- When others first hear about their ideas, they say: "He/she is not practical, the ideas are at 50,000 foot level".
- If he/she still continues pursuing the idea, people say he/she has gone CRAZY.
- Once the idea becomes reality, people fondly recollect: I knew him/her then. “The first time I met that lad/girl, I knew he/she was different and going to make it BIG.”
(Success has many followers...)
Story Line: You can't connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards.
Paulo Coelho was born in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil to a father who was an engineer. When their son started getting into artistic ventures at the age of 16 instead of normal career pursuits (e.g. engineer, doctor, lawyer), Paulo’s parents got worried that something was wrong with their boy. His parents took him for psychiatric evaluation and later admitted him to a mental institution. He spent time in mental institution twice before the age of 18, just for not being a “normal” kid. When he started a theatrical venture, he was again (for the third time) taken for mental consultation by his parents. In his 20s, he joined progressive political movements, was imprisoned and also kidnapped. By then his parents had already given up on him.
Paulo believed that his personal legend was to write. But his early age dream of being a writer encountered lots of setbacks. He took all kinds of jobs to survive but never dropped his lifelong love for writing. At the age of 38, his first book was published with little success in the marketplace. His second book, The Alchemist, was published in 1988 when he was 41. It sold only 900 copies, and the first publisher dropped the book. Paulo tried to find another publisher with no success. Both his first books did not do well until he published his third one. That book gave him enough exposure for readers to explore his first two books.
The Alchemist, a novel that explores his theme about following one’s personal legend, got noticed and made him an international bestselling author. The Alchemist has been translated in 66 languages and has sold more than 65 million copies in more than 150 countries, becoming one of the best-selling books in history. Combined with his other books, his total number of sales exceeds 100 million copies.
Paulo Coelho once said: “Following your dream is like learning a foreign language; you will make mistakes but you will get there in the end.”
Here is an excellent review of The Alchemist: http://bookreviews.nabou.com/reviews/thealchemist.html