Mahatma Gandhi was approached one day by a woman and her young son.
The woman asked, “Mahatma, can you please tell my son to stop eating sugar. It’s not good for him, and he won’t listen to me. He respects you, and I know he will listen to you.”
The Mahatma said, “Fine. Come back in a week.”
A week later, the woman and her son came back. The Mahatma said, “I’m not quite ready. Please come back in another week.”
Another week went by, and the woman came back with her son. The Mahatma was ready, and he said, “Son, you should stop eating sugar. It is not good for you.”
The woman was pleased, but also a bit confused. She said, “Why did it take you so long to say such a simple thing.”
The Mahatma replied, “When you first came to me, I had not stopped eating sugar myself.”
As 2010 gets underway, the first TSB post of the year aims to reflect the moral of the Ghandi story:
- Don’t tell anyone to do anything you haven’t done yourself.
- Don't write about that which is untried and untested.
- Don't share ideas without sharing belief in those ideas.
For those reasons and a few others, today is focused on sharing a discovery.
Late October, 2009.
A friend casually mentions the name of a good book and its author.
Draws a blank.
Never heard of the guy.
Or his book.
Turns out, the guy is famous.
So much so, he earned the 2009 Guinness World Record for being the Most Translated Living Author for the same book.
Translated in more than 68 languages with over 100 million copies sold in more than 150 countries, what makes this literary feat even more remarkable is when you consider:
- His book was published originally in Portuguese by an unknown author from Brazil, a country without a track record of literature translated into other languages.
- There were no high-priced literary agents or big marketing budgets involved.
- The media ignored it. Never recommended by Oprah.
- There was no film adaptation to fuel hype and boost sales.
But, more than 20 years later, this masterpiece is still selling, relying on word of mouth as its main marketing tool. Passionate fans recommend "The Alchemist" not as a good or entertaining read, but as a MUST read. Quietly, it has become a bestseller in every single country where it has been published, making Paulo Coelho the most read living author of all time.
"The Alchemist" may help set your sails and adjust your course for an unforgettable 2010; the kind of year you will look back on with pride. You will identify with the many characters encountered by the young shepherd, Santiago and see your own struggles along his page-turning journey of self-discovery.
Perhaps you will also discover "treasure lies where your heart belongs", as you come face-to-face with Luck, Coincidence and Faith.
Paulo Coelho was born in 1947 to a middle-class family near Rio de Janeiro, brought up in a Jesuit school where he fell in love with writing. His parents had other ideas though and when Paulo resisted becoming an engineer like his father, he was committed to a psychiatric hospital. But his love for literature refused to die.
Later, Paulo tried several kinds of creative activities such as theatre, journalism and song-writing before he joined the hippie movement in the 60s; a series of actions which resulted in his arrest and torture by the military regime of Brazil. In 1986, following the advice of a mentor, he completed a pilgrimage on the road to Santiago and in 1988, published "The Alchemist", a book destined to change his life forever.
Which brings us to November 9, 2009.
That was the day TSB first offered a hint of "The Alchemist" in a post that drew unprecedented reaction from our growing, global readership. The inbox filled up that day thanks to the forces of Luck, Coincidence and Faith as a number of individuals identified with the Will displayed from another Paulo Coelho fan.
"The Alchemist", bursts with adventure and tragedy; fear and optimism; setbacks and hope. But, as the alchemist himself says, when he appears to Santiago in the form of an old king "when you really want something to happen, the whole universe conspires so that your wish comes true". It's interesting to see how Will Smith himself reflected that philosophy in a scene from one of his more acclaimed roles.
What would be the most significant thing you could do to protect your dream and alter the course of your personal Pursuit of Happyness?
Is 2010 the year you discover "The Alchemist"?
Will you stretch yourself and make 2010 a year to go skydiving, open that business, heal a wounded relationship, volunteer at a soup kitchen, visit that foreign country, begin public speaking, fall in love or make a fresh start?
You could decide to play it safe and resolve to do what everyone else does when a new year rolls around, like get out of debt, get fit, de-clutter or quit smoking/drinking/gambling.
Or you could confront the destiny that is yours.
And bet on Luck, Coincidence and Faith.
"Tell your heart that the fear of suffering is worse than the suffering itself. And no heart has ever suffered when it goes in search of its dream"
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