I tend to pay attention to things that come in three’s. I recently had one of those “Three” events happen to me. One: I was reading an article on-line that had a passage from the book the Alchemist. Two: A week later in a conversation with a friend, the book came up when we were talking about good books to read. Three: I remembered seeing a copy on our bookshelf at work. I knew I was “destined” to read it.
The Alchemist is a book that was first published in 1988, the author is Brazilian, Paulo Coelho. The book has since been translated into 69 languages and according to Wikipedia, it has sold more than 150 million copies, and is one of the bestselling books in history. How it has escaped my read list is surprising to me. I guess that’s why I needed a “three” event.
The book is written in parable form and describes the travels a young shepherd in search of treasure. His travels take him from his life as a shepherd in Andalusia to Egypt. I won’t ruin the book for you in case you haven’t read it. The main theme is about finding your destiny.
Here are the lessons I took from reading the Alchemist:
1. “When you want something the whole world conspires so that your wishes come true.”
This quote from the book is a belief I hold, if I really want something, things seem to fall in my path to take me to what I want. We think of these as coincidences, signs, the books speaks of these as omens. Last year we attended a coaching training program that happened as a coincidence. After a search to gather information for our strategic plan my wife ran into some information on a coach training program. We were so completely delighted to find this training, we attended. The training was one of the best coach training courses we have ever taken. It is still paying dividends for us a year later.
2. You have to know what you really want. Don’t get stuck in the wanting.
I think this lesson grips us very tightly. Here is an example. About 10 years ago I was contemplating becoming a therapist. I had thought about it on and off for 2-3 years. I was working with my coach when she asked me if there was a University in my town, the answer was yes. She asked me if they offered a degree in Psychology, the answer was yes. She asked if I had ever talked to anyone in the department about enrolling in the program, the answer was no. I was stuck in the wanting instead of the having… life was calling for me to answer the question, “Do I really want this”. Shortly after my coaching call, I made an appointment with the dean of the college and enrolled in three classes. By the end of the year, although I had enjoyed the course work, I knew I didn’t want to pursue becoming a therapist. If you more toward something you can always change your mind and doing so helps you to clarify what you really want.
3. Obstacles will fall in your path what you do with them is your choice.
If you are on a journey toward anything worth having, obstacles will fall in your path. I know with me at times those obstacles become my focus. Perhaps I get angry and shake my fists at the sky, then later realizing without this obstacle I would not have learned what I needed to learn on the journey to obtain what I am after. Now, when those obstacles happen I pause and look for the lesson in it. It is my choice whether to give the obstacle my anger or frustration or simply bless it for having come into my path. I am not perfect in this but I am getting better all the time.
4. Take action
When something occurs to you take action. Move toward it so you can decide if you really want it or not. When you become aware of being stuck there is usually something different that life is calling for. Here’s what I mean. Perhaps you need to ask for help, stop and reflect, learn something new, get coaching, or pray.
5. Don’t give up
In reaching for your destiny remember this quote from the book:
“Before a dream is realized, the World, tests everything that was learned along the way. It does this not because it is evil, but so we can, in addition to realizing our dreams, master the lessons, we’ve learned along the way. This is the very point where most people give up.”
I urge you to read the book strive toward your destiny and live with complete joy and happiness.