The Other

A man runs into an old friend who had somehow never been able to make it in life. “I should give him some money,” he thinks. But instead, he learns that his old friend has grown rich and is actually seeking him out to repay the debts he had run up over the years.

They go to a bar they used to frequent together, and the friend buys drinks for everyone there. When they ask him how he became so successful, he answers that until only a few days ago, he had been living the role of the “Other”.

“What is the Other?,” they ask.

“The Other is the one who taught me what I should be like, but not what I am. The Other believes that it is our obligation to spend our entire life thinking about how to get our hands on as much money as possible so that we will not die of hunger when we are old. So we think so much of money and our plans for acquiring it that we discover we are alive only when our days on earth are practically done. And then it’s too late.”

“And you? Who are you?”

“I am just like everyone else who listens to their heart: a person who is enchanted by the mystery of life. Who is open to miracles, who experiences joy and enthusiasm for what they do. It’s just that the Other, afraid of disappointment, keeps me from taking action.”


“But there is suffering in life,” one of the listeners said.

“And there are defeats. No one can avoid them. But it’s better to lose some of the battles in the struggle for your dreams than to be defeated without even knowing what you’re fighting for.”

“That’s it?,” another listener asked.

“Yes, that’s it. When I learned this, I resolved to become the person I had always wanted to be. The Other stood there in the corner of my room, watching me, but I will never let the Other into myself again – even though it has already tried to frighten me, warning me that it is risky not to think about the future. From the moment I ousted the Other from my life, the Divine Energy began to perform its miracles.”

– Paulo Coelho in ‘By the river Piedra I sat and wept’

PS: Updated my other blog today.



Filed under Life, Motivation, Reading Ramana, Sourced

12 responses to “The Other

  1. Hey! Glad to know that my comment prompted you to start on you long pending ‘cooking for dummies’ blog! All the best! And what have been the casualties so far πŸ˜‰

  2. priyaiyer


    danks! πŸ™‚

    none so far! πŸ™‚

  3. Ha..what a way to start the day! That was nice. Have a great day!

  4. priyaiyer


    danks! u too! πŸ™‚

  5. Deep ideas indeed πŸ™‚

    The pic fits in well too…


  6. priyaiyer


    yep, i loved this part. πŸ™‚

  7. Priya, now that you have quoted Coelho, I just wanted to quote him again from the same book. This one is about pain and suffering.

    “If pain must come, may it come quickly. Because I have a life to live, and I need to live, and I need to live it in the best way possible. If he has to make a choice, may be make it now, Then I will either wait for him or forgive him.
    Waiting is painful, Forgetting is painful, but not knowing which to do, is the worst kind of suffering”

  8. priyaiyer


    great lines! coelho rocks! πŸ™‚

    haven’t read the whole book yet. i believe i haven’t come across this part yet…

  9. By this time you would have finished reading the book and I must say i came across your blog very late. I am reading the book right now and glad to see these lines. Take care. πŸ™‚

  10. priyaiyer

    @bragadeesh prasanna

    Well, I haven’t finished reading the book yet! 😦

    • Bragadeesh

      Thats why you have to work in an office like mine where you can read e-books while others think that you are looking curiously at some documents. I have finished it πŸ™‚ Nice read.

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