The story began with a young Andalusian shepherd named Santiago, whos recurring dream about a hidden treasure in the Pyramid of Egypt persuades him to seek more in life, and set for a quest to find his very own personal legend.
According to the story, an Alchemist is a mysterious and very powerful being who, through alchemy, can turn metals into gold. Alchemist is said to spend so much time close to the fire that purified metals that they gradually gave up the vanities of the world which resulted in the purification of themselves.
There is so much to learn from this book so let’s get started.
#1 THE SECRET TO HAPPINESS
The story goes that a young boy seeks the counsel of the wisest man on earth about the secret to happiness.
Instead of a direct answer, the Wiseman simply asked the boy to take a stroll around his palace and to come back to him after 2 hours. The boy obliged but before he left the Wiseman handed him a teaspoon with 2 drops of oil in it. The goal is to come back to him with no oil spilling out of the spoon. In his return, the Wiseman asked the boy if he has seen the magnificent gardens or any of the beauty found only in his palace. Embarrassed, the boy confessed that he sees none. The Wiseman sent the boy for another stroll but this time asked him to observe, enjoy and to truly explore the palace. With this new goal in mind, the boy had a wonderful time discovering beauty after beauty, however, this time the boy spilled the oil.
The Wiseman told him:
“Well there is only one piece of advice I can give you’ said the wisest of the wise men. ‘The secret of happiness is to see all the marvels of the world, and never forget the drops of oil on the spoon”
Have you been too occupied by a dream, a goal or a career that you forgot to relax, to play a little, and to enjoy life?
Are you too busy or distracted by the world around you that you forgot your dreams, your purpose, and your responsibilities?
#2 SECURITY vs PERSONAL LEGEND
Paulo Coehlo (author) strongly portrayed how important the sheep are to Santiago’s life and selling them to start his quest is no easy task.
Here I am, between my flock and my treasure, the boy thought. He had to choose between something he had become accustomed to and something he wanted to have.
The excerpt above is a dilemma that is very common in our generation. How many times have we asked ourselves if this job we’re trading your precious time with is really worth it? How many times did we let an opportunity passed us by because of complacency and fear of uncertainty?
Santiago eventually pursued his dream but time and time again his perseverance and faith were tested.
He is barely making any progress in his quest when in Tangier, he got robbed of all the money he got from selling his sheep. How cruel is that!? All he wanted is to pursue his dream and what he had in return is a tragedy that caused him his life’s work.
In order to get by, he works for a local crystal shop where he learns a lot in the art of business. After earning a decent amount of money Santiago is again faced with a threat far worse than the robbery. A seed is starting to take root in his mind, an idea that questions his intention to continue his quest. Santiago wants to stop searching for his treasure and with his new earned money he thought of getting back to Spain, buying a flock of sheep and abandoning his personal legend.
Through the story of unfulfilled personal legend to Mecca of the crystal merchants that hires Santiago, he learned that not all people realized their dreams the same way and that he must continue with his quest.
But the greatest force that almost stops Santiago from getting into the pyramid and his treasure was Fatima, a beautiful lady from the desert oasis of Al-Fayoum.
At that moment, it seemed to him that time stood still, and the Soul of the World surged within him. When he looked in to her dark eyes, and saw that her lips were poised between a laugh and silence, he learned the most important part of the language that all the world spoke—the language that everyone on earth was capable of understanding in their heart. It was love.
Several pages later, Fatima confessed:
I have been waiting for you here at this oasis for a long time. I have forgotten about my past, about my traditions, and the way in which men of the desert expect women to behave. Ever since I was a child, I have dreamed that the desert would bring me a wonderful present. Now, my present has arrived, and it’s you.
The two fell in love with each other but Fatima’s personal legend is not in Egypt. This brings a huge conflict in Santiago’s heart:
One day, Fatima tells Santiago that she has been waiting for him her entire life, but insists that he continue on to Egypt after the war to pursue his Personal Legend. She says if they are meant to be together, they will meet again.
This same love is what sustains Santiago in the rest of the adversities he encounters thereafter. How many stories have you heard of someone not reaching his/her best potential because of a wrong partner in life? And how many people have become successful in honor and appreciation of their partner in life?
#3 WHEN YOU WANT SOMETHING, ALL THE UNIVERSE CONSPIRES IN HELPING YOU ACHIEVE IT.
This is the main lesson that caused me a shift of paradigm and resonated with my soul. And my challenge is for you to join me in finding, using whatever it takes, the meaning behind those words.
If we really want to know the truth, the universe is there backing our every move.