Teach People to Be Different

I love Paulo Coelho. Maybe in a past life we were great friends, as everything he writes speaks to my soul in some way. This means that I am prone to share everything he writes about as I believe he speaks a universal language of love and appreciation.

Recently I have been reading his book “The Witch of Portobello” with all honesty, I’m afraid to finish the book. Afraid because I do not wish to forget the lessons that it teaches on every page. Some would argue that I could simply read it again, and that may be true. However each life lesson is taught when we most need it in our lives, so a second read would not teach me the same lesson.

As I draw closer to the finish line, I realise that the biggest lesson I am getting from the book is the power of teaching, more specifically the power of teaching others to be different. Its very easy to make people conform. Its even easier to deny your true self and the dreams you once had. Those dreams that seem to haunt you everey night out of hope they may be realised. Teaching people to be different is teaching people to be alive, and not merely to live. It’s about living in vivid colour and not a world we are so often told to be black and white.

An easy example of this is the definition of happiness. When we think of happiness, we think of a constant party. A place filled with all the things we love, all the things we need, and all those things that we want. We are taught that happiness is a moment that will soon pass. Thus instead of enjoying the moment, we live in fear of when it will all end.

Instead of happiness, I advocate for being content. No, content does not mean being okay with average. Content means a constant state of peace, satisfaction or like the dictionary puts it ‘a state of peaceful happiness’. When one is being their true self, they are content. They are like still water, although ripples may come, it will soon regain its composure and beauty that is reflected in its calm state. Teaching people to be different is teaching them to be at constant peace with themselves and the world.

“The simple things are also the most extraordinary things, and only the wise can see them.”
Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist