'The Soul of the World is nourished by people's happiness. And also by unhappiness, envy, and jealousy. To realize one's destiny is a person's only real obligation. All things are one.' -- Paulo Coelho
Santiago is an Andalusia shepherd boy who has dreams, who is determined to follow his destiny.
We all have dreams, the difference is that some of us follow our dreams.
Santiago follows his dreams, he learns how to read the omens.
Unusual for a shepherd boy, he can read and write. He learnt how to read and write at the seminary. His parents had high hopes for him, but Santiago had other ideas, he wanted to travel. As a poor boy, the only way he could travel and fulfill his destiny was to become a shepherd.
Santiago's father gave him money to buy sheep. He did well. He learnt where the best pastures were. He and his flock prospered.
In a dream, a child told Santiago to go to the Pyramids where he would find treasure.
Following the advice of an Alchemist, an old man he met in the street, he sold his sheep, travelled to Tangiers, only to have all his money stolen on the first day leaving him penniless.
Most people would have given up in despair, and Santiago did sit crying in the plaza. He was in a strangle place, penniless and all alone. But then Santiago realised he was not in a strange place, he was in a new place, and he had always wanted to travel, therefore why not look on the bright side and take advantage of the opportunities his situation offered him. He had a choice, he could look upon himself as one of life's victims, or see himself as an adventurer in quest of treasure.
'I'm an adventurer, looking for treasure', he says to himself. Instead of being saddened, he is happy. He has faith. He would be an adventurer. He finds work, he learns Arabic.
A year on, he looks at what he has gained by learning to interpret what life puts before him.
We need to learn to follow our dreams, to understand the omens. To do work we want to do, that we enjoy doing, not because we think it will give us the money to do what we really want to do. If we do not follow our dreams, we become trapped, we forget our dreams, the job we did not want becomes an end itself, a bigger house, a bigger car.
We need to cleanse our minds of our negative thoughts.
This is a theme running through all the writings of Paulo Coelho. We have dreams, life offers us opportunities, we must learn to follow our dreams, to grasp the opportunities life offers us.
Before setting off for Africa, Santiago had been advised by an Alchemist, an old man he met in the street, 'Never stop dreaming, follow the omens.' Wise advice we all should heed.
Santiago learnt that things are accomplished with enthusiasm, love and purpose.
When you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.