This short story is excerpted from Paulo Coelho’s book on short stories and reflections, Like the Flowing River.

I think all of us who are on a Healing Journey can especially relate to the Second Quality – something to reflect back on when times get tough, or maybe you’re in a tough time right now. If so, then when you’re finished reading this story, go watch my Healing Journey Movie (and get the free downloads at the end) and you will be doubly encouraged!

The Story of The Pencil

A boy was watching his grandmother write a letter. At one point, he asked:

“Are you writing a story about what we’ve done? Is it a story about me?”

His grandmother stopped writing her letter and said to her grandson:

“I am writing about you, actually, but more important than the words is the pencil I’m using. I hope you will be like this pencil when you grow up.”

Intrigued, the boy looked at the pencil. It didn’t seem very special.

“But it’s just like any other pencil I’ve ever seen!”

“That depends on how you look at things. It has five qualities which, if you manage to hang on to them, will make you a person who is always at peace with the world.

“First quality: you are capable of great things, but you must never forget that there is a hand guiding your steps. We call that hand God, and He always guides us according to His will.

“Second quality: now and then, I have to stop writing and use a sharpener. That makes the pencil suffer a little, but afterwards, he’s much sharper. So you, too, must learn to bear certain pains and sorrows, because they will make you a better person.

“Third quality: the pencil always allows us to use an eraser to rub out any mistakes. This means that correcting something we did is not necessarily a bad thing; it helps to keep us on the road to justice.

“Fourth quality: what really matters in a pencil is not its wooden exterior, but the graphite inside. So always pay attention to what is happening inside you.

“Finally, the pencil’s fifth quality: It always leaves a mark. In just the same way, you should know that everything you do in life will leave a mark, so try to be conscious of that in your every action.”

The Story of The Pencil – Inspiration and Encouragement
1 Comment

One thought on “The Story of The Pencil – Inspiration and Encouragement

  • I wonder how well this insightful piece would resonate with the instant messaging generation – who communicate not with writing in contemplation with a pencil that allows plenty of time with crafting a thought. It seems we expect instantaneous gratification; we suffer greater depression due to the comparative and illusionary information we are bombarded with continuously. I think this is what makes patience and really working on ourselves as a work in progress challenging. I love Paulo Coelho’s work – and had not come across this one. Thank you for posting it. It seems that you’ve recognized that “the Universe is conspiring for you to succeed.”

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