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The Paulo Coelho Success Story.

  • Success Story
  • Thursday, 05 Jan, 2023
  • 5596
The Paulo Coelho Success Story

Paulo Coelho is the world-famous Brazilian novelist who published one of the best-selling books of all-time; ‘The Alchemist’. He’s also published 28 other books, and continues to inspire millions of people all over the world to this day. Having sold at least 320 million books, it’s safe to say that Paulo Coelho knows a thing or two about success. As such, we will be diving into how this book-writing powerhouse came to be in this Paulo Coelho Success Story special.

We believe success leaves clues, which is why we cover inspiring success stories of people like Paulo Coelho.  We also chose Paulo Coelho because he has a great story about choosing to follow one’s dreams that can inspire just about anyone.

In addition to this, we also believe each story possesses within it a few insightful gems that we can leverage to our benefit if we so choose to.  So, with that being said, if you’re ready to learn how Paulo Coelho became the world-wide sensation he is today, then let’s dive in.

The Early Years | Paulo Coelho Story

Paulo Coelho was born in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in 1947 in a Roman Catholic household. In his early years, like many children, he rebelled against his parents and their teachings. His parents were strict about their religion and faith, and they didn’t approve of his interest in becoming a writer.

Coelho’s father was an engineer, and his parents had plans for him, and writing was not part of that plan. Of course, Coelho didn’t approve of his parent’s traditional and rigid plans for him either. In fact, his opposition to his parents created a lot of conflict between him and his parents.

As he moved into his teens he began hanging around with a troublemaking crowd, and challenging with more and more fervor his parent’s ideas. So much so, that his parents thought he was going crazy.

When Paulo Coelho was 17 years old this conflict came to a boiling point, and his parents ultimately decided that the only way to help him overcome his radical perspectives and staunch rebuking of their ways, and to help him “get it together”, was to have him committed to a psychiatric hospital.

Paulo Coelho would spend three years in this institution, but, it served it’s purpose, at least initially, as he gave up his dreams to become a writer, and pursued the more respectable path of going to law school.

However, in 1970 Coelho dropped out of law school and decided to travel abroad. When he made his way back in in 1972 he would find work writing lyrics for popular Brazilian singers and songwriters.

After a few years however, Paulo Coelho would eventually find work for a variety of companies, including CBS records, whom he stayed with until 1980.

Transformative Travels

While working various jobs in the late 70’s and early 80’s Coelho would write two books that really went nowhere. (Theater for Education & Hell Archives) Then, in the early 80’s, Coelho would travel the world again.

But this time around, he would have a few spiritual awakenings along the way that would eventually lead him back to his true calling; writing. And it was his 500 mile trek by foot along the Road of Santiago de Compostela in Spain that influenced him most.

Thus, after a string of experiences and serendipitous friendships, Coelho would make his way back to the the faith of his childhood, but at the same time, he also chose to fully reembrace his true calling as a full-time writer.

And after a few years, he would finally publish his first book about his transformational journey, especially as it related to his experience along the famed Spanish pilgrimage; Santiago de Compostela. Coelho appropriately named the book, ‘The Pilgrimage’ and he published it in 1987.

A Dream Fulfilled

‘The Pilgrimage’ didn’t really take off after it was published, so, in 1988, Paulo Coelho would publish his second book which he titled ‘The Alchemist’. Upon publishing his second book, the successful results Coelho was hoping for did not show up right away.

In fact, he was told by the first bookseller to carry his book, that only one person bought a copy after it was released.  Despite the dismal results of his second book, Coelho would remain confident in his book. 

He chose to be patient, but the results he was expecting was still extremely low, as it took another long six months before that second copy of the book would be sold. Interestingly enough, the person who purchased the second copy was the exact same person who bought the first.

Coelho’s publisher was less patient however, and after a whole year of dismal results, the publisher labeled the book a flop and terminated Coelho’s contract. 

But, Coelho was resilient, and didn’t allow that painful experience with failure get him down.  Instead, he chose to not give in, and decided to persist. Thus, he made once last heroic effort to pursue his vision and fulfill his dream of being a successful writer. And he backed up his next effort with even more zeal and energy by finding another publisher. 

Without a doubt, finding a second publisher to back a book that for all intents and purposes, was a flop, would be a challenge for Coelho. He was met with rejection after rejection in this pursuit.

Fortunately, he finally landed a new publisher, and with it, another golden opportunity to capture his dream. And it was from this point and onward, that Paulo Coelho’s dreams began to be fulfilled. 

When Paulo Coelho was 42 years old signs of his persistence paying off finally showed up, with three thousand books selling initially.  But the book sales kept growing, slowly but surely. After those first three thousand sales, it turned to 10 thousand sales, then 100 thousand, then a MILLION, then 100 million, as the years went by.

The flood of sales from ‘The Alchemist’ would not abate, and Coelho’s good fortune continues to grow even to this day. He’s since sold over 150 million and counting copies of ‘The Alchemist’, and when you include sales of all of his titles, he’s already sold over 320 million books worldwide.

Success Ethos | The Paulo Coelho Story

Paulo Coelho’s success ethos, a.k.a. his secret to success, can be summed up in a few words; namely self-belief, having the courage to follow one’s dreams, and persistence.

Had Coelho not believed in himself, he never would have taken the action to follow his dreams. But beyond that, had he not persisted, and had faith in his work, he never would have pushed past those initial obstacles that typically deter the undetermined.

Thus, without self-belief, the courage to follow his heart, and the will to see it through, he never would have experienced the staggering success he now enjoys.


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