Sunday, 10 December 2017

The Alchemist

While I read an awful I don't tend to read all that many novels and fiction books. Two books that I revisit again and again are The Fountainhead and The Alchemist.

I've just finished reading The Alchemist again and while the start of the book intrigued me at the start of my own personal journey in my career with education and EdTech... It's the end of the book that spoke to me the most as I come to the end of another challenging chapter (one where I now realise I was a fool to ever attempt and that failure was always going to be the outcome... Oh! The benefit of hindsight! Lol) 

This will now be swapped with a new set of uncertainties. *Sigh!* 

The rest of this post includes a few extracts of The Alchemist.

"That's why I want you to continue toward your goal. If you have to wait until the war is over, then wait. But if you have to go before then, go on in pursuit of your dream. The dunes are changed by the wind, but the desert never changes... If I really am part of your dream, you'll comeback to me one day" Fatima to Santiago

"This is the first phase f the job... I have to separate out the sulfur. To do that successfully, I must have no fear of failure. It was my fear of failure that first kept me from attempting the Master Work. Now, I'm beginning what I could have started ten years ago. But I'm happy at least that I didn't wait twenty years" Aspiring Alchemist to Santiago

"Then, one day, the oldest seer he had ever sought out had asked the camel driver was so interested in the future.
"Well... so I can do things," he responded.
"And so I can change those things that I don't want to happen"
"But then they wouldn't be part of your future" the Seer had said.
"Well, maybe I just want to know the future so I can prepare myself for what's coming"
"If good things are coming, they will be a pleasant surprise" said the seer. "If bad things are, and you know in advance, you will suffer greatly before they ever occur"
...The secret is here in the present. If you pay attention to the present, what comes later will be better...

"Santiago had succeeded in reaching through to the Soul of the World, and now the price for having doe so might be his life. It was a frightening bet. But he had been making risky bets ever since the day he had sold his sheep to pursue his destiny. And, as the camel driver had said, to die tomorrow was no worse than dying on any other day."

The stranger withdrew his sword from the boy's forehead, and the boy felt immensley relieved.
"What is a stranger doing in a strange land?" 
"I am following my destiny. It's not something you'd understand"
"I had to test your courage" the stranger said. "Courage is the quality most essential to understanding the Language of the World"
...The Boy had met the Alchemist.

"Sometimes the boy was frightened by the idea that he might not find his treasure, or that he might die in the desert. At other times he was satisfied: he had found love and riches"
..."Naturally your heart is afraid that, in pursuing your dream, you might lose everything you've won."

"Everyone on earth has a treasure that awaits him... Unfortunately, very few follow the path laid out for them - the path to their destinies and happiness. Most people see the world as a threatening place, and, because they do, the world turns out, indeed, to be a threatening place."

"What you still need to know is this: before a dream can be realised, the Soul of the World tests everything that was learned along the way. It does this not because it is evil, but so that we can, in addition to realizing our dreams, master the lessons we've learned as we've moved toward that dream. That's the point at which most people give up. It's at that point at which... one dies of thirst just when the palm trees have appeared on the horizon. Every search begins with beggingers luck. And every search ends with the victor's being severely tested"
The boy remembered the old proverb that the darkest hour of the night came just before the dawn.

"When you possess great treasure within you, and try to tell others of them, seldom are you believed"

"Your money saved us for three days. It's not often that money saves a person's life"

"If a person is living out his destiny, he knows everything he needs to know. There is only one thing that makes a dream impossible to achieve: The fear of failure.
"I'm not afraid of failing. It's just that I don't know how to turn myself into the wind"
"Well you'll have to learn: Your life depends on it"
"But what if I can't"
""Then you'll die in the midst of trying to realise your destiny. That's a lot better than dying like millions of other people, who never knew what their destinies were" (NB good time to highlight Lost in the Ghetto?)
"But don't worry" the alchemist continued. "Usually the threat of death makes people a lot more aware of their lives"

"That's what alchemists do. They show that, when we strive to become better than we are, everything around us becomes better, too"

"I believe in our proverbs. There's one that says 'Everything that happens once can never happen again. But everything that happens twice will surely happen a third time"

"In ancient Rome, at the time of Emperor Tiberius, there lived a good man who had two sons. One was in the military, and had been sent to the most distant regions of the empire. The other son was a poet, and delighted all of Rome with his beautiful verses.  
...The father died as he tried to save a child who was about to be crushed by the wheels of a chariot. Since he had lived his life in a manner that was correct and fair, he went directly to heaven... "You were always a good man. You lived your life in a loving way, and died with dignity. I can now grant you any wish you desire.
"Life was good to me... I don't want anything for myself. But any father would be proud of the fame achieved by one whom he had cared for as a child, and educated as he grew up"

"You're not going to die. You'll live, and you'll learn that a man shouldn't be so stupid. Two years ago, right here on this spot, I had a recurrent dream, too. I dreamed that I should travel to the fields of Spain and look for a ruin church where shepherds and their sheep slept. In my dream, there was a sycamore growing out of the ruins of the sacristy, and I was told that, if I dug at the roots of the sycamore, I would find hidden treasure. But I'm not so stupid as to cross an entire desert just because of a recurrent dream"

Those are the sections that spoke to me as I re-read the book this time round.

Seems as good a place to close one chapter... hope the next one is a little less challenging!

To those who continue to support me on the journey (You know who you are!) You have my gratitude, friendship and support any time and with anything that you do. 

To all the change makers and Pirates out there... I'll repeat the last piece of advice from Bill Aulet's Entrepreneurial Marketing workshop which I attended in 2010... "Don't let the bastards get you down"

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