This work of wonder was penned by the Brazilian author and lyricist Paulo Coelho in 1988, and went on to become one of the world’s best-selling books in history. Known for his fictional and fantastical storytelling, the novel that is an allegory narrates the the tale of Santiago, a lowly shepherd boy tending to his flock in the hills of Andalusia in Spain and his journey to the pyramids of Egypt after dreaming daily about finding treasure there. The young boy desired more out of life rather than merely tending sheep all day long. Although he enjoyed watching over his flock and herding them, he believed that there was so much more he could be doing to achieve success in his life. He understood that he had more purpose in life and there are treasures that are his to be discovered.
It begins with Santiago having recurrent dreams which he is unable to interpret. Following a meeting with a gypsy, he seems to have an idea as to the interpretation of his dream. Along the way, he meets many different characters such as a king, a ‘woman of the desert’, a shopkeeper and an alchemist, all of whom are placed in his life to teach him valuable lessons.
Simultaneously, the book follows their life journey as they are in search of their own destiny. Santiago decides to embark on this journey of self-discovery, in the hope of reaching his destiny. He travels from his home in Spain, into the markets of Tangiers and embarks on the long trek through the great desert of Egypt. He encounters some encouragements and discouragements along the way, learns a new language, gets entangled in some very sticky situations, makes some friends and meets some thieves. He loses everything during the course of this journey but nevertheless manages to recover all he has lost and gains much more, by simply shifting his attitude and being resilient.
The few words that describe this book are positivity, faith, destiny and strength. How the narrative of your life can be changed, by simply taking the step towards your goals and dreams. Sometimes, we get so caught up in our lives just trying to survive, we forget about our true calling and our dreams take a backseat.
The book resonates with a tone that says only those who truly want to achieve something can, and those who persevere to learn everything they can, certainly will. “There is only one way to learn and that is through converting one's dream into action.” The story, although fictional, explains lucidly how one should take on life and follow his/her dreams. The powerful conversations, the beautiful story settings and the overall philosophical reiterations, make this book an undeniably engrossing read for anyone looking for a great story with profound meaning. “You have everything inside of you to reach your dreams, you only need to follow your heart”
The message from the Alchemist that says “And, when you want something all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it” holds so true in this story as well as in the story of our lives, what doesn’t kill us only makes us stronger. Nothing worth having ever comes easy and it always involves tremendous sacrifices. In the case of the shepherd, he had to sell his beloved flock of sheep in order to pursue his dream.
It must be understood that failure is a stepping stone to success and is a part of the process in the journey of self-discovery towards achieving one’s dream. Ultimately, failure is not an option, the key to becoming the best version of yourself lies in your hands. If you dream it, then you can become it, as in the case of the young boy, you will encounter many obstacles that you didn’t anticipate. However, each obstacle is a stepping stone that presents an opportunity to build on and draw you one step closer towards realizing your dream.
The secret of success is that although you fall seven times, you rise the eighth time. Perseverance and persistence are the key principles for achieving success. The key to happiness and living a fulfilled life is to pursue your dreams passionately with all your heart and to refuse to allow any person or situation to deter you from your goal. The key to happiness is achieving the satisfaction of fulfilling your dream and living your destiny in life.
Dr Talia Carmel is a MBBS graduate of Anna Medical College, Mauritius. Her ambition is to specialise in emergency medicine, invent a unique skincare brand, and break the stereotypes in the medical field. Presently, Dr. Talia is awaiting to serve her two-year internship in one of the hospitals in South Africa. She enjoys finding solutions to people’s health issues and bringing relief to those who struggle with various ailments. She also aims to make a lasting impact on the lives of people she meets. Dr. Talia is an accomplished player of the classical piano
Scottish Qualifications Authority, UK
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