The Alchemist: let your heart lead you to your dream

It is a tiny book written by Paulo Coelho that has been popular ever since it came out in 1988. It tells a story of a boy following his dream to the Egypt Pyramids to find his treasure. On his way, he has learnt how to follow his heart and have it lead him to his destination.

It is a story about personal growth. Everyone can relate the journey of the boy to his own path. The boy was courageous. He chose to be a shepherd because he wanted to explore the world. He didn’t want to settle at such a young age. Most importantly, there was nothing yet to hold him back. His recurrent dream about the treasure seems to be his original motivation for going to the Pyramids . But it indeed comes from his character.

Making a decision is just the start of doing one thing. The boy encountered a lot of difficulties, but the old man, the King of Salem, said: “When you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.” These words inspired him to fight until the last moment. It was the curiosity of the unknown and the need for money to marry the daughter of the merchant that pushed the boy to the expedition. But as time went by, he discovered more and more about himself. He accumulated wealth, and more importantly, wise. He came to know the existence of a universal language: enthusiasm for your dream. He was able to bear the boring life of a crystal salesman, and the tough journey across the desert. He became more proactive. He devised effective marketing methods of exhibition boxes and tea tasting. But he didn’t forget that his ultimate goal was to find his treasure.

An essential part of growing up is to build up confidence. “People need not fear the unknown if they are capable of achieving what they need and want.” It is by stretching ourselves out of our comfort zones that we develop new abilities to fit the environment.

Growing up is also about making decisions on your own. The old man gave the boy two stones to help him make his decisions. Fortunately, he rarely used them. The stones were more of a blessing than a direct solution to him. He knew that power was with him, and therefore he believed his decisions were right. If we are to explore a bigger world, there will certainly be a time, or many times, that we can rely on no one to help us make a decision. Family is far away, and friends are not as familiar as before. We are on a new journey, on our own. All the qualities that we have developed will be tested.

The book also casts light on a broader sense of love. Fatima loved the boy, but she let him go. Not only because she was woman from the desert. She knew that being loved was already a blessing. She wanted the boy to pursue his own dream and be happy. She chose not to be a barrier.

As I was reaching the end of the novel, whether the boy found the treasure became less important. It is the process of chasing his dream that has taught the boy to appreciate the beauty of life, and to fully utilize his potential. “It’s the possibility of having a dream come true that makes life interesting.” I cannot agree more.

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