I should have read this a while ago – The Alchemist

the_alchemistThere is only one thing that makes a dream impossible to achieve: the fear of failure – The Alchemist

In preparation for my upcoming stay at the Shōganji Zen Retreat in Japan I asked them if there is anything I should read before hand.  Not wanting me to cloud my head with thoughts before my stay Pierre told me not to worry about reading anything before my stay (or as Pierre put it “There is nothing you need to be or know before you arrive.”)

However a short time later I get an email: “Actually, Paulo Cohelo’s The Alchemist just popped to mind…”

Looking the book up it seemed right up my alley – for those that don’t know it’s a story of a simple Shepard who yearns to travel.  He has dreams of a far away treasure and is inspired to uproot himself and travel to the unknown to find this treasure.  He has many trials and tribulations along the way and meets and is helped by many characters.

The Alchemist has many great lessons and quotes so here are some of my favorites:

It’s this: that at a certain point in our lives, we lose control of what’s happening to us, and our lives become controlled by fate. That’s the world’s greatest lie

There is more truth to this one quote then most people recognize.  I’ve lost count on how many times I’ve heard about people being “stuck” in some situation or another.  They are “stuck” in a job or city they don’t like.  The Alchemist is right, it truly is the world’s greatest lie.  No matter the situation, there is always an alternative.  Finding it may be a challenge – but it always exists.

Tell your heart that the fear of suffering is worse than the suffering itself.  And that no heart has ever suffered when it goes in search of its dreams

I try to embody this quote more and more in my every day life.  I tell my friends we only live once – why let the fear of failure get in between you and your dreams?  At the very least you can be satisfied knowing you failed trying for what you loved rather then kicking yourself years from now wishing you had tried in the first place.

That’s what alchemist do.  They show that, when we strive to become better than we are, everything around us becomes better, too

One should always strive to embetter themselves.  By doing so you will give inspiration to others to do the same.  It can be as simple as reading a book, reading the opposing viewpoint of a topic you are passionate about, or just simply stopping and listening.

I was happy Pierre suggested I read the Alchemist.  It was a wonderful book filled with many thoughtful quotes.  I would recommend it for anyone to read.

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