What I’m Reading: The Alchemist

Sitting on the airplane bound for Charleston, I cracked open a new copy of The Alchemist. A story about a personal journey, this book has resonated with me for a few years. I read it in the early stages of opening the salon and it gave me a needed dose of courage and understanding of failure. The entire premise of this story is that God and the Universe have conspired to give each of us a personal legend and its up to us to follow the omens to figure out what that journey is. We also need to overcome the obstacles that often keep each of us from our personal journey.

Now, I will be upfront and say that I do not believe in an all knowing and all controlling deity. I do, however, believe that there may be some force that shapes the universe. Some people call that force God, some fate, and some have constructed scientifically based theories like String Theory to explain the one question that all of mankind is currently unable to answer. This book doesn’t give the answer but it does put out there that it may be that we are all here to fulfill our personal legend.

I don’t want to give away the story, but I do want to address finding our personal legends in today’s world. With so many options and dreams out there it is unsurprisingly hard for many people to find their passion. Should you become a horse rancher or a neurosurgeon or a pilot? As children we all have a truthful yet romantic view of what we want in our life, what our personal legend could be. How many of us dreamed of walking on the moon or being an explorer but today we are accountants or spend our working hours in a cubicle.

I know I always wanted to be Indiana Jones. I wanted to find treasures and be chased in dangerous caverns and experience the exhilaration of life. To this day I crave a beat up Mercedes G-class pummeling through the desert dunes with a revolver on my hip and  a treasure in my sights. Slightly childish, yes, but it’s been my dream to see the world and its beauties. Today I know I can’t just walk into a temple and take that jeweled mask, but I can take the sights and the memories and keep them in my heart’s treasure chest.

Some people crave adventure and some people believe they are meant to write a great novel. Some wander the earth and others are content to never leave their homes. We all have a legend to fulfill but as The Alchemist will teach you, half the battle is the first step. There are always roadblocks and hurdles but by then you’ve already accepted your legend.

Part of the problem is that we can never force a legend upon someone else. You have to chose on your own to persevere and build toward the goal you have for your life. That isn’t to say you shouldn’t expect or accept help along the way. Quite the opposite actually. If your sister wants to be a Broadway star, and sees that as her life’s ambition, it’s your duty to do what you can to help her along the journey. After all, she may be the one who will help you reach yours in turn.

A book and its ideas won’t change the course of today’s world but maybe it can shine a little light on your own heart. What is it that you dream of? Is it time to pursue your legend? We can create innumerable excuses and reasons for not following our heart’s desires. Even with that mountain overshadowing us, it will only take one voice, one step to start the climb.

Learn the secrets of The Alchemist, learn the language of the Universe, learn how to pursue your personal legend. Maybe that’s the meaning of life.

You can purchase this book on Amazon here:

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