*SPOILER ALERT: if you intend to read this book, read it first, then come back to my post!*
It’s been a while since I’ve read anything for pleasure.
I nearly thought I lost the ability to read for fun when I remembered that I bought a book 2 years ago that I STILL have not finished yet to this day.
After a two-year drought of reading for leisure, I went to a local bookstore and picked up The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho.
I was SO excited to read it that I finished the book not in two years but in TWO DAYS. Apparently, the 12-year old girl in me who always had her nose in a new book every week is still there somewhere.
I don’t exactly know why I was so drawn to this specific book. Out of all the books in the world, I picked this one as if it was calling out my name.
For a brief summary:
The Alchemist follows a shepherd named Santiago in Andalusia, Spain. After dreaming of finding a treasure in the Egyptian pyramids, he embarks on a journey that leads him to cross paths with a Gypsy woman, a king, and an alchemist, who all play a role in helping him get closer to achieving his dream of finding the treasure.
In the end, he realises that the treasure was found in the very place that he begun his journey: right at home. Yet the journey mattered far more than the destination.
I love this book.
So does Will Smith, Madonna, Pharrell Wiliams, Oprah, and most importantly, my Grade 12 English teacher. I guess you could say, I’m in good company 😉.
I’ve compiled a list below of my favourite quotes from the book and how they relate to me – a perpetual dreamer and believer in trusting the universe:
- “And, when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.” After high school, I didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life. 4 years later, I’m studying at a bilingual campus while working as a student blogger/web assistant/ambassador and studying something that I actually enjoy (Psychology & Linguistics). I didn’t even know Glendon existed when I was in high school, but in hindsight, it’s exactly what I needed. I knew the universe was behind it, working its mysterious magic because I ended up at here by accident.
- “There is only one thing that makes a dream impossible to achieve: the fear of failure.” The fear of failure is all-too-familiar with many of us but you simply can’t let it stop you. Be it something as exciting as going on exchange, giving a presentation, or taking a class that challenges you. Who knows, when you get too close to the edge, you might just end up flying instead of falling (no, please don’t take that literally)
- “Remember that wherever your heart is, there you will find your treasure.” We are in our element when we create from our heart. I believe that we all have a desire to create. When we don’t nourish that inherent need, we fall on the dangerous path of excess consumption. I’m a big fan of simplicity and minimalism as it creates more room for what really, truly matters.
- “I don’t live in either my past or my future. I’m interested only in the present. If you can concentrate always on the present, you’ll be a happy man. Life will be a party for you, a grand festival, because life is the moment we’re living now.” I’ll be the first to admit that I’m rarely ever savouring the present moment. I’m constantly thinking of my past and being overwhelmed by my future. But the present is all we ever really have, so we should appreciate every second of it. Staying grounded and paying close attention to how we’re feeling now is the way to live. Just breathe and be.
- “When each day is the same as the next, it’s because people fail to recognize the good things that happen in their lives every day that the sun rises.” It’s the little things, really. A smile from a stranger, a delicious cup of tea/coffee, my warm bed…the list goes on and on. There’s beauty everywhere. You just have to look closer.
- “You will never be able to escape from your heart. So it’s better to listen to what it has to say.” Your heart is the key. It will never betray you. What betrays you is your interpretation of what it’s trying to tell you. Amidst all the distractions, you know exactly what you’re supposed to be doing deep down inside. Just listen.
- “If you start by promising what you don’t even have yet, you’ll lose your desire to work towards getting it.” This goes with the whole “rewarding yourself before you get stuff done” thing. Rewarding yourself ahead of time is rarely effective, just as you probably shouldn’t catch up on the next episode of The Mindy Project before doing your assignments (Yes, I’m clearly projecting). In short, stay humble. There’s no sense in promising what you don’t have yet.
And that’s your daily dose of wisdom for today. I hope you read this beautiful work of art. Let me know what you think!