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9 Amazing Life Lessons I’ve Learned from Paulo Coelho

9 Amazing Life Lessons I’ve Learned from Paulo Coelho

Certain books seem to enter our lives at the perfect time and provide a glimmer of hope where there was once only darkness. My journey into health and wellness, which is now my life’s work, began with serious reflection about who I was and what I wanted to do. One of the most important people that helped me get there was Paulo Coelho, the author and philosopher most famous for his book, The Alchemist. Coelho is a master at simplifying life’s difficult questions into easy-to-understand bits of wisdom. His words have been instrumental in helping me overcome hurdles and find my life’s purpose. These are some of the lessons I learned from him. I hope that you’ll take some of these to heart and benefit from them as much as I did.

1. The secret to life.

The secret is here in the present. If you pay attention to the present, you can improve upon it. And if you improve on the present, what comes later will also be better. Forget about the future, and live each day according to the teachings, confident that God loves his children. Each day, in itself, brings with it an eternity.

2. The world’s greatest lie.

At a certain point in our lives, we lose control of what’s happening to us, and our lives become controlled by fate. That’s the world’s greatest lie.

3. The language of the world.

There is a language in the world that everyone understands: the language of enthusiasm, of things accomplished with love and purpose, and as part of a search for something believed in and desired.

4. What happens when we die.

Those who don’t return become a part of the clouds, a part of the animals that hide in the ravines and of the water that comes from the earth. They become a part of everything…they become the Soul of the World. 

5. The only way to learn.

There is only one way to learn. It’s through action. Everything you need to know you have learned through your journey. 

6. The way to view others.

We can never judge the lives of others, because each person knows only their own pain and renunciation. It’s one thing to feel that you are on the right path, but it’s another to think that yours is the only path. 

7. The most extraordinary things in life.

The simple things are also the most extraordinary things, and only the wise can see them. 

8. The power of truly believing.

When you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.

9. What we can learn from children.

A child can teach an adult three things: to be happy for no reason, to always be busy with something, and to know how to demand with all his might that which he desires.

10. The only way to understand the miracle of life.

You have to take risks. We will only understand the miracle of life fully when we allow the unexpected to happen.

Whether you’re struggling through a tough situation or your life is calm and content at the moment, these words hold immense power. Take these life lessons from Paulo Coelho and find ways to apply them to your own. This means never ceasing to seek out knowledge, reading something new every day, having a child-like sense of wonder about the world and learning as much as you can about as much as you can. I’ll leave you with these words to ponder from The Alchemist:

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No matter what he does, every person on earth plays a central role in the history of the world. And normally he doesn’t know it.

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The Gentle Art of Saying No

The Gentle Art of Saying No

No!

It’s a simple fact that you can never be productive if you take on too many commitments — you simply spread yourself too thin and will not be able to get anything done, at least not well or on time.

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But requests for your time are coming in all the time — through phone, email, IM or in person. To stay productive, and minimize stress, you have to learn the Gentle Art of Saying No — an art that many people have problems with.

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What’s so hard about saying no? Well, to start with, it can hurt, anger or disappoint the person you’re saying “no” to, and that’s not usually a fun task. Second, if you hope to work with that person in the future, you’ll want to continue to have a good relationship with that person, and saying “no” in the wrong way can jeopardize that.

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But it doesn’t have to be difficult or hard on your relationship. Here are the Top 10 tips for learning the Gentle Art of Saying No:

  1. Value your time. Know your commitments, and how valuable your precious time is. Then, when someone asks you to dedicate some of your time to a new commitment, you’ll know that you simply cannot do it. And tell them that: “I just can’t right now … my plate is overloaded as it is.”
  2. Know your priorities. Even if you do have some extra time (which for many of us is rare), is this new commitment really the way you want to spend that time? For myself, I know that more commitments means less time with my wife and kids, who are more important to me than anything.
  3. Practice saying no. Practice makes perfect. Saying “no” as often as you can is a great way to get better at it and more comfortable with saying the word. And sometimes, repeating the word is the only way to get a message through to extremely persistent people. When they keep insisting, just keep saying no. Eventually, they’ll get the message.
  4. Don’t apologize. A common way to start out is “I’m sorry but …” as people think that it sounds more polite. While politeness is important, apologizing just makes it sound weaker. You need to be firm, and unapologetic about guarding your time.
  5. Stop being nice. Again, it’s important to be polite, but being nice by saying yes all the time only hurts you. When you make it easy for people to grab your time (or money), they will continue to do it. But if you erect a wall, they will look for easier targets. Show them that your time is well guarded by being firm and turning down as many requests (that are not on your top priority list) as possible.
  6. Say no to your boss. Sometimes we feel that we have to say yes to our boss — they’re our boss, right? And if we say “no” then we look like we can’t handle the work — at least, that’s the common reasoning. But in fact, it’s the opposite — explain to your boss that by taking on too many commitments, you are weakening your productivity and jeopardizing your existing commitments. If your boss insists that you take on the project, go over your project or task list and ask him/her to re-prioritize, explaining that there’s only so much you can take on at one time.
  7. Pre-empting. It’s often much easier to pre-empt requests than to say “no” to them after the request has been made. If you know that requests are likely to be made, perhaps in a meeting, just say to everyone as soon as you come into the meeting, “Look guys, just to let you know, my week is booked full with some urgent projects and I won’t be able to take on any new requests.”
  8. Get back to you. Instead of providing an answer then and there, it’s often better to tell the person you’ll give their request some thought and get back to them. This will allow you to give it some consideration, and check your commitments and priorities. Then, if you can’t take on the request, simply tell them: “After giving this some thought, and checking my commitments, I won’t be able to accommodate the request at this time.” At least you gave it some consideration.
  9. Maybe later. If this is an option that you’d like to keep open, instead of just shutting the door on the person, it’s often better to just say, “This sounds like an interesting opportunity, but I just don’t have the time at the moment. Perhaps you could check back with me in [give a time frame].” Next time, when they check back with you, you might have some free time on your hands.
  10. It’s not you, it’s me. This classic dating rejection can work in other situations. Don’t be insincere about it, though. Often the person or project is a good one, but it’s just not right for you, at least not at this time. Simply say so — you can compliment the idea, the project, the person, the organization … but say that it’s not the right fit, or it’s not what you’re looking for at this time. Only say this if it’s true — people can sense insincerity.

Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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