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Home arrow Psychology arrow The Life and Creative Works of Paulo Coelho : A Psychobiography from a Positive Psychology Perspective
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Conclusion on the Life Task Self-Direction

Table 7.19 provides an overview of the distribution of the sub-categories of selfdirection throughout Paulo Coelho’s life.

During his (early) childhood and schooldays, Coelho grew up in a very caring and safe environment that contributed to building his self-worth. However, his failure in primary school and his parents’ punishments must have contributed to a decrease in self-worth and self-control. However, Coelho made up for this loss through his success with winning friends and attention through writing and storytelling and through diving into new worlds through reading.

The struggle between his parents’ wishes and his own desires led Coelho to a lack of self-direction, with a decrease in almost all 12 components of self-direction (from (a) self-worth to (l) cultural identity). However, he regained self-direction mainly through his dream of becoming a writer, through his friends, his theatre acting success, his job at the newspaper and his grandparents. Coelho’s teenage years were an up and down in terms of self-direction, particularly with regard to selfworth and self-control issues, but also to exploring realistic beliefs and findings space to be creative.

During his twenties, Coelho regained self-direction by gaining particularly a stronger feeling of self-control, but also by becoming more emotionally aware (d), resolving his problems and becoming creative (e). He used the occult and satanism to strengthen his self-direction, but also his first successes with Raul, his two marriages and his holding on to his dream of being a writer supported him in staying self-directed until he finally managed to return to Christianity.

Coelho regained self-worth and self-control particularly through the strong belief of his life partner, Cristina, and experienced two key situations in Dachau and Amsterdam through which he gained self-direction and realised the necessary steps to become a writer and to become a member of RAM during his thirties. Through RAM and the success of his first book, Coelho gained particularly self-worth and self-control, which influenced his emotional awareness and coping positively.

During his forties, Coelho managed to strengthen his self-direction again, by promoting himself with the support of Cristina. He also saw an apparition and was motivated to proceed on his path as a writer. During this decade, his self-worth increased strongly, as well as his sense of control, which helped him to pursue his self-direction of becoming a writer, and developed spiritually by using problemsolving and creative approaches. However, also in this decade, Coelho was challenged by reacting to failure and setbacks. This decade is mainly blessed in terms of strong self-development regarding sense of worth, sense of control and the establishment of emotional awareness and coping. However, Coelho also worked hard at changing his perception of cultural and gender identity. Generally spoken, Coelho’s self-direction increased in all 12 components through his success as a writer and through the deepening of his spiritual development.

At the beginning of his fifties, Coelho reconsidered his relationship with his parents and worked through different life themes using a problem-solving and creative approach and aiming at becoming emotionally aware about traumatic issues in his life. He reconsidered his cultural identity by reflecting on critical social and cultural issues in his books. It can be concluded that in his fifties Paulo Coelho worked hard on his self-direction in terms of taking a stand on his (c) realistic beliefs and questioning the norms and values of society. Furthermore, he worked hard on his (d) emotional awareness and coping with regard to his past and managed to resolve the problems of his teenage years into a constructive process of (e) problem-solving and creativity, (i) self-care (j) and stress management, while constructing, strengthening and empowering his balanced (k) gender identity and multi-layered (l) cultural identity.

For Coelho’s sixties, it can be concluded that he worked hard on his self-direction in terms of reconciling mainly with his (a) sense of worth, but also with his (b) sense of control, taking a stand with regard to his (c) realistic beliefs in terms of God, the universe, the universal values of humans and the norms and values of societies. Through his various book publications, in terms of the dimension of self-direction Coelho referred to exploring his (d) emotional awareness and improving his coping with past and negative experiences. Particularly in faith and love, Coelho gained access to (e) problem-solving and creativity, which at the same time referred to various ways of (i) self-care, (j) and stress management, while reconstructing his (k) gender and (l) cultural identity. Table 7.20 summarises the findings.

Table 7.20 Life task self-direction

Historical periods in the

development of Paulo Coelho

Components of holistic wellness expressed through the life tasks

Global events

Life forces (business/industry, media, government, community, family, religion, education)

2. Self-direction

1. Coelho’s early

childhood

(1947-1953)

The dimensions of this life task effective in this life phase are (Myers & Sweeney, 2008):

e.) Problem-solving and creativity (1)

f.) Sense of humour (1)

Impacting life forces:

Family

Religion

Education

Community

Global events are not referred to in the data.

2. Childhood and

schooldays

(1953-1961)

The dimensions of this life task effective in this life phase are (Myers & Sweeney, 2008):

(a) Sense of worth (4)

(b) Sense of control (2)

(c) Realistic beliefs (1)

(d) Emotional awareness and coping (2)

(e) Problem-solving and creativity (3)

(f) Sense of humour (1)

(h) Exercise (1)

(i) Self-care (1)

(j) Stress management (2)

(k) Gender identity (1)

(l) Cultural identity (1)

Impacting life forces:

Family

Religion

Education

Community

Media

Global events are not referred to.

(continued)

Historical periods in the

development of Paulo Coelho

Components of holistic wellness expressed through the life tasks

Global events

Life forces (business/industry, media, government, community, family, religion, education)

2. Self-direction

  • 3. The teenage years
  • (1962-1966)

The dimensions of this life task effective in this life phase are (Myers & Sweeney, 2008):

(a) Sense of worth (11)

(b) Sense of control (10)

(c) Realistic beliefs (7)

(d) Emotional awareness and coping (6)

(e) Problem-solving and creativity (7)

(f) Sense of humour (3)

(i) Self-care (2)

(j) Stress management (3)

(k) Gender identity (2)

(l) Cultural identity (2)

Impacting life forces:

Family

Religion

Education

Community

Media

Government

Business/industry

Global events are not referred to.

4. The twenties (1967-1976)

The dimensions of this life task effective in this life phase are (Myers & Sweeney, 2008):

(a) Sense of worth (2)

(b) Sense of control (5)

(c) Realistic beliefs (2)

(d) Emotional awareness and coping (3)

(e) Problem-solving and creativity (3)

(f) Sense of humour (1)

(i) Self-care (2)

(j) Stress management (3)

(k) Gender identity (1)

(l) Cultural identity (1)

Impacting life forces:

Family

Religion

Education

Community

Media

Government

Business/industry

Global events are not referred to.

Table 7.20 (continued)

Historical periods in the

development of Paulo Coelho

Components of holistic wellness expressed through the life tasks

Global events

Life forces (business/industry, media, government, community, family, religion, education)

2. Self-direction

5. The thirties (1977-1986)

The dimensions of this life task effective in this life phase are (Myers & Sweeney, 2008):

(a) Sense of worth (7)

(b) Sense of control (5)

(c) Realistic beliefs (4)

(d) Emotional awareness and coping (5)

(e) Problem-solving and creativity (4)

(i) Self-care (3)

(j) Stress management (2)

(k) Gender identity (2)

(l) Cultural identity (2)

Impacting life forces:

Family

Religion

Community

Media

Global events are not referred to.

6. The forties (1987-1996)

The dimensions of this life task effective in this life phase are (Myers & Sweeney, 2008):

(a) Sense of worth (15)

(b) Sense of control (11)

(c) Realistic beliefs (10)

(d) Emotional awareness and coping (13)

(e) Problem-solving and creativity (11)

(h) Exercise (only mental and spiritual, not physical) (2)

(i) Self-care (4)

(j) Stress management (6)

(k) Gender identity (8)

(l) Cultural identity (8)

Impacting life forces:

Family

Religion

Community

Media

Government

Business/industry

Global events: No global events affect Coelho’s life except his global travels in connection with the RAM practices, which have a strong impact on his life’s development and on his career as an author.

(continued)

Table 7.20 (continued)

Historical periods in the

development of Paulo Coelho

Components of holistic wellness expressed through the life tasks

Global events

Life forces (business/industry, media, government, community, family, religion, education)

2. Self-direction

7. The fifties (1997-2006)

The dimensions of this life task effective in this life phase are (Myers & Sweeney, 2008):

(a) Sense of worth (6)

(b) Sense of control (5)

(c) Realistic beliefs (3)

(d) Emotional awareness and coping (9)

(e) Problem-solving and creativity (7)

(f) Sense of humour (1)

(h) Exercise (1)

(i) Self-care (8)

(j) Stress management (6)

(k) Gender identity (2)

(l) Cultural identity (7)

Impacting life forces:

Family

Religion

Education

Community

Media

Government

Business/industry

Global events: Coelho belongs to international high society and is involved in the global jet set. This life style influences his life and he is involved with international politicians and comments on international happenings, since he feels that this is one of the responsibilities of a writer.

8. The sixties (2007-2016)

The dimensions of this life task effective in this life phase are (Myers & Sweeney, 2008):

(a) Sense of worth (15)

(b) Sense of control (8)

(c) Realistic beliefs (10)

(d) Emotional awareness and coping (9)

(e) Problem-solving and creativity (8)

(h) Exercise (1)

(i) Self-care (8)

(continued)

Table 7.20 (continued)

Historical periods in the

development of Paulo Coelho

Components of holistic wellness expressed through the life tasks

Global events

Life forces (business/industry, media, government, community, family, religion, education)

2. Self-direction

(j) Stress management (3)

(k) Gender identity (2)

(l) Cultural identity (7)

Impacting life forces:

Family

Religion

Education

Community

Media

Government

Business/industry

Global events: Coelho belongs to international high society and is involved in global political promotions. He takes a stand with regard to the Frankfurt book fair in 2014 and comments on global and universal human conditions and values, which should help to overcome interreligious and intercultural conflict. He also refers repeatedly to the value of love and faith as universal concepts to overcome fanaticism and rigid religious belief systems.

Source: Researcher’s own construction

 
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