Paulo Coelho Quotes That Will Make You Rethink Your Life

Beloved around the world for his novel The Alchemist, Brazilian writer Paulo Coelho’s early life was shaped by crippling introversion. His parents placed him in a mental institution to treat the condition, and Coelho stayed there until he was 20 years old.

After his release, he led an itinerant hippie lifestyle, traveling around the world and finding himself in prison for acts of political activism. While wandering along Spain’s Road of Santiago de Compostela in 1986, Coelho realized that in order to be truly happy, he needed to write.

He began writing The Pilgrimage that same year. It was The Alchemist, published two years later, that garnered him the devoted following he has today. It is Coelho’s words, as seen in the quotes below, that have inspired many to live their own dreams — before it’s too late:

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Paulo Coehlo Quotes Two Books

Matej Divizna/Getty Images“One day you will wake up and there won’t be any more time to do the things you’ve always wanted. Do them now.”

Every Person

“Every person on Earth plays a central role in the history of the world.”

Dubai Festival

Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images“Everyone seems to have a clear idea of how other people should lead their lives, but none about his or her own.”

Paulo Coelho Quotes Addressing Crowd

Sean Gallup/Getty Images“You're always learning. The problem is, sometimes you stop and think you understand the world. This is not correct. The world is always moving. You never reach the point you can stop making an effort.”

Black Coat

Vittorio Zunino Celotto/Getty Images“I think you can have 10,000 explanations for failure, but no good explanation for success.”

Black White

Matej Divizna/Getty Images“We have to stop and be humble enough to understand that there is something called mystery.”

Blue Background

Sean Gallup/Getty Images“If you start by promising what you don't even have yet, you'll lose your desire to work towards getting it.”

Dark Face

Alexander Hassenstein/Getty Images for Hubert Burda Media“Let us be absolutely clear about one thing: we must not confuse humility with false modesty or servility.”

Glasses On

Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images“Our true friends are those who are with us when the good things happen. They cheer us on and are pleased by our triumphs. False friends only appear at difficult times, with their sad, supportive faces, when, in fact, our suffering is serving to console them for their miserable lives.”

Gray Tree

wikimedia/Paul Mcleod“It is always important to know when something has reached its end. Closing circles, shutting doors, finishing chapters, it doesn’t matter what we call it; what matters is to leave in the past those moments in life that are over.”

Holding Mic

Matej Divizna/Getty Images“When I had nothing more to lose, I was given everything. When I ceased to be who I am, I found myself. When I experienced humiliation and yet kept on walking, I understood that I was free to choose my destiny.”

Huge Smile

Matej Divizna/Getty Images“People want to change everything and, at the same time want it all to remain the same.”


“Human beings can withstand a week without water, two weeks without food, many years of homelessness, but not loneliness. It is the worst of all tortures, the worst of all sufferings.”

Orange Background

Wikimedia Commons“Tell your heart that the fear of suffering is worse than the suffering itself.”

Tan Chair

Matej Divizna/Getty Images“I can control my destiny, but not my fate. Destiny means there are opportunities to turn right or left, but fate is a one-way street. I believe we all have the choice as to whether we fulfill our destiny, but our fate is sealed.”

Threatening Place

“Most people see the world as a threatening place, and, because they do, the world turns out, indeed, to be a threatening place.”

Violent Storm

“The more violent the storm, the quicker it passes.”

Writing Book

Pexels“When I write a book, I write a book for myself; the reaction is up to the reader. It's not my business whether people like or dislike it.”

White Background

TIZIANA FABI/AFP/Getty Images“Pain, loss and separation are inevitable on the path of love, and the only way of avoiding them is by deciding not to take that path at all. In order not to suffer, you have to renounce love. It was like putting out your own eyes in order not to see the bad things in life.”

River Drown

Pexels“You drown not by falling into a river, but by staying submerged in it.”

Purple Chair

Andreas Rentz/Getty Images“Tears are words that need to be written.”

Love Paradise

Pexels“Love can consign us to hell or to paradise, but it always takes us somewhere.”

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The Human Cost Of A Century Of Chemical Warfare

Chemical weapons have given people nightmares for the past 100 years — those who are lucky enough to survive them, that is.

Chemical Weapons Iranian Soldier

Wikimedia Commons

Chemical weapons hold an especially dark place in the history of warfare. Bullets, bombs, and landmines all have their own terrors, but there’s nothing quite like an invisible cloud of death to spread panic and disrupt soldiers’ discipline. In a serious chemical attack, the air itself becomes hostile to life, and unseen poison seeps through every gap and crack to silently kill unprotected people.

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