book reviews

The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho – Guest Review

What are the treasures that life holds for us? Is there a fixed path predetermined for everyone? Do we know what we are destined to do? What is the greater plan that we’re supposed to partake in? Do we even have a choice? The life we’re living, was it meant to be the way it is? Do we know what our heart desires? And if we do, are we brave enough to pursue it?

A wonderful thing happens when you start reading positive, inspirational, and motivational readings and books. The infamous Amazon recommendation engine plays it’s part and starts recommending more. It should be no surprise then that an inspirational classic showed up in my Amazon recommendations – The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho. Despite adding it to my reading list at some point during the second half of 2018, I decided to make it a priority for 2019.

I enjoyed the storyline, but that’s not the focus of this book. The primary point is about pursuing your dreams, or your “Personal Legend” as Coelho calls it. I discovered an excellent post on Paulo Coelho’s blog which summarizes 10 Powerful Life Lessons in the book, but for now, below are my three personal favorites which I took away from it.

1. As a good friend recently told me, life is about “progress, not perfection”. Rarely do things in our life go exactly according to plan. We have to be comfortable realizing that life isn’t a journey to perfection. The sooner we realize it, the easier it becomes for us to make progress towards our goals and dreams. If we remain focused on the end goal, we may not get there according to our plan, but at least we’ll make progress towards it. As we make progress, we will learn and grow. We will come across new ideas and opportunities. At the end of the day, we may never reach our intended goal. In fact, it’s possible we may reach even higher heights. The point is, ultimately, we need to have the courage to take that first step and be confident we will eventually end up in a better place.

2. The fun of following your dream is in the journey, not in reaching the destination. Sometimes, reaching the destination can be anti-climactic, or even a letdown. It’s all the small things occurring along the journey that we remember and appreciate for years to come.

3. While chasing our dreams, it’s important we pay attention and are ready to act when opportunities and signs are presented to us. For whatever reasons, we tend to wait for things to happen for us when the answers are, in fact, right in front of us; if we would only act on them. Things rarely happen when we are passive in our approach to life. When we act, opportunities open up and are presented to us.

If I were to summarize The Alchemist, it’s a book about pursuing your dreams. As Paulo points out, we all are, or should be, in search of our “Personal Legend”. Some of us decide to go after it, while some sit back as life passes them by. For those who take the chance on pursuing their dream, they may not achieve it, but they’ll certainly finish in a different place than where they started. As I mentioned above, the pleasure is in the journey, not in reaching the destination. The sooner we realize this life lesson, the more content we will be as we go through our lives.

~ Writing in the Fast Lane thanks Rachel Barber for sharing her review of The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho. To learn more on what she does, pop over here and take a peak.~

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