And when I say “in search of” I really mean “I don’t know what is”. Reading ‘The Alchemist’ enlightened me but didn’t necessarily bring me out the dark. This novel gave me answers but more importantly it left me with questions too. Now this “treasure” that I’m supposed to follow, Paulo Coelho said, should come to you early on life. But what if it doesn’t? Or maybe you didn’t realize that that was destiny giving you a heads up. “Maktub” as said in the book – it is written but not everyone possesses an Urim and Thummim to help them along the way. Or do they? How does one read omens, more so, interpret them? I want to believe that “When you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.” But what if you want the wrong things? It’s all so inspiring and seems simple but of course like anything in life, it’s not. I may be deemed cynical for this but I do believe there is such a thing as a purpose in life, a personal legend. The problem is, I’m already turning 25 this year and yet I know I’m nowhere near figuring out what mine is let alone actually fulfilling it. Did I really miss the signs? Or was I just not looking hard enough? I’m as clueless as ever. Maybe the omens got tired already. Moving on, what I’m taking away from all of this is the four obstacles Coelho talked about. I agree with all of them and learning them now makes you feel prepared for battle, if you know what I mean. Here are the four:

As a child, we are told that everything we want to do is impossible. Some people call it being rational and it affects our mindset. This is true especially as we grow older and reality sets in. The innocence is lost and we discover that life is not fair.

We are afraid to hurt the ones we love by pursuing our personal legend. I understood when Coelho said that “If what one finds is made of pure matter, it will never spoil. And one can always come back. If what you have found was only a moment of life, like the explosion of a star, you would find nothing on your return.” It’s like your true love will be there to support you not hinder you.

The fear of failure, in my humble opinion, is the hardest obstacle. Because we gave up everything to follow our dream we can’t fathom the idea of losing. And this fear is the greatest; it’s do or die. The difficulties and trials will always be there so we must persevere.

Lastly, there is the fear of realizing the dream. Ironic but true. Some people, after working so hard, do falter once they discover that the goal is close at hand whether because they feel unworthy or that somehow that the dream would not be what they thought it would be. Sometimes just because others weren’t able to fulfill theirs, we feel undeserving as well.

Two statements from the story also stuck with me: “Everything that happens once can never happen again. But everything that happens twice will surely happen a third time.”

And, “The secret of life is to fall seven times and to get up eight times.”

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