What Paulo Cohelo’s ‘The Alchemist’ Taught Me

It is a rare thing for answers from the universe to be delivered to you by hand, but sometimes; it really is that simple.

Sometimes, the direction you’ve been looking for comes in the simplest of actions. No grand acts, no thunder or lightning because for all its grandeur, creation at its core, is that simple.

And I’ve discovered that one of those ways is for a book to be so simply handed from one hand to another. A simple act of sharing from sibling to sibling.


That book was ‘The Alchemist’ and a month ago, as I was sitting on my couch working on my laptop, my sister walked up to me and said, “Hey look what I bought in my school flea market for a dollar-fifty…”

Like the books main theme about following your destiny I looked at it and thought to myself for some reason that I really needed to read it immediately. I had seen it so many places but I just never knew when the right time was to pick it up.

And like its protagonist Santiago, I too was put on a journey that felt symbolically like that of the book. A simple shepherd boy who had sought to find out the meaning of a recurring dream of treasure.

But of course, the destination was never the prize, it was who he had to transform into during the journey that was of true importance.

Therein unveiling the concept of alchemy to the boy. (An ancient mystic art of transforming metals to gold in-case you didn’t wikipedia that already).


Like Santiago, like me, and like all the people who have chosen to follow the calling from within and for those contemplating these choices I’ve come to a realization of a few things which I narrowed into four quick points

1.  The Goal is never really the Goal

Yes. It isn’t. You aren’t doing what you’re doing because you want to be a doctor, yoga instructor, policeman or lawyer. There is something beyond that drives what you’ve chosen to follow. And a lot of times that meaning will not be unveiled to you till much later.

It’s not the journey of the body but the journey of the soul and what it needs to be put through to help in its realization of the life themes it has chosen to explore.

2.  Following your destiny, inspires others to follow theirs.

On his journey to lost treasure, Santiago meets the owner of a crystal-ware shop who has lose the lustre in his life. As he works for him, cleaning the crystals and making inspired changes, there is a change of energy sparked in the merchant. The thing about energy, is that it’s pretty damn contagious. Speak about something passionately! Because that’s who you are. You can’t force people to care about what you think is important. When you do something you love it shows. And people are drawn to, and inspired by it. I’ve now met so many people who have been so encouraging towards my journey when they ask what is I’m doing.

“They understood that when something evolves, everything around that thing evolves as well.”

And the beautiful thing about that is they’ll tell you and that in turn will inspire you to move through your journey.


3.  There will be tests

The journey that you may choose to go on is almost never as straight forward as it appears. What could start as a small 3 month project could span years. And you’ll want to quit sometimes because of the challenges faced. You could be beaten down, you could get robbed, and you might even have to leave loved ones. But if it’s really your pot of gold (and everyone has one by the way. For those of you wondering how selfish it is to follow a pot of gold, it comes in all forms and shapes and I think lucky are those who discover it in this lifetime) a part of you compels you to carry on.

The part of you that won’t allow you to give up. It’s the very heart of who you are and it will push you through. In fact, the tests aren’t there to test your worthiness as much as they are there to refine you for what’s ahead.

4.  You look for the deeper meaning in everything

What is the deeper meaning of things? Is it the mystical language of the world? The immerse still beauty? Unconditional love? I’m not going to delve deeply and try to define the feeling. All I know is that you’ll definitely sense it as you do the things you love (Though sometimes when the road gets treacherous these feelings seem like they’ve escaped you) and you’ll feel in that alignment that a veil has parted for you where there is always an air of excitement.

I think everyone comes to the cross roads of their destiny at many a point and are forced to make a decision as the road forms a fork.

And so as the book has taught me, “We are afraid of losing what we have, whether it’s our life or our possessions and property. But this fear evaporates when we understand that our life stories and the history of the world were written by the same hand.” Ain’t that just beautiful?

And so it is written.