Paulo Coelho’s The Alchemist takes readers on young Santiago’s journey to live out a dream. Like Santiago, many of us have dreams and passions. Some of us pursue them, others let them go. For Santiago, his dreams call to him with enough urgency that he seeks out a gypsy for advice. The gypsy discerns his dream and tells him to go to the Pyramids of Egypt. Later, a king tells him that he needs to go and find it setting him off into a journey of self-discovery.
Only four things can limit Santiago:
1) The belief that it’s impossible.
2) Love, and leaving it behind.
3) Fear of defeat.
4) Realizing it come to pass.
In his intro, Coehlo reminds us (and Santiago) to be aware of all of these – especially the fourth. He goes on to remind us of a famous quote by Oscar Wilde:
“Each man kills the thing(s) he loves.”
Many would rather live in a dream-like-state of thinking about it, but never living it out. Many also feel too guilty about being so close to obtaining their dream while others have never come close. They forget how much they have sacrificed without ever giving up, when others just threw in the towel (See The Alchemist intro for more).
The Alchemist teaches Santiago of the valuable lessons of living within life’s limitless possibilities. He shows Santiago that each Personal Legend is a Master Work that must be lived out within each human soul.
I found Coehlo’s style to be bold and from the heart. This was a very inspiring piece that has encouraged me to re-examine and pursue my own heart. I recommend reading it and applying these lessons to everone’s life.