Oscar Wilde said: “Each man kills the thing he loves.” And it’s true. The mere possibility of getting what we want fills the soul of the ordinary person with guilt. We look around at all those who have failed to get what they want and feel that we do not deserve to get what we want either. We forget about all the obstacles we overcame, all the suffering we endured, all the things we had to give up in order to get this far. I have known a lot of people who, when their personal calling was within their grasp, went on to commit a series of stupid mistakes and never reached their goal—-when it was only a step away.

This is the most dangerous of obstacles because it has a kind of saintly arua about it: renouncing joy and conquest. But if you believe yourself worthy of the thing you fought so hard to get, then you become an instument of God, you help the Soul of the World, and you understand why you are here.

Paulo Coelho
Rio de Janeiro
November 2002
Translated by Margaret Jull Costa

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Image by AWWS via Flickr

From the Introduction to “The Alchemist” by Paulo Coelho.

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