The Alchemist is one of those books you need to reread once in a while. Recently I read it for the third time, after hearing a very interesting interview between Oprah and Paolo Coelho. I was listening to it in my car on a Saturday afternoon and when home, I immediately looked up the book. This time it grabbed me more than ever before and it was 3 AM when I finally laid it down. It was like each page held some new message and secret for me to discover. My book is gone, I gave it to a friend and that is also a strange thing about The Alchemist. It’s meant to be passed on and somehow that person presents itself. Other people I spoke had the same experience and some have bought many copies as a result. Maybe part of the reason this book has sold so much?
So what makes this book so special? Because special it is. Or the more than 65 million (!) people who have bought is, must be idiots. Let me tell you briefly what I heard during that podcast, the reason I picked up this book again in the first place … the fact that every person has a legend and when we know when we’re on the right path …
The Alchemist at my bedside, even my cat is interested …
Oprah & Paolo about The Alchemist
Paolo talks about his belief in fate and that the right person always arrives at the right moment. When Oprah asks him if he believes that every person has a personal legen, Paolo answers: ” I am 100% confident”. But what is a personal legend? Paolo: “We are here to honor the miracle of life, we have a reason to be here. We all have a personal legend, and you know when you betray that personal legend, because then you are doing something without enthusiasm. Al lot of people say ‘I am not ready – I have to wait for the right moment, now I have to feed my family’, but that is just an excuse. Come on, your family wants to see you happy! If you are honest enough, you are being guided, even if you are taking a long time. “. The universe rises up to meet you, if you open your heart.
Paolo gets thousands of mails from people in search of their personal legend, but he emphasizes that he is not a guru and he doesn’t know. He says that he can give a thousand reason why we are here but that none of them will be true. The reason we are here is a mystery till the day we die. On that day we will know. In his opinion then you’ll be asked one question: ‘Did you love enough?’. This is not referring to romantic love, but to the question if you did open your heart fully during your life. Did you embrace every single moment?
A lot of people try to hide their dream and carry on with the ‘burdens of life’. That’s because you see so many self-distructing people. Because they know they have a dream that they are not big enough to fulfill.
Oprah claims that people have a fear of not following their personal legend: “I fear that I won’t fulfill that supreme potential.” Paolo agrees, he even feels that what he is doing is not enough. Paolo: “I think we are here to improve the state of the world”. He tells us about writing the Alchemist and that it just took him 2 weekes. He thinks he was being guided. We are all being guided. The book says that the signs are there all the time. So the main character Santiago is just following these signs in search of his treasure. It’s called ‘the language of the world’.
Language of the world
In fact this is the same as an energy, rhythm or flow – or whatever you call it. Everybody may recognize that feeling, when everything seems just right and no effort is needed to move forward. Now when you are more conscious of this so called ‘language of the world’, you have more control over that flow. Paolo: “You can only learn this language of the world by making mistakes and to pay attention to the signs around you. The universe is there to teach you the correct signs but sometimes you may take a wrong step. That doesn’t matter, you’ll learn from this. I started to understand this language when I realized that I wasn’t the center of the universe. When I started to see life”. He continues: “Courage is the first spiritual quality that you need to have in life. This quality is essential to understand the language of the world”.
Is a personal legend always work related? Not necessarily, you can follow your legend and might not work at all. But whatever you do, it should give you fulfillment and a feeling of enthusiasm. Often it is work related, because how can you work on something for 8 hours a day when it is not fulfilling? The book also talks about following your heart, which means that you have to get to know yourself and look inward to connect with yourself. Trust your feelings and intuïtion. Find some quiet time and be honest with yourself, your inner voice will guide you. This voice will tell you if you’re on the right path. Deep down you often know already. And when you know, don’t be afraid to follow your legend, even if that means disapproval from the people around you. Because when you follow your heart, you’ll be a happier person and that is never selfish or irresponsible. Don’t be afraid of failure, because along the way you’ll learn. If you really believe in something and do it with all your heart, the rewards will follow automatically. Don’t settle for less, it’s your life!