When one of my good friends gifted me The Alchemist, I saw a chance to revisit a story assigned as summer reading back in middle school. A part of me expected to remember the plotline but *not* surprisingly this read offered a completely new appreciation for eloquent, simplistic storytelling.
The novel follows a young shepherd striving to achieve his Personal Legend by discovering buried treasure in a far off land. The tale draws on vital lessons of wisdom in the form of fulfilment, love, passion, fear and bravery.
Rather than recapping the entire plot, I thought it better to share the quotes that resonated with me. The book is rather short (less than 200 pages in length) and offers incredibly compelling writing and character development, making it a no brainer as to why it was assigned to aspiring teens in their youth.
Let’s dive right in:
It’s the simple things in life that are the most extraordinary.
Everyone seems to have a clear idea of how others should lead their lives, but none about his or her own.
At a certain point in our lives, we lose control of what’s happening to us — and our lives become controlled by fate. That’s the worlds’ greatest lie — we control our own fate.
The secret of happiness is to see all the marvels of the works and never to forget the finer details that make them possible.
If you can learn to understand language without words, you can understand the world.
Every blessing ignored becomes a curse.
Making a decision is only the beginning of things. When someone makes a decision, he is really diving into a strong current that will carry him to places he had never dreamed of when he first made the decision.
The closer one gets to realizing his Personal Legend the more that legend becomes his true reason for being.
Intuition is really a sudden immersion of the soul into the universal current of life, where the histories of all people are connected, and where we are able to know everything because it’s all written there.
If good things are coming they will be a pleasant surprise. If bad things are, and you know in advance, you will suffer greatly before they even occur.
The secret is here in the present: if you pay attention to the present, you can improve upon it.
Each day, in and if itself brings with it an eternity.
Courage is the quality most essential to understanding the language of the world.
When a person really desires something, all the universe conspires to help them realize that dream.
One is loved because one is loved. No reason is needed for loving.
Men dream more about coming home than they do about leaving.
The only way to learn is by action.
People are afraid to pursue their most important dreams because they feel they don’t deserve them, or that they’ll be unable to achieve them.
The fear of suffering is worse than suffering itself.
Every search begins with beginners luck. And every search ends with the victors being severely tested.
The darkest hour of the night comes just before the dawn.
When you possess great treasures within you, and try to tell others of them, seldom are you believed.
Your eyes show the strength of your soul.
The only thing that makes a dream impossible to achieve is the fear of failure.
When we strive to become better then we are, everything around us becomes better too.
When we love — we strive to become better than we are.
No matter what he does, every person on earth plays a central role in the history of the world. And normally he doesn’t know it.
Now I don’t know about you but there are some serious gems in here.
To me, The Alchemist is an excellent representation of the opportunities we all have at our fingertips on any given day. Regardless of who we are or where we stand, we are all capable of far more than we believe.
The notion of living in the moment is one that is not new to me, but within this novel, I really loved the concept of trusting “omens” or signs that require immediate action. This could be something as simple as taking the initiative to talk to a girl at a bar to something more drastic like quitting your job to pursue a startup idea you’re extremely passionate about.
The big idea here is that there is no better time than now. The more we can learn to act on positive impulses the moment we feel them, the more likely we are to become free to pursue our own Personal Legends.
Lean into discomfort — Change is one of the single best things that can happen to us. The more drastic the change, the more telling the outcome will be when you ultimately conquer it.
As Coelho states, Maktub — It is written.
Everyone has a Personal Legend — What’s yours?