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

Paulo Coelho

Paulo Coelho was born in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. He attended a Jesuit school. As a teenager, Coelho wanted to become a writer. Upon telling his mother this, she responded with “My dear, your father is an engineer. He’s a logical, reasonable man with a very clear vision of the world. Do you actually know what it means to be a writer?”After researching, Coelho concluded that a writer “always wears glasses and never combs his hair” and has a “duty and an obligation never to be understood by his own generation,” amongst other things. At 17, Coelho’s introversion and opposition to follow a traditional path led to his parents committing him to a mental institution from which he escaped three times before being released at the age of 20. Coelho later remarked that “It wasn’t that they wanted to hurt me, but they didn’t know what to do… They did not do that to destroy me, they did that to save me.

At his parents’ wishes, Coelho enrolled in law school and left his dream to become a writer. One year later, he dropped out and lived life as a hippie, traveling through South America, North Africa, Mexico, and Europe and becoming immersed in the drug culture of the 1960s. Upon his return to Brazil, Coelho worked as a songwriter, composing lyrics for Elis Regina, Rita Lee, and Brazilian icon Raul Seixas,composing with Raul made Paulo being associated with satanism and occultism, due to the content of some songs.In 1974, Coelho was arrested and tortured for “subversive” activities by the ruling military government, who took power ten years earlier and viewed his lyrics as left-wing and dangerous.

In 1986, Coelho walked the 500-plus mile Road of Santiago de Compostela in northwestern Spain, a turning point in his life. On the path, Coelho had a spiritual awakening, which he described autobiographically in The Pilgrimage. In an interview, Coelho stated “[In 1986], I was very happy in the things I was doing. I was doing something that gave me food and water — to use the metaphor in The Alchemist, I was working, I had a person who I loved, I had money, but I was not fulfilling my dream. My dream was, and still is, to be a writer.’ Coelho would leave his lucrative career as a songwriter and pursue writing full-time.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paulo_Coelho

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