Changing Attitude

“Over the course of one year, give a coin to each person who offends or upsets you,” instructed the abbot of a young man who wanted people to follow a spiritual path.

For the next twelve months, a boy gave a coin to each person who offended of upset him, as he was instructed. At the end of the year, he returned to the abbot to find out what the next steps were.

“Go into town and buy food for me,” the abbot responded.

Once the boy left, the abbot changed his clothes, and disguised himself as a beggar and went to the gate. When the boy approached, he began to insult him.

“Good!” said the boy, “for a whole year I had to pay the people who upset or offended me, and now I can be attacked for free, without spending anything!”

Hearing this, the abbot removed his disguise. “He who does not take insults seriously, is on the path to wisdom.”

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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