Dreams and obsessions

Your theory about every person could reach everything in life is really optimistic. But if the person tried once and was despaired and disappointed what is he going to do?
(Antoine Rigal, Lyon, France)

There is sometimes a bit of confusion in regards to a passage in my book The Alchemist: “When you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.”

Some people sometimes want things that in the end won’t truly help them. Life is strange: the happier people can be, the unhappier they are. I have some friends that think they exist because they have “problems” to solve. Without “problems” they are nobody.

The Universe is merely an echo of our desires, regardless of whether they are constructive or destructive ones.

One has to also keep in mind the difference between a dream and an obsession. I mention personal legend in The Alchemist, and I wrote a book about obsession, The Zahir.

When you follow your personal legend, you walk your path and learn from it. The objective doesn’t blind you to the road that takes you there.

On the other hand obsession is what prevents you from admiring the teachings of life.

It’s like trying to get to your objective without passing through the challenges.

I realized that despite the fear and the bruises of life, one has to keep on fighting for one’s dream.
As Borges said in his writings “there is no other virtue than being brave”.

And one has to understand that being brave is not the absence of fear but rather the strength to keep on going forward despite the fear.


  1. Sonia Chaudhary says:

    is it ur real life experience or blending of thoughts.

  2. Lailah says:

    “And one has to understand that being brave is not the absence of fear but rather the strength to keep on going forward despite the fear”

    Very nice !!

  3. Lucy says:

    It’s so difficult to draw the line between dreams and obsession. Both are subjective matters. Other people may see your dream as an obsession, but as you’ve said, you need not try to explain your dreams to others. When you strive for your dreams with all determinations, you may overcome your fear and you will give up anything to get there. Every obsession starts off as a dream. If you don’t have a clear picture about your dream at the start, you will be blinded/ side tracked easily during the path and turn the dream into an obsession. 

  4. Nadia says:

    very true & encouraging!

    Thank you!

  5. Marie says:

    Thank you, this is exactly what i needed to hear (read) right now !
    lately, I was questionning a lot to myself about this sentence in The Alchemist, as it is something that i hold on to when things are getting a little difficult on my path.
    Thank you so much Mr Coelho.

  6. Mike Hopkins says:

    Hello Paulo:

    Yes, well put. I learned this when I was a very young boy. Shaking with fear and still doing my duty and at other times just doing a task my fears told me not to do and finding out after that it was noi big deal. I often felt ashamed when I gave into my fears as I grew older when remembering the lessons of my youth.

    I will give you this link for you and your readers that may support your attitude and perhaps add another element or emotion to the mix.


    Kind regards,
    Mike Hopkins
    Karlstad, Sweden

  7. Chloe says:

    how does one know what his personal legend is?!

    1. Schmetterling says:

      I think down deep inside you always know. It is something that keeps coming back around no matter how many times you cast it off in the water. It drifts right back throughout your whole life, saying…”Remember me?”

    2. Mike Hopkins says:

      Hello Chloe:

      If you asked you already have the answer not so deep inside..near to you.

      Listen if you will.

      Kind regards,

  8. claraR. says:

    i cant talk to much about the issue because i want to tell you everthing that i ever dream i hadit but may be is just because my dreams were p-osible but destyny hurts my real bad in the ones i love the most but for certain reason i know the signs in mi life are them. people tend to look for sing in a diferent way for mi idiscover inmediatly were my dreams are located just to belive i n good and keep living asmortal

  9. Schmetterling says:

    The Universe sends you those dreams. It subtly guides you until you can no longer deny what you were placed here to do. If at first attempt you fail, you pick yourself up and you keep going, keeping trying…until you get it right. The Universe will guide you and open it’s mighty portals to help get you there. It’s all about the journey, not the destination.

  10. Michelle says:

    Very nice blog post. Thanks.

    I, too, have struggled with not having realized my dreams. Many have been realized though, just not the career and soul-mate one.

    I love your books (that I have read) and have looked at you as a very open human who happens to write well, rather than the hero many of your readers make you out to be. Hero worship is dangerous for the worshipped and those who worship. What is appealing about you is your genuiness and being a hero takes away from that.

    So thanks for this as I’ve wanted to hear your thoughts on this same question in my head to you. I also put my thoughts along similar lines, that obsession is different than a dream–it’s like a dream strangled. But I think if you are open, obsession can lead to learning (I obsess on my passions and it helps buzz them along). What trips us up, I think, is the suffering and martyrdom that comes with NOT getting what you want. THAT is an icky obsession. It becomes another reason for living and we tend to create what we focus on…(I’ve noticed :) ).

  11. Hesti says:

    once i thought almost d same way, God teaches us in tragedy. Disasters, earthquakes, volcano eruption, tsunami, flood, and poverty..many more happen already…and i was also there seeing d innocent died in such way. I even thought that god is unfair to me, to our life here… I once also lost my lovely brother because of an illness, but my dad said ‘maybe god loves him more than us here, thats why He took him this fast. He wants to save him from d crazy world around’. Once i blamed myself coz i didnt take care of him well, then i realized that anything in d world is juz temporary, nothing last forever. If God takes your most precious thing in d world, He could even give you the world.

    Keep fighting, Monika. You arent alone.


  12. Paulina says:

    I deffinetely agree..but what is a dream? how do we know what to dream about? I had my small challanges and dreams and even bigger ones and some obsessions..and when I achieved them I was still not happy..I am actually very unhappy..even more unhappy then before..and then I usually fell..and again.I start with my dreams and my bigger ones and obsessions..but how do I know if this time if I stand up and fight again, it would not be the same..and I will again feel unhappy..then why to stand up? and why to fight? the fight made scars so far.. i looked at my self in the mirror today..and i say a suffered person..nobody would like a creature with so many scars..and what if i try to explain- yes, but i fight..who cares..when u meet me..u see only scars and suffer..u would not get close to me..why should i keep on fighting..i will achieve what i want and be unhapyy..and with deeper scars..scars that scares..

  13. Saurabh Kant Goel says:

    Dreams are the ones which we dream as a human being not as a student, professional or a household representative.

  14. Dinu says:

    The End of an Era:

    What do you do when

    The flower you could not reach

    Was too high on a branch

    That was too far to climb

    Filled your empty moments with hope

    Placed your feet on unsure steps

    Brought you closer to prayer and God

    Suddenly fell into your hands?

    Would you not be awed stiff

    Would you not celebrate

    Would you not hold it as long as you can,

    And sometimes you’ll pretend that you brought it down.

    But you know, its only a flower

    You know it fell because it grew heavy

    You know it will not last too long

    So you find a vase and fill it

    With life-giving water

    You put the flower in it and

    Adorn the places around you

    It brings joy you cannot buy.

    Then one day, when it begins to fade

    You know its the end of an era

    You start to think that you too are a flower

    adorning Someone’s else’s place

    Like it, you will fade

    Like it, you will be thrown away

    They’ll say, how beautifully you bloomed

    They’ll say, how gracefully you fell

    They’ll say, what bright colors you had

    and how you changed the looks of things

    But you know, you are not a flower

    You, will not stop growing

    You, will not fade after falling

    For you, its just nothing but

    the end of an era.

    1. Sheela nandini says:

      Dinu,this is really good!Thanks for sharing.


    2. Stephanie says:

      Thanks, this is a great poem, and sometimes a concept easy to forget. Always nice to be reminded.

    3. Nikita says:


  15. katie says:

    dreams are ideas that one likes. that one wants to follow.
    these ideas can be part of one’s path, being part of oneself, or they can be pure illusions.

    whether these ideas fit to the path and truly represent oneself will be shown when one works on them.

    if the environment is hostile &/or one perceives the universe to narrow, it will be hard to realize an idea. at this time, when obsession occurs as a symptom, it is a warning, that one is not in harmony with … something. it is not the right time, environment, or …. person :o)
    something needs to change. at this point, working on obsession also means working with possibly denial, but definitely with jung’s shadow.

    there will be also signs hinting & supporting to continue to work on a dream. persistence & determinism need to be developed, but they feel very differently compared to obsession.

  16. Maria says:

    Boa tarde Guerreiro

    Passando pra dizer q te amo, e q vc me ensina a lutar pelos meus sonhos.
    Já tive obsessí£oes, hj consigo ver com mais clareza.

    Deus te ilumine

    Santa Dulce, rogai por nós


  17. Jojo says:

    THE UNIVERSE … I am the Source and so the Universe is contained in me. I am inside and outside. Very powerful … a creator. What happens on my path is what I create, be it with awareness or not, and mostly and often not aware of all that is inside me that reflects outside. That is why on my path, I now chose not to despair or abandon but to seek the meaning, the truth, meaning what is inside me or coming from me to create this or that, which are at the moment the opportunities to remember what I know but was not aware of, to clean the house, to purify the house from fears, thoughts that are contradictory, false beliefs that have an energy that provoke thunder, storms. Desire or need … a desire is a plus … a need sends a message that I miss something, that if I do not obtain I am lost, empty … I am full, I have it all, I can create, I want to create, and here I remember … God thought about a sky … he made a sky (took a minute, a second, one day, a million years … a process, a transition). He then looked at it and liked it, and went on … when creating life, human life, did the same … moment after moment, year after year, one or many, he observed its creation, reflected, sometimes was angry, happy, sad, but kept alive his vision, confident, sure of him, for he knows that his vision is the one. In a dream, a desire lays a vision which is what most be contained and felt in walking and going through turmoil. The end is the final arrival … and as Paul says … I have my eyes fixed on the final line and pursue my run. For me is to keep alive my vision which is related to many domains of this life with its meanings for me and to be vigilant, attentive, opened to the signs on the path, opened to the moments on the path, opened to the changes on the path, because like someone says it is not the result that is living but the walking and also the mental has not the ability to define exactly, is limited … and so I bring this mental to be opened to new interpretations, new perceptions, new beliefs, new reevaluations … and so that is why often after a difficult march at a point of my path I can smile and be in a gratitude state for I would have missed something important if I would have attained the final line or the result as I had mentally settled.

    Love, Jojo.

  18. lata sharma says:

    YS, obsession is a bad thing if we are obsessed about something that universe doesn’t want you to have. I learnt it in a bitter way. But dreams are to be followed. the most difficult thing is to differentiate the thin line between dream and obsession. The way we learn to distinguish it our spiritual growth begins. So always go for Your dream and believe me it will definately be fulfilled.

  19. Jessica G says:

    Sometimes you are really wise and have so much insight :-) I agree on this story indeed :-)

    <3 Love and light <3