna, vi lägger undan vår ungdoms fantasier, och vi söker personlig och professionell framgång. Vi är förvånade när folk i vår ålder säger att de fortfarande vill ha ut det eller det av livet. Men egentligen, djupt i våra hjärtan vet vi att det som hänt är att vi har avstått från kampen om våra drömmar – vi har vägrat att kämpa Den goda kampen.

    När vi avstår från våra drömmar och finner frid, går vi igenom en kort period av lugn. Men de döda drömmarna börjar ruttna inom oss och smittar hela vårt väsen.
    Vi blir grymma mot dem omkring oss, och sedan börjar vi rikta denna grymhet mot oss själva. Det är då sjukdomar och psykoser uppstår. Det vi försökt undvika i strid – besvikelse och nederlag – har kommit till oss på grund av vår feghet.

    Och så en dag, gör de döda, bortkastade drömmarna det svårt att andas och vi söker faktiskt döden. Det är döden som befriar oss från vår visshet, från vårt arbete och från denna förfärligt fridfulla söndagseftermiddag.

    Ord från Petrus till mig under Pilgrimsresan till Santiago de Compostela
    från Pilgrimsresan

  25. Claudia Rodrigues says:

    Love it!!!! you are so cool!

  26. Samer says:

    I am killing my dreams because I am still stuck in the past, I have blockage ! and stuck!! what to do :(

    1. Vitali Erofeev says:

      The woman knows the present, the man sees the past and the future, without knowing the present.
      Find the woman.

    2. Aeyryl says:

      i am stuck in the past as well sometimes but i also like writing things i would like to have in my life for myself. A small list of things. The highest dream of all, what would it be? In my case was to live on the beach with all expenses covered. It looked as a very difficult task at the position i was. It was only a dream… a fantasy.
      So i started out from baby step stages. Things i could do easily that would aproach me to that 10,000 miles, faraway dream inch by inch.
      For a guy like me who gets depressed so easily, i’ve discovered that short term task deadlines can’t be later than one month from today; medium term tasks have to have their deadline in six months, and a large term task is for one year from now.
      That was five years ago…
      In march 26 i have my plane to Ibiza and a place to rent affordable to my budget.

  27. Eritrawi Bris says:

    Great messaages rebuilding human all around

  28. Muhammad Ahmed says:

    Personally i agree and would like to add that these are not mere words indeed these are thought-provoking motivations. Life always pose its friendly challenges and whispers in our hearts and minds to meet them if you want all the blessings from me. I want from you to decode what i have encoded only for you. Although this communication continues till our acceptance to its offer but it is limited time offer. Those who understand the message of life they accelerate their energies to give its desired feedback. However, those keep themselves reluctant, as a result they lose the golden opportunity. So always keep yourself prepared either if you want the major crunch or the whole cake from life.

  29. Maranda says:

    This is right on time! (as usual)! Thank you!

  30. PC Xavier says:

    you just amaze me with your thoughts!

  31. Rohan says:

    Those are indeed true words and i am here to attest to the same.
    I don’t expect everyone to understand it, only those who have veered off-course know that they are in a ditch.
    the first symptom, reflects that the psychosis has actually begun. Whenever we don’t do something that we ought to, we give ourself a reason to justify it. Pretending that you don’t have enough time is only a filler ,which you think up to drown the guilt of not following the right path. It is not so much about the fight, but more about the difference between action and inaction.
    Second symptom, certainties. We take them for granted. Think of any major event in your life where you had to struggle to achieve your goal. Once the fight is over, you develop a sense of confidence in the particular ability which let you excel in that fight,and consequently gain certainity that you can repeat that win in the future. It’s a mental mechanism, it’s there to help you make sense of the world and not become cross-eyed crazy by the abstract concepts in the scenario. When this certainity starts manifesting itself in your everyday life, know that your adventure is at an end and you’re riding the last plateau before the inevitable bottom-less chasm of death. But the fact that the rest of the world enjoys their little everyday struggles so much only solidifies the belief that you have indeed risen over that mindless clamour into the third symptom.
    Third symptom. This is the one that really jarred me, i have experienced the tranquility brought on by a sense of understanding from life. But it DOES mean that we have become more mature. We may have renounced some of our dreams but at the cost of coming in touch with that feeling of inner peace,few rats in the rat race can ever achieve. Isn’t that enough? Apparently, not. If you have unfulfilled desires, no matter how deeply buried they will literally rot inside your mind. Everytime it pops up in your head, you would shove it’s head back under. But, the fact is, i doesn’t completely disappear. Unfulfilled desires are like the self-eveolving plague that infects your mind. Every story you build up to justify it, only makes it stronger. I am simply on a quest here to understand what it is that we really want.! I stand here at the edge of the third symptom, trying to make sense of just how lost i really am. But, that question has no empirical meaning, since being lost is absolute. There is no degree to being lost. To some extent i believe aiming for that tranquility of rising above everyday riff-raff is justified, but it interferes with your long term goals. Once you start to like that peace too much, it becomes addictive, and you don’t want to step out of that little circle and venture into the unknown which by definition, can lead to good or bad circumstances. Maybe it’s about looking for the possibility of a better ‘good’ feeling, but there’s no guarantee you’ll get it. Yet, i know that i now see the edge of my circle, i want to step out…

    1. Debbie Scheltes says:

      I think I’m there too, thnx for this..

    2. Annie says:

      Very well said. I’ve been there but trying to find my way out, for my the 2nd symptom is the third goal. I want to find out if there is a way to rise above mundane tasks. This time last year, I could see my life continuing as it has been for the last 26 years of my life and all my broken dreams. Then one day I made myself a promise that I would just follow my heart and be kind to myself. Since then , my life has been a great unexpected adventure with lots of bumps and downs and ups but now at this stage, even though i don’t feel that my adventure is over (and i don’t want it to be, even though i keep wondering as to the wisdom of following my dreams, which are always foolish to other people, but this blog post and your comment have renewed my faith) same time this year I happier. Or rather I’m happy in contrast to being very sad previously. So i will just say the mess can be cleared anytime and clearing little bit of it , getting closer to achieving your dreams , energizes you to keep going. It gives you a new life. Although I still have that ‘stuck between action and inaction’ phase , a little bit of all the symptoms maybe, except the third one, now I’m kinder to everyone including myself. So your post has inspired me to do something about the inaction, I had stopped reacting to situations, events; which is a good thing maybe, but I believe I shouldn’t let the inaction to detriment my hopes and wishes. So I went on an experiment this past year and did something about whatever I could change, which was mainly myself, and i can honestly attest that the ‘universe aspired to help me achieve my dreams’. I’m very thankful to God for saving this great adventure for me. I hope to fight the Good Fight with my best developed spirit, and be the best version of me.

  32. Alicia Costa says:

    estimadisimo Pablo la verdad es que parece que huviera tenido delante suyo a mi hijo , el perdio sus sueños , perdio en su plena jubentud la necesidad de soñar despierto , la necesidad de continuar con esa lucha que dia a dia nos imponemos como seres humanos, que es la de buscar nuestro sitio en este mundo tan loco , y el deseo conciente e inconciente de morir de estar cansado de… no hacer nada… en su adolecencia ataques de panico mal diagnosticados coartaron su libertad e hicieron desaparecer una tras otra sus metas entonces todo eso se transformo en depresion y tristeza y ahora no espera nada de la vida … mas que a la propia muerte.
    un abrazo fuerte para usted y que nunca mueran sus sueños ni los mios a mis casi 50 años y sigo soñando despierta … claro que se puede, no es de locos es de cuerdos y muy cuerdos

  33. Abeer says:

    your words are simple but amazing :)
    I liked this soo much!!

  34. Asif Mahmood Abbas says:

    wow…..at last got something of my type….

    1. ur ex best friend says:

      yeah u fit perfectly into all three symptoms. O_O

  35. janet says:

    wow what can i say now——

  36. Manish Rai says:

    interesting !
    some how , the things is true. for sure , it is beautiful saying .
    to get rid of
    such situation , I better remember what Buddha has said ” believe nothing no matter where you read it or who said it, no matter if I said it , unless it agrees with your own reason and your own common reason, your own common sense .”

    1. Priya says:

      Manish Rai

      Well said. I totally agree with you.

  37. Vida says:

    Yeah… So true. What do you do if you went through all three stages and you are still alive, but still lost? Learned something, possibly – a lot, but something still seems to be missing… Maybe shared experience, maybe guidance, maybe something else?..

    1. t2 says:

      Does that mean all those agitated because of lack of opportunity are actually dreamers who still seek their dreams and have decided not to give up, whatever it may be? Isn’t giving up better in this case! Atleast the agitation might end?

  38. Linda says:

    Truly Inspiring words yes! YET they inspire us all quite differently. I have been dreaming since I was 9 years old. DREAMS? There are many different types. My dream was to sing and perform on the stage but sadly the fight I lost was with myself, never had the confidence to become the performer that I dreamed of being so I suppose I killed my own dream. I’ve always worked and looked after my family and continue to do so at the age of 52 so wouldnt know what it is like to do NOTHING! Lack of time is part and parcel of a life such as this, with all the responsibilities that go with it. If you are able to find the confidence you need to get you through life and trust in yourself then you can be sure to make better choices from the beginning of your lifes journey and maybe be in the right place at the right time then of course you can Dream away of Peace and lazy Sunday afternoons surrounded by whatever it is that makes you HAPPY! That just may well be family and friends X :)

    1. akcivtporok says:

      snit to neni vsechno bit a ne bit,snit pred deset let, chtel jsem byt opravarem,ale roky lety, uz neverit, ze mne chce do prace,jsem smutny,a jinak jsem rad a radsen splnit splnit rad.

  39. jasmin "comedia" maria says:

    I am living my dream everyday. As I take a look around and am thankful to be here on this planet and making the change in myself and those around me.