A few summers ago, I read The Alchemist, by Paulo Coelho. In the beginning, I was unsure whether or not I was someone who would enjoy a fictional story that was a complete metaphor for life and its struggles. But, it was an easy read, so I really didn’t have an excuse not to see what it had to offer. After reading the final words, I had learned so much more than I ever imagined and began telling coworkers, friends, family, and anyone who would listen, that they needed to buy the 171-page novel.
The story opens one’s eyes to the true realization that your life – my life – indisputably matters and that we are all meant to do something on this earth, even if we aren’t sure of what that something is yet. Coelho tells his readers to not live in fear of their dreams, but to follow them. Without simply stating it, his magnetic story is written in a way that shows the former, seemingly cliché statements, are true. It reveals that even difficult times unwittingly lead us to where we’re meant to go.
For the purveyors of their life’s path, it is easy find counsel – and possibly answers – embedded in Coelho’s book.
“There is only one thing that makes a dream impossible to achieve: the fear of failure.”
What is success without failure? How can we really appreciate accomplishments in our lives and our careers if we don’t embrace the mishaps and tribulations that got us there? Truthfully, being fearful of failure is a waste of energy. Instead, there is acceptance: acceptance that failure can teach you something and acceptance that hardships will ultimately push you toward your goals. Remembering those points will make easing any anxieties of failure possible.
“And, when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.”
To me, this is about two things: fate and your network. If it’s meant to be, it will be. Belief in that is just the start. Along the way, the people you meet and those who care about you will help you to reach your fate. Although some days it may feel like the universe is against you, keep your focus on your end goal and know that a bumpy path always has a worthy end.
“No matter what he does, every person on earth plays a central role in the history of the world. And normally he doesn't know it.”
We all have our “what is my purpose” days. Where is my place in this world? Should I be aiming for this job or should I be starting my own company? The truth is that there may not be a right answer. There may be many different things that you are supposed to do in your life. No matter which route you choose or opportunity that falls into your lap, you are playing a certain role in someone’s life – and someone else in yours. You are helping the intern with questions he did not even ask, by simply being his teacher. You are saving a client time and frustration with seamless recommendations and hard work. You are a mother who leaves an extra dessert in her child’s lunchbox, initiating a little girl’s smile. We all have our purpose, whether or not we realize it.
“Courage is the quality most essential to understanding the Language of the World.”
Courage. That trait has certainly been a trying one to grasp in my life. I have always held qualities of an introvert, so standing out and seeming “courageous” in my career and in my professional life in general, has been a process. If there is one thing I’ve learned, however, it’s that doing things like agreeing to give a presentation, attending a networking event, and speaking out during meetings, has only rewarded me. The response has always been worth the courage I needed to muster and has continually left me with the answers I was seeking. Staying inside my shell will never open doors for me like courage will. It’s the way of the world. And I have to admit, it’s not wrong.
Although the book takes its reader on a journey through a young boy’s life, leading him to his Personal Legend, it ended with greater purpose. It reminds us that everything the boy went through, or rather everything we go through, may lead to where we are meant to be – but that we cannot be without love.
“…he learned the most important part of the language that all the world spoke-the language that everyone on earth was capable of understanding with their heart. It was love.”
Korbi is a life blogger who uses personal experiences in traveling, running, + everything she’s learned in-between, to compose short stories and extend advice. She hopes to show the career-driven individual, seeking new endeavors in life, that it's possible to find a fulfilling balance.