10 lessons I learned from The Alchemist

Published by Madeleine on

Upon finishing The Alchemist a few weeks ago I was left with a sense of fortitude. At its heart, The Alchemist is a book about working relentlessly to achieve your dreams despite whatever barriers might come your way. And Paulo Coelho certainly has a way with putting feelings into words and inspiring a sense of determination in his readers.

“And, when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you achieve it.” page 24

The book is easy to read and yet it’s rare to finish a page without stopping and reflecting on a simple yet profound sentence or two. As such, I put together a list of 10 lessons I learned from The Alchemist and the lines that taught them to me. Hopefully, they will inspire you to achieve your goals as well (and maybe even convince you to give the book a read!).

10 Lessons from The Alchemist

1. Appreciate the ordinary in everyday life

“It’s the simple things in life that are the most extraordinary; only wise men are able to understand them.” page 17

“…for her, every day was the same, and when each day is the same as the next, it’s because people fail to recognise the good things that happen in their lives every day that the sun rises.” page 30

“Every blessing ignored becomes a curse,” page 60

“You don’t even have to understand the desert: all you have to do is contemplate a simple grain of sand, and you will see in it all the marvels of creation.” page 131

“Because a grain of sand is a moment of creation, and the universe has taken millions of years to create it.” page.135

2. Look at the world and the opportunities it gives you, with the same wide-eyed optimism as a child

“The boy didn’t know what a person’s “Personal Legend” was.
“It’s what you have always wanted to accomplish. Everyone, when they are young, knows what their Personal Legend is. At that point in their lives, everything is clear and everything is possible. They are not afraid to dream, and to yearn for everything they would like to see happen in their lives. But, as time passes, a mysterious force begins to convince them that it will be impossible for them to realise their Personal Legend.” pages 23-24

3. Don’t think you aren’t capable of achieving your goals. You are.

“He never realised that people are capable, at any time in their lives, of doing what they dream of.” page 25

“The boy felt jealous of the freedom of the wind, and saw that he could have the same freedom. There was nothing to hold him back except himself.” page 31

4. The most rewarding things often come at great risk & difficulty (but don’t let this scare you)

“A shepherd always takes his chances with wolves and with draught, and that’s what makes his life exciting.” page15

“Don’t give into your fears,” said the alchemist, in a strangely gentle voice. “If you do, you won’t be able to talk to your heart.” page146

“In his pursuit of the dream, he was being constantly subjected to tests of his persistence and courage. So he could not be hasty, nor impatient.” page 92

“Every search begins with beginner’s luck. And every search ends with the victor’s being severely tested.”
The boy remembered an old proverb from his country. It said that the darkest hour of the night came just before the dawn.” page137

“There is only one thing that makes a dream impossible to achieve: the fear of failure.” page146

5. Don’t be afraid of change

“Here I am, between my flock and my treasure, the boy thought. He had to choose between something he had become accustomed to and something he wanted to have.” page 30

“Now, I can see that it hasn’t been too bad. The shop is exactly the size I always wanted it to be. I don’t want to change anything, because I don’t know how to deal with change. I’m used to the way I am.” page 60

“I don’t want anything else in life. But you are forcing me to look at wealth and at horizons I have never known. Now that I have seen them, and now that I see how immense my possibilities are, I’m going to feel worse than I did before you arrived. Because I know the things I should be able to accomplish, and I don’t want to do so.’ page 60

The Alchemist on flowers  The Alchemist Back Cover 2

 6. When something feels heavy and burdensome, don’t forget when it was also helpful and light

“It was the time of day when all of Spain slept during the summer. The heat lasted until nightfall, and all that time he had to carry his jacket. But when he thought to complain about the burden of its weight, he remembered that, because he had the jacket, he had withstood the cold of the dawn.” page 10

7. Know yourself & your heart

“You must always know what it is that you want,” the old king had said.” page 58

 “He had worked for an entire year to make a dream come true, and that dream, minute by minute, was becoming less important. Maybe because that wasn’t really his dream.” page 66

“Listen to your heart. It knows all things…” page 132

“Treason is a blow that comes unexpectedly. If you know your heart well, it will never be able to do that to you. Because you’ll know its dreams and wishes, and will know how to deal with them.” page 134

“You will never be able to escape your heart. So it’s better to listen to what it has to say. That way, you’ll never have to fear an unanticipated blow.” page 134

“The boy continued to listen to his heart as they crossed the desert. He came to understand its dodges and tricks, and to accept it as it was.” page 134

“Everyone on earth has a treasure that awaits him,” his heart said. “We, people’s hearts, seldom say much about those treasures, because people no longer want to go in search of them. We speak of them only to children. Later, we simply let life proceed, in its own direction, toward its own fate.” page 135

“So, we, their hearts, speak more and more softly. We never stop speaking out, but we begin to hope that our words won’t be heard: we don’t want people to suffer because they don’t follow their hearts.”
“Why don’t people’s hearts tell them to continue to follow their dreams?” the boy asked the alchemist.
“Because that’s what makes a heart suffer most, and hearts don’t like to suffer.” P.136

“From then on, the boy understood his heart. He asked it, please, never top stop speaking to him. He asked that, when he wandered far from his dreams, his heart press him and sound the alarm. The boy swore that, every time he heard the alarm, he would heed its message.” page 136

“The boy and his heart had become friends, and neither was capable now of betraying the other.” page139

“Where you treasure is, there also will be your heart,” the alchemist had told him.” page 164

8. The way you talk to yourself is important

“When I had my sheep, I was happy, and I made those around me happy. People saw me coming and welcomed me, he thought. But now I’m sad and alone. I’m going to become bitter and distrustful of people because one person betrayed me. I’m going to hate those who have found their treasure because I never found mine. And I’m going to hold on to what little I have, because I’m too insignificant to conquer the world.” page 42

“…he realized that he had to choose between thinking of himself as the poor victim of a thief and as an adventurer in quest of his treasure.” page 45

“I’m an adventurer, looking for treasure,” he said to himself.” page 45

9. Your perspective on the world is important too

“I’m like everyone else – I see the world in terms of what I would like to see happen, not what actually does.” page 43

“This wasn’t a strange place, it was a new one.” page 44

“Life will be a party for you, a grand festival, because life is the moment we’re living right now.” page 87

“Most people see the world as a threatening place, and, because they do, the world turns out, indeed, to be a threatening place.” page 135

“…when we strive to become better than we are, everything around us becomes better, too” page155

10. Love. I learned a lot about love.

“You must understand that love never keeps a man from pursuing his personal legend. If he abandons that pursuit, it’s because it wasn’t true love… the love that speaks the Language of the World.” page 124

“One is loved because one is loved. No reason is needed for loving.” page 126

“So, I love you because the entire universe conspired to help me find you.” page126

“If what one finds is made of pure matter, it will never spoil. And one can always come back. If what you found was only a moment of light, like the explosion of a star, you would find nothing on your return.” page 127

“When you are loved, you can do anything in creation. When you are loved, there’s no need at all to understand you, and even men can turn themselves into the wind. As long as the wind helps, of course.” page152

So what are your favourite quotes from The Alchemist? Let us know in the comments!

1 Comment

Kara Whitbread · October 17, 2017 at 8:16 am

This post & blog is amazing!! I love the format of the site and you have a stunning way with words!!!! <3

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