The Alchemist x Paulo Coelho

I come back and re-read this book each year, finding something new in every pass. Here are my highlights.


Advice is often not autobiography. Advice is handed out as one desires their outcomes to be. Few can walk in another man’s shoes.

“When someone sees the same people every day, they wind up becoming a part of that person’s life. And then they want the person to change. If someone isn’t what others want them to be, the others become angry. Everyone seems to have a clear idea of how other people should lead their lives, but none about his or her own.”

Do we possess free-will?

“…at a certain point in our lives, we lose control of what’s happening to us, and our lives become controlled by fate. That’s the world’s greatest lie.”

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

Fake it ‘til you make it?

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

Do you see the world in the way it truly exists, or the way in which you convince yourself you want to see it?

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

When the shopkeeper is brought to the attention of a life of riches and aspirations, he undergoes a painful realization: ignorance is bliss, and awareness to one’s underperformance can spark demotivation towards potential. A paradoxical occurrence where self-awareness sheds light on how far we are from our true potential.

“Every blessing ignored becomes a curse. 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 that I did before you arrived. Because I know the things I should be able to accomplish, and I don’t want to do so.”

Where I struggle is believing I am so far behind my aspirations I will never be able to achieve them.

“People need not fear the unknown if they are capable of achieving what they need and want.”

Then, once I step back and realize we all had to start somewhere, I gain the motivation to begin navigating my uncharted path.

“We make a lot of detours, but we’re always heading for the same destination.”

Reading allows for the exploration into a previously unknown environment without physically being present. Connecting the dots vicariously through each authors experience and understanding.

“It’s only those who are persistent, and willing to study things deeply, who achieve the Master Work.”

Is living in the moment practicing self-awareness, present-ness, or ignorance? When we don’t engage the mind with thoughts of the past or anticipations of the future,  we are truly able to focus on the moment in time.

“Because I don’t live in either my past or my future. I’m interested only in the present. If you can concentrate always on the present, you’ll be a happy man.”

Jealousy Then, once I step back and realize we all had to start somewhere, I gain the motivation to begin navigating my uncharted path.

Haters – negativity without realism.

 “When you possess great treasures within you, and you try to tell others of them, seldom are you believed.”

“If a person is living out his personal legend, he knows everything he needs to know. There is only one thing that makes a dream impossible to achieve: the fear of failure”

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