Feeling lost in life? Then, The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho is for you. One of the best-selling books of all time, the Alchemist is about the story of a young shepherd boy, Santiago and his quest to find treasures in the pyramids. The story is more than just your typical fiction stories. It is a philosophical book that will give you a better understanding of what life truly is all about. It is about listening to your heart, chasing your dreams and pursuing your destiny. There are so many powerful and valuable life lessons from The Alchemist that every person should read this book at least once in their life.
Here are 10 Valuable Life Lessons I’ve learned The Alchemist.
1. Life is Continuous Learning
Life is a continuous learning process. We can only grow us a person if we broaden our horizon and discover new things. Santiago knew this. Although a shepherd boy, Santiago loves to read books. He was able to dream of faraway places because he read about them.
Santiago also listens and seeks advice from people who are smarter than him. Throughout his journey, he met people along the way that served as his mentors – the king, the merchant, the Englishman and the alchemist.
Sadly, many people stopped learning after school. That is the reason why they got stuck in life. Others are too proud to ask advice from others. They think they know everything. The moment you think that you know everything is the start of your downfall.
The only true wisdom is in knowing you know nothing.– Socrates
Santiago also learns from experience. His quest for the treasure was not smooth sailing. He made mistakes along the way but he learned from them.
There are so many valuable lessons to be learned throughout your life’s journey. Master the lesson. If you think that you have the same problem over and over again, that is because you have not learned the lesson yet. This applies in all aspects of your life whether it be your finances, career, health and even your relationships. Learn the lesson from past events, apply it and move on.
2. Always Look at the Bright Side
Santiago always find the good things in a bad situation no matter how big or small it is. Instead of complaining about how he had to carry the weight of his jacket in the heat of the sun, he remembered how that jacket kept him warm during winter nights. Likewise, he could have wallowed in self-pity when he lost everything in Africa; but he chose to change his perspective. Instead of looking at himself as a victim, he looked at himself as an adventurer in a foreign country.
In both cases, notice that both situations can be viewed negatively. But Santiago chose to look at them differently. Instead of of the negative, he looked for the positive. It is all about the mindset.
3. Follow your Dreams
Ever since Santiago was a child, he wanted to travel the world. His parents wanted him to become a priest. Rather than adhering to his parents’ wishes, he summoned enough courage to talk to his dad to tell him that he wants to do something else in life. Instead of becoming a priest, Santiago decided to become a shepherd so he can travel.
That’s the problem with most of us. We become victims of other people’s definition of success. We follow a different path because that is what our family and society expected from us. As a result, we lost track of our destiny. What used to be very clear when we were young seems to be impossible when we grow up.
The thing is no matter how successful we become with our chosen path, there will always be a feeling of emptiness. You will never be truly happy if you are not doing your purpose in life. Destiny is what you always want to accomplish. If you feel that something is lacking despite having everything, that is life’s way of telling you that you are not doing what you were born to do.
Follow your passion. Wherever your heart is, there you will find your treasure. Pursue your destiny if you don’t want to spend the rest of your life with regret.
4. Give 10 Percent
Giving a tenth of your income to others is a form of gratitude to God for all the blessings that we have received. We have an obligation to share a portion of what we have. The only way for us to receive more blessings is when we learn to give first. Don’t promise to give what you don’t have yet. If it is hard for you to give when you have little, it will be harder to share when you have more. Give 10% of what you have right now.
5. The Simplest Things in Life are the Most Extraordinary
The secret to happiness is to be able to appreciate the beauty of your day to day life. It is seeing the wonders of the world and the beauty of the little things that we normally take for granted like the flowers, the scenery and the people around us.
Happiness is never about the destination but rather it is about enjoying the journey. Each day matters. Every second counts. Learn to love everyday. Show the people around you how much you care. It’s all about mindfulness.
Towards the end of our life, the simple things like the time we spend with our family is what truly matters. True happiness boils down to the quality of our relationship with others. It is best that you cherish every moment while you still can.
6. Negative Things Happen in Life Because They Prepare our Spirit and our Will
Bad things happen to everyone, even to good people. These things happen not because we are being punished but because they are necessary for our growth. The pain that we experience in our lives actually prepares our spirit and our will in realising our destiny.
The road to the fulfilment of our dreams is never easy. There will be bumps along the way. Sometimes, we will be forced to make detours. We need to make some adjustments but the destination remains the same. The important thing is to keep on going forward. Once we have succeeded in overcoming life’s challenges, we become better persons.
You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something – your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever.– Steve Jobs
The roadblocks that we will encounter are all part of a master plan. They all happened for a reason. It is difficult to understand at the moment but everything will make sense once you have found your treasure.
7. When you Want Something, All the Universe Conspires in Helping you Achieve it
Have you heard of The Secret? The Secret is actually the Law of Attraction. It states that if you really want something and you focus your thoughts on that, the universe will give it to you.
This belief system has been mentioned several times throughout the book, that there is a force out there that guides us. Whether you call it God, the Universe or the Soul of the World; that force is always nearby especially to those who wants to realise their destinies.
We should learn to recognise the omens or the signs and follow them. Sometimes, it appears as a solution or an idea. Sometimes, it presents itself as a direct message from somebody whom you are having a conversation with. Remember, there is no such thing as coincidence. There is a reason why you bumped into an old friend or why you are reading this article right now. We have to listen to what the universe is telling us. We also need to listen inward to our intuition.
In the same way, that if you think that the world is out there to get you, negative things will start happening your way. Thus, you have to be careful of what you think and what you say. In the story, when the monk told the alchemist that his payment goes well beyond his generosity; the alchemist quickly told the monk not to say it because life is listening. What the alchemist meant was that the universe responds to thoughts; thus, the monk might receive less next time.
8. Persistence is the Key
The road to our destinies is never easy. Only those who are persistent will be successful.
There were numerous times when Santiago could have just given up, when he lost everything in Africa, when he had enough money to go back to Andalusia after working for the merchant or when he met Fatima in the desert oasis; but still he persevered.
Your treasure can only be uncovered after a series of tests. The closer you get to your dreams, the harder it will become. It takes a lot of courage, patience and persistence to finally be able to achieve your destiny.
9. Success Happens Outside your Comfort Zone
Santiago was already traveling as a shepherd boy but he sold his flock of sheep to go to Africa. After a year in Africa, he already earned enough money to either stay there or to go back to Andalusia but he chose to go to the desert. While in the desert oasis, Santiago had met the love of his life and earned the respect of the community but still, he opted to continue his quest for the treasure.
In all three scenarios, Santiago was already successful and comfortable with his life but he gave them all up to continue his journey and pursue his destiny. Just what do you think would have happened in the story if he decided to stay in his comfort zone. Do you think, he would have found his treasure?
In reality, many people don’t like change or are scared of change. As much as we want to pursue our dreams, we are more scared of disappointment. We are scared that we might lose everything that we have worked for if we are going to start anew. We would rather stay in our comfort zone. This is the reason why people get stuck in life whether it is a bad relationship or a job that they don’t like. Fear is one of the biggest obstacles that is keeping us from achieving our dreams.
10. Everyone has His Own Destiny
If a person is successful in one area, it does not mean that you too will be successful in that same area. It is because each person has his own destiny to fulfil. His way is not the same as yours. So, don’t compare yourself with others.
No matter who we are, everyone has a central role to play in the history of the world. Each one of us is unique. Embrace your uniqueness. As the Englishman said, we all can’t become alchemist, otherwise, gold will lose its value.
Good luck on your journey and I hope you find your treasure!
First published in Pinoy Smart Living on 08.24.2018
Feature Image from Free Image and mbll from Pixabay Images.