“Everything in life is an omen,” said the Englishman…“There is a universal language, understood by everybody, but already forgotten. I am in search of that universal language, among other things. That’s why I’m here. I have to find a man who knows that universal language. An alchemist.”
I have recently finished reading The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho. Never before have I read a book that was so full of wisdom on every page. It’s one of those books that, as a writer, makes me feel so small thinking ‘how could I possibly live up to this??’ and also so inspired to live up to my own Personal Legend.
Your Personal Legend is “what you have always wanted to accomplish”, whether that be to travel, to write a book, to work in a certain career, to own a business, or have a family. Maybe in life, you will do all of these things. But in the present moment, your focus is probably strongly tied to one goal in particular. For many, the hardest part in this is identifying what it is that you really want to do. We spend way too much time in our minds imagining the ‘what ifs’ and often fail to harness the power of the present moment, and listen to our Truth. If you allow fear of failure, or of judgment or of letting others down to guide your decisions, then you will probably won’t even take the first step to achieving your Personal Legend.
Before you begin your journey, you will likely never know with 100% certainty that it’s the right path. Everyone feels doubt when they pursue something of significance: “People are afraid to pursue their most important dreams, because they feel that they don’t deserve them, or that they’ll be unable to achieve them.” Fear exists to avoid suffering, but if we allow it to guide our decisions then we will never grow or evolve, and in remaining stagnant, we would dishonor Life itself.
Embarking on a journey often involves great risk. You probably fear that “in pursuing your dream, you might lose everything you’ve won.” Are you hoarding your chips, afraid to bet on yourself? Are you afraid that in pursuing your dream, you might lose what security (job, house, money, love) you’ve gained? Are you afraid to disappoint your loved ones and risk losing their good faith?
“You must understand that love never keeps a man from pursuing his Personal Legend.” Just as you have doubts about embarking on your journey, others around you are sure to mirror that. Recognize that the source of their opinion is fear. You must use your own wisdom and awareness as your guiding compass. Once your fear dissipates, much of theirs will, as well. If they love you, they will accept your path in time.
Have you ever felt that everything is falling together in your favor? If you have, it’s because you are on the right path, and the Universe wants you to know it. It wants you to taste success so that you will continue on with confidence. At this point, you will feel powerful, connected and wise—maybe even god-like.
But as powerful as you are, you are not a god; you are human, and at this point, you might lose sight of your ego. You might begin to think you know the answer to everyone’s problems, that everyone should know what you know, and if they don’t they’re on the wrong path: “It’s one thing to feel that you are on the right path, but it’s another to think that yours is the only path.” It’s okay; your ego will recede. And you’re going to need that confidence when the going gets tough (if you expect to gain anything of worth, it most certainly will).
“Every search begins with beginner’s luck. And every search ends with the victor’s being severely tested.” Many people lose faith when there appears to be a multitude of road blocks in front of them. They justify it in different ways often concluding that the dream was not really theirs to begin with. Many people live their entire lives without reaching their Personal Legend: “not everyone can see his dreams come true in the same way.”
As you embark on your own Personal Legend, heed the advice that the King gave Santiago before he set off on his journey to the Pyramids: “Don’t forget that everything you deal with is only one thing and nothing else. And don’t forget the language of omens. And, above all, don’t forget to follow your Personal Legend through to its conclusion.” Along the way, Santiago’s faith was tested constantly. He was deceived, robbed and had his life threatened on multiple occasions. Though he felt fear, doubt, and bitterness, he ultimately “realized that he had to choose between thinking of himself as the poor victim of a thief and as an adventurer in quest of his treasure.” He soon realized that every ‘curse’ along the way helped him understand what he needed to know in order to reach his treasure.
You may know what your Personal Legend is at this point, and you may already be well on your way to reaching it. But don’t confuse having a destiny with having no control over your future. You must take action in order to get there, and you must make your own decisions. Part of reaching your destiny is recognizing the power you have over your life’s outcome, and that you can create a magnificent future out of an ordinary present. Such are the lessons in alchemy.
“The boy reached through the Soul of the World, and saw that it was a part of the Soul of God. And he saw that the Soul of God was his own soul. And that he, a boy, could perform miracles.”
All quotations in this post are cited from The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho.