Vocation in Paulo Coelho’s Life

In Fowler’s (1984) FDT, the concept of vocation in an individual’s life is focused, whereby vocation is viewed as shaping all the aspects of life while responding to God’s call. One’s vocation in life is connected to the faith development stages (Fowler, 1987) and includes various aspects of one’s life, such as relationships, work, leisure, resources, public and private life (Fowler, 1984). It develops from young adulthood to middle and finally to late adulthood (Fowler, 1987).

Paulo Coelho’s Vocation During His Young Adulthood

During young adulthood, the individual aims at clarifying and defining the personal identity while searching and identifying his/her vocation in life. Coelho developed his love for stories and his ability and joy to write during childhood (1954) and won a writing competition in primary school (Morais, 2009). At the age of 12 he diarised his first self-portrait (Morais, 2009). These behavioural patterns and actions already show that on an unconscious level he identified his vocation in life as being a writer.

Coelho was 15 years old when he developed the idee fixe to become a writer (Morais, 2009, p. 62). He was dedicated and explained to his mother: “No, mother, I just want to be a writer. Not an Engineer who writes books” (Coelho, 2006, p. 11). In 1963, he won a top prize in the Academia Literaria Santo Inacio. He consciously aimed at becoming a famous writer and when he experienced backlashes, he managed to activate his resources to be resilient and decided to “fight to realize his dream” (Morais, 2009, p.79).

During phases of depression, the only thing that kept Coelho alive and striving was his dream of becoming a writer and he did not stop reflecting on the “problem of establishing myself as a recognized writer” (Morais, 2009, p. 90). He wanted to live his life to the full, wanted to do everything that he liked (Arias, 2001, p. 37). He held onto his dream, even when encountering criticism, negative feedback and ignorance (Coelho, 2006, p. 84). His happiness was based on his dream (Coelho, 2006, p. 84) to live the original life design (Coelho, 2006, p. 122).

At this stage of his life, Coelho did not connect his life’s dream with a spiritual perspective;, it was rather ego-related, taking into account only his individual happiness and self-development. Following his dream, he described to work hard (Coelho, 2006, p. 22) and he felt that he was being punished for following his dream by being taken to the mental hospital - he did not feel insane (Morais, 2009, p. 134).

In conclusion, Coelho realised his joy and desire to write very early and was consciously aware at the age of 15 that he wanted to become a writer. He felt it was a personal need to become a writer and part of his life design, his personal dream that longed for fulfilment, his vocation in life and calling by God.

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