“When you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.”
“You will never be able to escape from your heart.
So it’s better to listen to what it has to say.”
The Alchemist, Paulo Coelho
Here’s a tale worth telling: In 1988, Paulo Coelho, a little-known Brazilian author, published The Alchemist, a short novel that traces a young shepherd’s search for his treasure. The spiritual fable was penned in just two weeks and Paulo believed it was destined for greatness. His publisher disagreed and dropped the book.
In response to this crushing setback, Paulo left Brazil and spent 40 days in the Mojave Desert. He returned determined to continue his struggle to get into print. He was “so convinced that it was a great book that [he] started knocking on doors.” As he told Oprah on a recent “Super Soul Sunday, “There is a sentence in the book that says, , ‘When you want something, the whole universe conspires to help you,'” he says. “I said, ‘I wrote this. I have to live by these words.'”
So he single-handedly turned his flop into a global bestseller by deciding to literally knock on publishing doors until he found someone who’d help him “The first door that I knocked, the guy opened. A very important publishing house in Brazil. And I said, ‘I have a book that was published and did not sell. But I trust this book is going to sell,'” Coelho recalls saying. “The guy said, ‘OK, I’m going to publish it.’ Three years later when the book was already a half a million copies in Brazil, I asked him, ‘Why did you accept a book that was already published and it was a flop?'” Coelho says. “And he said, ‘I don’t know.’
Fast forward: Some 25 years later, The Alchemist has sold 65 million copies and stayed on The New York Times bestseller list for more than 315 weeks. It’s been translated into 80 languages and holds the Guinness World Record for the most translated book by a living author.
To this day, the publisher still can’t explain what possessed him to take a chance on the little-known author and his failed book. But Paulo believes he knows the answer: It was the universe conspiring to help him because he believed in his work. So let’s take a tip from Paulo and just believe. And keep on believing and knocking on doors until our dreams come true. And write on!