A closer look on ourselves

My copy of the book 🖤

Paulo Coelho nailed it: The Winner Stands Alone is indeed “a crude portrait of where we are now”.

It’s been a long time since I took a break from reading genres like this but my return is definitely worth it. 

So, what made me pick this book among the hundreds in the shelves?

For one, the title. It made me reflect on things such as: How does one define a “winner”? When you’re at the top, does it really feel alone? Worse, is it not just a feeling, but a reality, that you are alone?

Second, the cover. (Yup, the one above!) Well, it actually put me a little off because I am not that interested in reading stuff about glamour and fashion. However, upon finishing the book, it speaks a lot about the main scenes in the story. The purpose then was well served as it gives a peek to the content.

Third, the summary. This is the real hook. I’m looking for something that could put my thoughts into words and I found it to be the perfect one. Allow me to quote the part I like the most:

“… a mirror image of the world we live in, where our commitment to luxury and success at any cost often prevents us from hearing what the heart actually desires.” (added emphasis)

As a habit, I highlight ideas that interest me. And blimey, there’s a lot in this book; Paulo Coelho deserves another applause. I’d like to present 5 of my favorites and expound a little by giving my insights on each:

page 155

When pursuing something we like, how many times have we told ourselves, “I don’t care what others think”? The truth is, saying it is usually just a form of denial. Often, we truly get affected by other people’s reactions, from the way we dress to our decisions in life. 

Unfortunately, thinking so much about others’ opinions in your life results in you losing your true self. We feel empty by always seeking approval from others. On the contrary, if we choose to be us and think less of ‘what they would say’, we can experience freedom. After all, no matter how hard you try to please people, one day or another, they will find another fault in you. 

So why sacrifice the true, beautiful you?

page 8

No matter how trivial, we tend to judge people according to how they dress. We often associate one’s clothes to their social status, profession, or character. Worse, we sometimes judge by brand! As if wearing something pleasant and comfortable aren’t enough simply because it’s not a product of a well-known brand.

Here, we can clearly see that ‘fashion’ is like a ‘uniform’ that divides people into the group or society where they belong to.

page 66

I mean, sad truth but can anything be truer than this? 😑😂

I know that some people write, draw, paint, compose songs, etc., for the sake of creating art. And I also know that nothing can be purer and more wonderful than that intention. 

However, what these works need is exposure — especially those exemplary ones, those with quality. They need to be shared because perhaps, humanity needs them in order to be humane. And so, no matter how capitalistic this sounds, I agree that quality works need visibility.

pages 139-140

First of all, I just want to say that Paulo Coelho has perfectly woven the words in this statement.

Secondly, I agree with it. People use words that make them appear like they are superior to everything else when the truth is, no one can stop the volcanoes from erupting, the seas from roaring, nor the skies from crying. 

No matter how high-tech our society becomes, the best we can do with it is to ‘protect’ ourselves when mother nature herself pours her wrath.

We, people, will just later on turn back to dust while nature lives on. She gives shelter to thousands of generations — who are we to mess with her power?

page 160

Hmm… I wonder how many workaholics are produced throughout the lengthy years of capitalism. Whether we admit it or not, we weren’t trained to think — we were trained to work. And work and work until we become ‘successful’.

We grew up into believing that we can achieve happiness and success by working more, doing more… being busier. And then one day, it breaks us. 

We were once filled with energy and enthusiasm chasing happiness and success but on the way, we snapped. Or we got fired or the boss simply says we’re too old for the job. Looking back, we saw that we spent our youth chasing on something that’s actually there all along. 

Because we’re so busy running, we didn’t notice that happiness was, is, and will always be, within us.

One of the biggest problems of our generation is depression. I suspect one of the reasons is that we’re always told to work hard everyday and that one day, we’ll get ‘there’. Everybody seems to be doing and ‘achieving’ and we often feel left out when we start stepping back from the business of life. 

It is so much easier to compare ourselves with one another. These days, being busy, no matter how empty, is equated to success. On the other hand, resting and relaxing is equated to laziness.

Abide these, may we always remember that being busy does not necessarily mean being productive. Consequently, neither of the two gives us happiness. Anxiety, maybe. But happiness?

It’s always here, within us. Quietly sitting in the depths of our hearts, waiting to be noticed. So please, stop being in a hurry. Hassle is temporary, often unnecessary. Life’s meant to be lived with a purpose, and each of us has a unique one.

Also, there’s no rush in finding yours. Life’s not a race but a journey to be enjoyed.

I’ve prepared more reflections from this book which I’m going to share with you in the near future. For now, let us savor these words and take a closer look on ourselves.

Happy Monday and I wish all of us a great week! 

28 thoughts on “A closer look on ourselves

    1. I actually just came across it in one bookstore. At first, I didn’t buy it and looked for other copies on bigger bookstores but apparently, there’s none! Haha so I went back and bought it and I definitely have no regrets 🙂 What’s your favorite Coelho book? 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Right! I really picked those last two because it’s so relevant to what most of us see and experience during this pandemic. 🙂 Thank you so much, I appreciate it a lot! ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Good post of some thoughtful wisdom. I especially liked the quote about us saving the planet.
    Also thank you for following my blog. I hope it encourages you as you live life. I look forward to visiting you again.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s my favorite too! It’s timely as ever. Yes, thank you and I look forward to reading more of your posts as well! I hope you’re doing well. Have a great week! 💛

      Liked by 1 person

    1. The Alchemist was the first ever Paulo Coelho book I’ve read. I had fun reading it and found several allegories to the Bible. 😁 It was a great choice by a great teacher like you! Wishing you a great discussion. ❤️ I’ve yet to discover many more of his works. In any case, what’s your favorite book, Ms. Pam? 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Naming a favorite book is tough. I have so many! If I reread more than a couple of times that usually means it’s a favorite and that would mean To Kill a Mockingbird is a favorite.
        What’s a favorite for you?

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Haha! I agree though, ’tis hard to pick a fave one! Nice, I think that’s the first novel I’ve ever finished! #BooRadley 💛 Hmm since you’ve mentioned re-reading, then it’ll be Tuesdays With Morrie for me 😁

          Liked by 1 person

  2. This is a very interesting book. The first image that came to mind with the title was the podium at the Olympics. The winner, the gold medalist, stands alone on the top step. Years of blood, sweat and tears have brought the best athletes in the world to that top step of that podium. And there they are . Alone. I am going to get this book. Thanks.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. This sounds like a fascinating and challenging piece. His words about saving the planet versus saving ourselves are particularly strong – that’s such an interesting way to reframe the climate crisis.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Indeed, it’s both a unique and strong idea. It’s one of my favorite quotes and I highly recommend this novel as it honestly describes the situation we are in these days. 🙂


  4. I loved his book, ‘THe Alchemist’; this is now on my must read list; it’s not only racism we must combat but all sorts of —‘isms’ that try to crush people’s differences


  5. I love how many different things he tackles in this one! It’s so true that visibility is something that a lot of artists (whatever field) lack but social media allows exposure in unimaginable ways today! I’m grateful for that aspect, to be honest, despite all the chaos and ugly that social media also brings to our lives. I also agree that the pursuit of approval is so strong in many, it’s almost a must if we want to grow. It can be tough for many but I think it’s still important that we always try and encourage one another too. How else can we progress hahaha Great post, Camille! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, I couldn’t stop reading this one because of the beautiful way he describes the ugly truths in life. =)) And you’re right about social media! As much as it’s toxic, it’s helpful for the exposure of any form of art. Thanks for dropping by, Lashaan 😁

      Liked by 1 person

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