The Alchemist is an inspiring book about pursuing one’s dream and finding one’s “personal legend”. The story follows a young boy who leaves his family to become a shepherd so that he could travel the world. Soon he has a literal dream about finding treasure and despite his fear of losing everything he has, he listens to his heart (and the advice of an old king) and travels across many lands in pursuit of this treasure. Throughout the story, the boy (and the reader) meets many people who have given up on their dreams because they were afraid of change, they were afraid of losing what they had, or they were afraid that their life would have no purpose once the dream was fulfilled. The boy learns that dreams will come true (with courage, effort and time). However; he must not focus on achieving the dream, but rather on the long journey that will bring him there. After all, everything happens for a reason, and every reason is a lesson to be learned or an experience to be remembered. If you are interested in some soul-searching, you will enjoy this insightful journey. You will also be surprised in what the alchemist’s actual role is in the story.
Here are some of my favorite quotes from the book:
“People are afraid to pursue their most important dreams, because they feel that they don’t deserve them, or that they’ll be unable to achieve them. We, their hearts become fearful just thinking of loved ones who go away forever, or of moments that could have been good but weren’t, or of treasures that might have been found but were forever hidden in the sands. Because, when these things happen, we suffer terribly.”
“Tell your heart that the fear of suffering is worse than the suffering itself.”
“Everyone on earth has a treasure that awaits him,” his heart said. “We, people’s hearts, seldom say much about those treasures, because people no longer want to go in search of them. We speak of them only to children. Later, we simply let life proceed, in its own direction, toward its own fate. But, unfortunately, very few follow the path laid out for them – the path to their Personal Legends, and to happiness. Most people see the world as a threatening place, and, because they do, the world turns out, indeed, to be a threatening place.”
“When you possess great treasures within you, and try to tell others of them, seldom are you believed.”
“The sea has lived on in this shell, because that’s its Personal Legend. And it will never cease doing so until the desert is once again covered by water.”
“If a person is living out his Personal Legend, he knows everything he needs to know. There is only one thing that makes a dream impossible to achieve: the fear of failure.”