Overcoming Obstacles

A famous Sufi master was invited to give a course in California. The auditorium was full at 8AM – the time announced – when one of the assistants came onto the stage.

“The master is just waking up. Please be patient.”

Time passed, and people started leaving the room. At midday, the assistant returned to the stage, saying that the master would be starting the lecture the minute he finished talking to a pretty girl he had just met. Most of the remaining audience left.

At 4PM the master appeared – apparently drunk. This time, all but 6 people stormed out.

“I will teach you this,” said the master, ceasing to act drunk. “Whoever wishes to go down a long path, must learn that the first lesson is to overcome early disappointments.”

Paulo Coelho is a Brazilian author who has sold more than 100 million books, which include 14 short story collections and the novel “The Alchemist.” He has been a fan of the Internet since the early 1990s. He spends at least three hours a day online, writing e-mails back and forth with his readers and posting photos on Flickr, MySpace and a blog.

Coelho’s online activities also include promoting pirated copies of his own books. Since 2005 he’s been directing his readers to an online site where they can download his books, in languages from German to Japanese, for free. “I always thought that when, at the beginning of your career, you strive to be read, you can’t change your mind later and become greedy about it.”

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