Everything Else

The Alchemist

When each day is the same as the next, it’s because people fail to recognize the good things that happen in their lives every day that the sun rises.
“!(imgcenter)http://farm1.static.flickr.com/145/358244328_db5c944950_m.jpg!(Sunset at Krabi)”:http://www.flickr.com/photos/yannie/358244328/

There are days when you think you have the words to say but when you really sit in front of the computer, you find that the words are not exactly bubbling out from your brains. This is one of those days.

It’s not that I am feeling down or low or sad or anything remotely negative. No, nothing like that. The feeling is that of routine, where everyday is the same and nothing pops out to make you feel delighted or alive.

Everyone needs something to hold on to in order to get through life, it is true. Without hope, dream, faith or belief, there would be no anchor to the way you spend your days and you would end up drifting with no end in sight.

…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.

There are some days when I wish I could be like Santiago, the character from Paulo Coelo’s acclaimed novel, “The Alchemist”. Some have panned it as an unrealistic book that overdoes the simple writing, as a hype that fails to live up to expectations.

I beg to differ. I loved the minimalist style of short sentences that tend to avoid the use of hyperbole and big words. It’s like what we learnt in journalism school – keep it short and simple. The plot may seem entirely out of context in today’s modern world; afterall, what would a young shepherd giving up everything to realise a recurrent dream have to do with this frenetic world that we live in?

It is precisely this anachronism that makes it a fulfilling read. His adventures may not be directly relevant to our technological age but on a deeper level, the themes are the same. Hold on to your dreams, be discerning enough to distinguish between sound advice and sour grumblings, take chances when they land on your lap and always take wisdom away from each life’s lessons that you learn along your personal journey.

It’s the simple things in life that are the most extraordinary; only wise men are able to understand them.

One of the greatest things about this book to me is its longevity. Read it 20 years from now and it would still achieve the same resonance for its themes are universal and time-defying.

Just like Antoine de Saint-Exupery’s “The Little Prince”, which is one of my all-time favourites, Paulo Coelo’s “The Alchemist” is a lyrical classic that bridges all time, space and language barriers.

There is only one thing that makes a dream impossible to achieve: the fear of failure.

Life is a journey, not a destination. Remember that.

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