WEEKEND READ: The Alchemist

Have you been trying to realize your Personal Legend, and you are at the point where you’re about to give it all up? Are you struggling to rise to meet your own unique destiny, or are afraid of losing what you have in pursuit of your dreams?

Paulo Coelho’s The Alchemist (1988) is a perfect read for you, in particular.

The book’s story is about a young Spanish shepherd called Santiago who had twice dreamed of a treasure hidden near the Pyramids of Egypt.

Santiago’s parents had wanted him to become a priest, but ever since he had been a child, he had wanted to know the world, and this was much more important to him than knowing God and learning about man’s sins.

His father gave him a pouch that held three ancient Spanish gold coins as part of his inheritance. He used the coins to buy a flock of sheep and traveled selling their wool.


So, he had not set out to turn his dream into reality. The young boy had no idea how to get to Egypt, and he would have to abandon the sheep, and embark on a journey to the unknown.

According to Coelho, there is a point in people’s lives when everything is clear and everything is possible. They are not afraid to dream, and to yearn for everything they would like to see happen to them in their lives.

But, as time passes, a mysterious force begins to convince them that it will be impossible for them to realize their Personal Legend.

However, time came when Santiago could no longer ignore his dreams, and decides that he must go to Africa to find the hidden treasure.

Little did he know of difficulties lying ahead — from being robbed of all the monies he had sold his flock of sheep, which he intended to use to travel, to spending a year working for a crystal merchant to get food.

Had nothing

The young boy was trapped, a stranger in a strange land, where he couldn’t even speak the language. He was no longer a shepherd, and he had nothing, not even the money to return and start everything over.

However, as the author teaches us, any new pursuit requires entering uncharted territory, and the risks one takes later bring the rewards.

As Santiago would later learn from his guide through the perilous Sahara desert, dreams have a price but not living your dreams has even a bigger price.

“Tell your heart that the fear of suffering is worse than the suffering itself. And that no heart has ever suffered when it goes in search of its dreams, because every second of the search is a second’s encounter with God and with eternity.”

Mission on earth

Besides, “Whoever you are, or whatever it is that you do, when you really want something, it’s because that desire originated in the soul of the universe. It’s your mission on earth. And, when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.”

“We are afraid of losing what we have, whether it’s our life or our possessions and property. But this fear evaporates when we understand that our life stories and the history of the world were written by the same hand.”

It’s the possibility of having a dream come true that makes life interesting.

Life really is generous to those who pursue their Personal Legends.

The Alchemist invites us to live out our dreams, to embrace the uncertainty of life, and to rise to meet our own unique destiny.

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