The Alchemist Summary
- The Alchemist Summary: What is the Alchemist About?
- An Introduction into the Alchemist
- Understanding the Alchemist
- The Alchemist Summary of Obstacles Preventing People from Living their Dreams
- Quotes from the Alchemist
- Insights from the Alchemist
The Alchemist is a metaphorical story of the journey of Santiago, an Andalusian Shephard boy. Santiago believes that a dream which keeps on recurring every time he sleeps under a sycamore tree growing under the ruins of a church is prophetic. He goes ahead and asks a Romani fortune-teller about its meaning. The gypsy woman interprets the dream as prophetic and assures Santiago that he will discover some treasure at the Egyptian pyramids.
While on his journey to the Egyptian pyramids, he meets the King of Salem called Melchizedek. He gives Santiago two stones to consult if he ever needs help interpreting the omens. The king asks him to sell his sheep so that he can travel to Egypt. Against Santiago’s father’s wishes, he sells his flock of sheep and uses the money to go to Africa. The king of Salem introduces the idea of a personal legend. “A personal legend” is what any person has always wanted to accomplish in their lives.
On arrival to Africa, a man pretending to assist Santiago by taking him to the pyramids robs him all the money that Santiago had made from selling his sheep.
Santiago is therefore forced to start another journey of looking for a job to get enough money that would help him fulfill his “personal legend” of going to the pyramids. He gets a job at a crystal merchants shop. After working for a while, Santiago decides to continue with his journey.
Still, while on his journey, Santiago meets an Englishman who has come to search for an alchemist. The Englishman becomes the new companion for Santiago for the remaining part of the journey.
Santiago meets an Arabian lady named Fatima at an Oasis, and he falls in love with her. He further proposes to marry her.
Fatima promises to marry Santiago only if he completes his journey.
Though frustrated by the requirements for marrying Fatima, he later realizes that true love never stops. He also learns that you must not sacrifice your personal destiny to love, if you do so, then it’s not true love.
Santiago also meets a wise alchemist who teaches him how to realize his true self. The Alchemist shares a lot regarding the soul of the world. Together with the Alchemist, Santiago risks a journey through a territory of warring tribes. It is in this part that Santiago is forced to demonstrate his oneness with the “soul of the world.” He does this by turning into a simoom before he is allowed to proceed with the journey.
He is robbed again as he digs within sight of the pyramids but luckily learns that the treasure that he was looking for was in the ruined church where he had his original dream.
The Alchemist is one of the most popular novels to emerge in the past 30 years. Paulo Coelho’sThe Alchemist is a story about the pursuit of happiness.
The story was initially published in the year 1988 in Portuguese.
It was later republished in English in the year 1993. It is among the best-seller novels in the world.
The novel traces the journey of a young Spanish boy called Santiago. Santiago was a Shepherd who is compelled to follow his dream of finding hidden treasure in Egypt.
To find his treasure, he must get out of his comfort zone, learn to trust the “Soul of the World,” and believe that there are forces in the universe that want us to be happy.
In order to get his happiness, Santiago must first discover his purpose in this world, also known as his “Personal Legend.”
He takes his first step, listens to his heart, and overcomes fear.
While on his journey, Santiago experiences hardships but discovers that one should not be dissuaded from pursuing his “Personal Legend,” even if the situation is too painful to bear.
The author assures the reader that the end result of pursuing your “Personal Legend” is a spiritual and physical reward.
The Alchemist is a metaphorical story. In other words, it’s a journey into anyone’s mind.
Even if the Alchemist is a story, it can be a life-transforming book to anyone as everything that we read from the book somehow tell you something about yourself.
Paulo Coelho, the author, is intense and philosophical to the extent of making his readers feel empowered in living to their full potential.
Paulo Coelho makes you want to choose the dreams that you once had as a child and make changes in your life for the better.
The Alchemist book is for anyone interested in rekindling or rediscovering their passion.
From the story, Paulo Coelho brings out four obstacles that prevent people from living their dream lives:
Obstacle 1: We are told from childhood that everything we want to do is impossible
Our parents, relatives, friends, and teachers only teach us how to navigate life.
These people teach us based on their strengths and weaknesses.
However, how to communicate to the outside world usually comes from your internal belief systems and reality, not other people’s facts.
As a child, when someone tells us something, we often take it literally.
Therefore, at a young age, when someone tells us that we can do or be something, we tend to believe it.
Children believe what they are told even without reaching deep within themselves and understanding that it might actually not be true.
Part of the reason why children are like this is that they have not developed their intuition, their ability to connect to vibe, or higher power.
Once children develop this ability, they are able to see their abilities, and what they want to chase; sometimes, it may be contrary to what they were told when young.
In a nutshell, everything that we are told is impossible; really doesn’t have to be impossible.
“Everyone seems to have a clear idea of how other people should lead their lives, but not about his or her own.”
We are always looking around to see how other people are living and to point out their mistakes and flaws.
Sometimes we invest lots of time in checking out other people’s lives instead of working on our lives.
Part of the reason why we do this is because we are afraid to realize our full potential.
We end up teaching the things that we need to learn.
You need to become your own greatest teacher.
You have to first look within yourself, and anytime you feel like you need to tell someone what they should do, ask yourself, “I’m I doing the same also?”
You will most likely find that you are not doing it, or you are not doing it in the magnitude that you should.
Therefore, be more internally focused in the sense that you first look into what you need to do rather than what other people need to do.
“To realize one’s destiny is a person’s only obligation.”
It is through your destiny and purpose that you will find your greatest contribution to the world and yourself. It will make you live the life that you want.
We are all always on the journey of figuring our destiny and purpose.
Some people know their purpose, but most people don’t know their purpose.
As a result, most people waste a lot of time putting their attention on things that do not make them rejuvenated or passionate. This results to lots of tension, resentment, and anger within ourselves, which is then reflected in another person.
We, therefore, need to know that finding our purpose in life is our only obligation.
Once we find our purpose, we need to live it fully.
You have to discover your purpose on your own. Nobody can tell you your purpose.
You may get inspired by videos and books, but at the end of the day, you are the only one who knows what you need to do.
The more you dig deep in what you have to do, the more your feelings will guide you in the right direction.
Most times, the purpose is realized when you first take action and not through dreams.
The more action you take, the more confident you become, and the more you discover refined variations of your destiny.
“Dreams are the language of God.”
When you have a dream and become very passionate about it, then it is your God-given gift or purpose in life.
Dreams are spiritual.
When you embrace and follow your dreams, you will understand the language of God.
“Why do we have to listen to our hearts?” The boy asked, “Because wherever your heart is, that is where you find your treasure.”
Follow your heart because wherever your heart is, that is where your treasure is.
You have to be able to listen to yourself.
Develop yourself as your greatest teacher.
It is essential to learn from others, but it is more important to learn to rely on yourself.
“Not everyone can see their dreams come true in the same way.”
we are all different; therefore, we all have different dreams and purposes in life.
One purpose and one dream is not higher than the other.
Dreams are, therefore, achieved in different processes and strategies.
You have to learn to trust yourself.
“If I can learn to understand the language without words, I can learn to understand the world.”
There is a lot of variations and emotions in life that cannot be expressed in language.
There is a lot of information that cannot be conceptualized.
This is related to the feeling of knowing your purpose, and when someone tries to sway you from the purpose, in later stages of life, you realize that the person was actually not trying to sway you from your purpose, but you were actually being tested.
“Anyone who interferes with the destiny of another thing will never discover his own.”
In earlier stages, we think that we need to control people. We need to tell people what to do, to do it our way because we feel that we can’t get what we want if we didn’t do it that way.
While persuasion and communication are essential, the energy and the intent that drives it is more important.
You do not need to interfere with anybody to get what you want.
You need to be clear on who you are and what your intent is.
When you do so, the people around you will be inspired and be positive to work with you because that’s part of their purpose also.
“Nobody is worth your tears, and the one who is, won’t make you cry.”
Those that appreciate your dream and journey are welcoming and embracing.
If we don’t make people do what we want them to do, we may find ourselves in tears.
It is, therefore, vital that you let people be what they want to be.
It is essential that you advise them, do not be after trying to control them.
“When you want something with your whole heart, that’s when you are closest to the soul of the world. It is always a positive force.”
You will know, and you will feel it when you are in the right direction.
The more you pursue what you want, the more you engage those things, the more passionate and nuanced you get. You will be able to understand the aspects of life that connect to your heart.
Such emotions come in waves, sometimes you are with it, and sometimes you are not. The key is to try and remain in the flow as much as possible by being proactive.
“God has prepared a path for us to follow. We have to read the omens he has left for us.”
A sign is very personal. We need to be aware of the signs.
A sign is a feeling you get when you see something in the external world.
A sign will tell you when you are going in the right direction.
Everyone has different signs, as it is part of a journey as you build your intuitive connection to your purpose.
The more you are able to distinguish between a sign and noise, the more the omens show up.
By following these omens, you accelerate your path on your purpose towards your destiny.
It is important to note that once you achieve your purpose, it elevates to a much higher purpose, and it keeps going higher.
“When you possess great treasures within you and try to tell others, seldom are you believed.”
In earlier stages of life, you had a challenge in explaining and communicating to people; however, in later stages, you may get very eloquent in communication.
The reality is that nobody is going to believe the norms of the treasures within you; it’s only yourself.
Only in later stages in life, once you have performed and become successful, do others begin to recognize you.
However, it shouldn’t be one of the things that you strive for. You shouldn’t do things because you want others to recognize you. You should do things because it’s your purpose and contribution to society.
When people whom we talk to don’t believe us, we feel disempowered and dejected. We feel like we are not valued, and it could discourage us from taking action.
Therefore, don’t go telling people that you see greatness in your life, rather, live it through your actions.
It is from your actions that you will discover that you were for real.
“There’s only one way to learn. It’s through actions. Everything you need to know you have learned through your journey.”
Progress in life comes through action.
There’s so much learning encountered through actions, way beyond the conceptual explanation of them.
Every action you take is more valuable than theory.
This is why people who are not even good at explaining how something is done may be excellent at doing it.
Obstacle 2: We Know What We Want to do, but we are Afraid of Hurting Those Around us by Abandoning Everything in Order to Pursue our Dream
Quotes and Analysis from the Alchemist
“Because true love never keeps a man from pursuing his destiny.”
Your purpose and destiny will enrich you more than anything in this world.
If something you think is ‘love’ holds you back from accomplishing your destiny, then it is not true love.
True love is aligned with your purpose.
When you love someone, and they love you, they want to see you to your happiness and vice versa.
Those that you love should be happy that you are on your purpose. They should support you on your purpose even if they can’t be with you.
Love, therefore, never keeps a man from pursuing his dreams.
“You must understand that love never keeps a man from pursuing his destiny. If he abandons his pursuit, it’s because it wasn’t love.”
“When something evolves, everything around that evolves as well.”
The world is a reflection of how you see and respond to reality.
The more you evolve through the journey and purpose towards your destiny, the more you will start to see things transform around you.
Don’t try to change the external, always focus on improving the internal. When you change the internal, the external also changes.
“Don’t think about what you have left behind.”
Don’t paint your future from your past.
Your past was usually a time of disempowerment.
“Sometimes it’s better to leave things as they are.”
While you are evolving in different aspects of life, such as business, relationships, and so forth, it is good that you realize people evolve in different paces; your goal is not to try and control people.
As much as you may want the best for them, understand that they also have a choice.
So instead of forcing others to be the way you want, it is better if you leave them so that you can also get to evolve to higher levels.
When you rise higher, you will create more value, which will have a spillover effect on them.
“There is only that moment, and the incredible certainty that everything under the sun has been written by one hand, it is the hand that involves love and creates twin soul for every person in the world. Without such love, one’s dreams would have no meaning.”
As we evolve we may find ourselves leaving relationships, business partners, friends, and so forth.
We can love them, and we may be afraid to leave them because we think we may hurt them.
While it is true that to some degree you will hurt them, you will hurt them more if you stay. You will hurt them because you are allowing them to stick to the lower state of your evolution with which you will be resentful.
“Sometimes, there’s just no way to hold back to the river.”
The more you are on purpose, the more you follow your path, and the more actions you take.
That said, you develop a force in nature, which makes you keep moving towards your purpose.
You become harder to stop, and the flow gets stronger and stronger.
“When we love, we always strive to be better than we are. When we strive to become better than we are, everything around us becomes better too.”
Obstacle 3: Fear of the Defeats Which We Will Meet on the Path
Quotes and Analysis from the Alchemist
“The secret is here in the present. If you can pay attention to the present, you can improve upon it. If you can improve upon the present, what comes later will also be better.”
When you are on the journey towards your purpose, you will experience situations that will knock you off.
Most situations can be changed.
Most situations that seem impossible to change can also be altered.
You need to change the situations now so that you can lay a foundation for what shows up later.
If you wait, you will lay yourself back.
The key is to take action immediately.
“Don’t give in to your fears. If you do, you won’t be able to talk to your heart.”
Your purpose and dreams come from your connection with your heart.
If you give in to your fears, you will lose that connection, and you will lose the drive.
You will then find yourself becoming stagnant, upset, and bored.
You, therefore, need to overcome fears that you don’t deserve to avoid losing the connection between your dreams and your heart.
“Before a dream is realized, the soul of the world tests everything that was learned along the way. It does this not because it is evil, but so that we can, in addition to realizing our dreams, master the lessons we’ve learned as we’ve moved towards that dream.”
That’s the point at which most people give up. It’s the point at which, as we say in the language of the desert, one dies of thirst, just when the palm trees have appeared on the horizon.
The more you learn, implement, integrate, and move to higher levels, the more you are going to be tested at a high degree. This is because you need to be worthy of your goal.
Nobody is out there to get you.
If you want to evolve to a higher level of thinking, one where you have more control of your reality, you have to believe that nobody is out there to get you and that anyone you think is out there to get you is just a construct in your mind.
You need to overcome the tests of taking responsibility and using the resources that you have to overcome the battle in your mind first.
Nobody has power over you unless you give them power.
“Learn to recognize omens and follow them.”
Once you become aware of signs, appreciate them and their importance, and take the necessary action, the more tuned you are in being able to find them.
This helps you in stages of your life when you feel discouraged and ask the universe for a sign. You will be able to notice the sign and follow it. Because you followed the sign, another will show up, and before you even notice it, you are back on purpose.
“When you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.”
Wanting something is very spiritual.
The universe will give you the necessary resources to help you achieve it.
“He hadn’t a cent in his pocket, but he had faith.”
In your journey, you’ve got to have faith.
You have to see that there will be a time when you will have to lose lots of things such as money and people.
You have to hold on to the faith that got you started on the journey.
One of the best ways of maintaining faith is by reading books that inspire you.
“When each day is the same as the rest, it’s because people fail to recognize the good things that happen in their lives every day the sun rises.”
We find ourselves in a normal full routine every day because it’s safe. However, days, weeks, and months pass, and nothing changes. You do not evolve. You may even fall back really fast.
You fail to realize that you can change and evolve some aspects of your life to a higher level, and it will require you to think differently and do things differently.
“Give yourself the freedom to try out new things. Don’t be settled in the ways that you cannot grow.”
If you improve on the present, what comes later will also be better.
“Tell your heart that the fear of suffering is worse than suffering itself.”
Most of the times, it’s the fear of doing something that holds us back. But when we take action, it never turns as bad as we thought.
“There’s only one thing that makes a dream impossible to achieve: the fear of failure,”
“The secret of life though is to fall seven times and get up eight times.”
Never give up.
Once you are set, and you know your purpose, and you are following your heart and path, follow it to the end, forever always.
If you do that, your days will be purposeful.
Obstacle 4: The Fear of Realizing the Dream for Which We Fought all Our Lives.
This is known as a success barrier. We fear the success because by getting the success, we may feel like we do not deserve it.
Our self-esteem is so low that we cannot see ourselves having success, even though we want it.
Quotes and Analysis from the Alchemist
“People are afraid to pursue their most important dreams because they feel like they don’t deserve them, or they are unable to achieve them. That’s what the alchemists do. They show that if we strive to be better than we are, everything else becomes better too.”
The whole idea is the ability to change Lead into Gold, and then you will discover the true meaning of life.
Sometimes we may choose a dream, but we do not achieve the dream; however, the journey comes with its blessings, wealth, and success that we couldn’t have imagined if we did not try to change the “Lead into Gold.”
“The boy and his heart became friends, and neither was capable now of betraying each other.”
Throughout your journey, you will experience moments of suffering and loneliness. However, you need to become your own best friend, teacher, and the kind of person who listens to yourself.
In the early stages, you may have to listen to others; however, in later stages as you evolve, you will have to trust your heart.
NB/ This is not about age, but diligence in the journey of learning.
“The simple things are also the most extraordinary things, and only the wise can see them.”
This is about valuing what you already have.
True valuing comes from appreciating the simple things that you have. For example, you’ve got to appreciate the fact that you can breathe, you have food, and so forth.
It is through the appreciation of the simple things that you can tune yourself to omens or signs.
“The closer one gets to realizing his destiny, the more that destiny becomes his true reason for being.”
You get to a point in your journey where your purpose and destiny consumes all your time.
At this point, you enjoy and love what you do; you also get better at it.
All your focus and awareness is on your destiny.
“We have to be prepared for change.”
Change is inevitable.
As you evolve to higher levels in your life, things will change. Relationships and other situations will vary.
You always have to remember that change is part of the process.
You can either be disempowered by the change or you can be empowered and get appreciative of the change.
If you are not empowered by the change, then this will be one of the things that will hold you back.
“No project is completed until all its objectives have been achieved.”
Plan all the way and stick to the plan to the very end.
Your purpose in life is something you chase all the way to the end.
You have not to give up.
You have to hold onto that purpose.
“But if you believe yourself worthy of the thing you fought so hard to get, then you become an instrument of God, you help the soul of the world, and you understand why you are here.”
The insight here is that everything happening is about the purpose of the universe, also known as God, or the soul of the world.
If you work hard to understand the bigger meaning, then the meaning will give you whatever you want in life, and you will be supported by the universe to prosper.
“It is one thing to feel that you are on the right path, but it’s another thing to think that yours is the only path.”
All truths are half-truths.
There are numerous paths to success.
The path that is best is really what’s best for you.
Don’t let anybody tell you otherwise.
Also, be sure to accept the path that everyone else is on, even if it is a path that you do not agree with.
Accepting yourself is the highest priority to you.
1. Live a single persona in your entire life
Approach life with grace and finesse. You don’t have anything to prove to anyone.
When you know that you are on purpose, the right people will be attracted to you.
2. Follow your heart so much that every day is an adventure.
By doing so, you will be more present to the now than living in the past.
3. You always know what you have to do.
You do not need anyone to tell you what to do. Filter what people say based on your purpose.
4. A purposeful life is something that you experience without words.
Most of the time, a purposeful life cannot be theorized.
5. Your self-esteem goes up by the more actions you take on your purpose.
6. Do not talk about it unless it is necessary, be about it and take the necessary action.
7. You have everything you need right now.
You have everything that you need mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually to follow and live your purpose.
NB: Before writing an essay on analysis for any literary work, students must first understand all the writing rules in grammar and punctuation.