Wednesday, January 14, 2009


I listened to The Alchemist audiobook on my drive out to California on Saturday. I chose it because someone had told me that it was good, but I didn't know much about it. It turned out to be the perfect book for the occasion.

My life has changed a lot recently. I graduated from college, moved a couple of states away, and transitioned from 8 years (on and off) of being a college student to an indefinite period of being a working professional. I've done a lot of thinking about life recently, especially about my goals and dreams.

The Alchemist is about a Spanish shepherd boy who follows his dreams. It's an interesting story, but it's told to teach. Its message is to follow your dreams, and to do what's noble, rather than what's easy.

Here are some of my favorite quotes from the book.

On motivation:
It's the possibility of having a dream come true that makes life interesting.
On gratitude:
...when each day is the same as the next, it's because people fail to recognize the good things that happen in their lives everyday as the sun rises.
On following your dreams:
"My heart is afraid that it will have to suffer," the boy told the alchemist one night as they looked up at the moonless sky.

"Tell your heart that the fear of suffering is worse than the suffering itself. And that no heart has ever suffered when it goes in search of its dreams, because every second of the search is a second's encounter with God and with eternity."

"Every second of the search is an encounter with God," the boy told his heart.

"When I have been truly searching for my treasure, every day has been luminous, because I've known that every hour was a part of the dream that I would find it. When I have been truly searching for my treasure, I've discovered things along the way that I never would have seen had I not had the courage to try things that seemed impossible for a shepherd to achieve."
I love that last quote. I've really made an effort over the past year or so to follow my dreams, even when it's hard. It's been a rough ride, and I've been bruised a time or two, but I've grown a lot more than if I would have led a safer, more mundane life.

At the beginning of October, I ate one of those little chocolates that has a fortune cookie-type quote on the inside of the wrapper. It said simply, "Be fearless.". It's been in my wallet ever since. Whenever I'm tempted to take the easy way out, it provides a little reminder that the easy way isn't always the best way. It's better to dream.


Jonathan said...

I'll have to read that book. Nice post. Hope everything is going well for you in California!

Robyn said...

I read The Alchemist last summer and it was wonderful. Good luck in California!

Kristy said...

I liked this one. The quotes on following your dreams are especially good in my opinion.

Unknown said...


that's so funny -- I listened to the Alchemist when I drove out here to start my job last September! Great book.

You were destined to sleep on our couch

I See Badgers said...

Nice post bruce. I liked it a lot.