This post is based on my interpretations of the Alchemist. This book is one of my favorite fictional books. It is very meaningful and it resonates a lot with me. I specifically chose 9 quotes that had the most impact on me.
“How did you learn to read?” the girl asked at one point.
“Like everybody learns,” he said. “In school.”
“Well, if you know how to read, why are you just a shepherd?”
The way I interpreted this was, “If you have so much potential, why don’t you do more with your life?”
Deep down, I feel like we can all accomplish more than we think. But most of us just wants to get to a comfortable point, and then we stop. We stop because perhaps we’re satisfied. Or maybe, it’s good enough.
If I became a monster today, and decided to kill them, one by one, they would become aware only after most of the flock had been slaughtered, thought the boy. They trust me, and they’ve forgotten how to rely on their own instincts, because I lead them to nourishment.
The boy was originally a shepherd. Each day, he would lead his flock to a field so they could eat. But he realized that the sheep had no idea if he ever took a different route. The sheep doesn’t notice any of the changes (if he tries to do something new) The sheep just aimlessly followed him…because they only wanted food and water.
What are you willing to sacrifice for food and water?
“Well, he thought about that,” the old man said. “But bakers are more important people than shepherds. Bakers have homes, while shepherds sleep out in the open. Parents would rather see their children marry bakers than shepherds.”
Certainty is very important. We want to know that we’re going to be ok. If we take a riskier route and the future is unknown, the risk might not be worth it. Sometimes, you have to sacrifice your dreams in exchange for stability.
That morning he had known everything that was going to happen to him as he walked through the familiar fields. But now, as the sun began to set, he was in a different country, a stranger in a strange land, where he couldn’t even speak the language. He was no longer a shepherd, and he had nothing, not even the money to return and start everything over.
There are huge risks if you choose to follow your dreams. The main character in the story got scammed and lost all his money on the first day of his journey to Egypt. He regretted his decision because he took such a huge gamble.
How much can you afford to lose?
The merchant laughed, “Even if you cleaned my crystal for an entire year…even if you earned a good commission selling every piece, you would still have to borrow money to get to Egypt. There are thousands of kilometers of desert between here and there.”
Reality hit. If he really wanted to go to Egypt, it might take him years. Would he ever get there? Was it even worth it?!?!
“I don’t much like change,” he said. “You and I aren’t like Hassan, that rich merchant. If he makes a buying mistake, it doesn’t affect him much. But we two have to live with our mistakes.”
Sometimes, the risks are just too high. You can’t afford to lose what you have.
“I’m already used to the way things are. Before you came, I was thinking about how much time I had wasted in the same place, while my friends had moved on, and either went bankrupt or did better than they had before. It made me very depressed. 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.”
Sometimes, we just want to remain in our comfort zone. We might not see or experience new things; but it’s safe, controllable, and predictable.
Can you deal with change?
“My heart is a traitor,” the boy said to the alchemist, when they had paused to rest the horses. “It doesn’t want me to go on.”
“That makes sense,” the alchemist answered, “Naturally it’s afraid that, in pursuing your dream, you might lose everything you’ve won.”
Do you have dreams? If so, what are they? How much do they mean to you?
If you look back at your life when you’re 80, would you regret your choices?
“When I have been truly searching for my treasure, I’ve discovered things along the way that I never would have seen had I not had the courage to try things that seemed impossible for a shepherd to achieve.”
Are you searching for anything? A lot of things may initially seem like an impossible dream or mission. But if you never try, you’ll never know.
If I hadn’t tried translating, I would never be at 800k views today. This year, I’m going to hit a million. And who knows how many more millions I will hit?
As long as I keep going, there is no limit.
I hope you enjoyed this post! These are just my interpretations. I’m not trying to tell anyone what to do with their lives. I want you all to make your own choices and stand by them.
All I want is for you to live with no regrets.