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Life Changing Book – The Alchemist

Inspired by a LinkedIn post by Alok Kejriwal, I have decided to write about a few books that have helped shape my life. I can surely say that these books provided a lot of insights and guidance in doing things that I would not have done otherwise.

The first book that I want to talk about is The Alchemist. Its also special because the circumstances in which I read that book for the first time were weird. I was traveling from Mumbai to Indore, via train, on a Diwali Holiday, without reservation. Any of you who has taken a train from Mumbai (Boriwali) to UP would know how interesting can it be in a general compartment. There were people everywhere. I had picked up the book from my roommates shelf so that I’ll have something to read on the way. Normally, I’d sleep all the way during these train journeys – but once I started reading “The Alchemist”, there was no reason to put it down. I read the book in one sitting, cover to cover, and by the time I was done, I was excited, had a very different view of life, and most importantly, I wanted to read it again!

So far, I may have read the book probably 10 times and heard the audio-book version a few times. Here is a summary and some gems from Paulo Coelho’s The Alchemist.

It’s the possibility of having a dream come true that makes life interesting.

Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist

If you have seen the movie Om Shanti Om (SRK/DPS), you probably remember his saying – “Itni Shiddat se maine tujhe paane ki koshish ki hai, ki saari kaynat ne tujhe mujhse milane ki saajish ki hai…” Those words are a literal translation of the words from Paulo Coelho – “When you really desire something, the whole universe will conspire to help you get it?”. And that, in essence is one of the key messages of the book.

A shepherd boy, desires to find a treasure he has seen in his dreams, and travel across continents, across desert to the pyramids. During his journey, he discovers the treasures hidden withing himself. He learns how life teaches things differently to those who are open to learn. He meets several people on the way – good and bad – and learns from every encounter. He learns the language of the heart, language of the world, language of the heaven – and finds out that they are all but one. Every thing is written by one hand. Everything is written – Maktub. He learns of love, dreams, omens, life, and personal legend.

It is a fable, and everything you read in the book may not be believable – but again, its a story, and its as real as your belief. There is at least one great quote, and one important lesson on every page of the book.

Being independent and open to learning from nature; Being aware of your hearts desires and following them; Going on a journey to find your treasure – realize your dreams; Having courage to try new things and being humble; Facing adversities; Making the best of opportunities; Never giving up; Keeping an open mind; Observing our surroundings and learn from them; …so many lessons to learn from a tiny book.

Few quotes from the book that I loved, and even today, use them to help me when needed.

“When we strive to become better than we are, everything around us becomes better, too.” – This thought has helped me focus on always learning, improving and trying to be better. A 1% increment everyday can bring big changes to your life.

“And, when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.” – This has been said so many times, and in some many books. Its the law of attraction (The Secret). Its the power of burning desire (Think and Grow Rich). Its basically the Why behind every what, how and when you have in your life. And if your Why is not big enough, you will not have motivations to do what and how.

“It’s the possibility of having a dream come true that makes life interesting.”

“When we love, we always strive to become better than we are. When we strive to become better than we are, everything around us becomes better too.”

“One is loved because one is loved. No reason is needed for loving.”

“There is only one thing that makes a dream impossible to achieve: the fear of failure.” and “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, because every second of the search is a second’s encounter with God and with eternity.”

“Remember that wherever your heart is, there you will find your treasure.”

“People are capable, at any time in their lives, of doing what they dream of.”

“If you start by promising what you don’t even have yet, you’ll lose your desire to work towards getting it.”

“To realize one’s destiny is a person’s only obligation.”

“There is only one way to learn. It’s through action. Everything you need to know you have learned through your journey.” – And that is so true. You can read a thousands of books, but until you start taking action, you’ll neither learn, nor achieve something.

“People are afraid to pursue their most important dreams, because they feel that they don’t deserve them, or that they’ll be unable to achieve them.”

“God only rarely reveals the future. When he does so, it is for one reason: it’s a future that was written so as to be altered.”

If you have not read The Alchemist yet, get a copy from your library and ready it. I highly recommend the book.

In summary, you have your personal legend to fulfill. You probably know about this, but are afraid because your heart doesn’t want to get hurt. You don’t want to get out of your comfort zone. You will not be satisfied and happy though, if you don’t take the steps to achieve your dreams. Your heart will remind your of those dreams, but only for a while. If you don’t heed the omens, they’ll stop talking to you. Its your responsibility to take action, go on the journey to discover your personal legend and achieve it. If you have the burning desire to make your dreams come true, the whole universe will make it happen for you!

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