5 Brutally Honest Life Lessons From “The Alchemist” by Paulo Coelho (2022)

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5 Brutally Honest Life Lessons From “The Alchemist” by Paulo Coelho (1)

The Alchemist is a story of a shepherd boy from Andalusia. The little boy “Santiago” always dreamt of exploring the world and uncovering the treasures of life.

That’s when Santiago travels to the Egyptian desert and meets the Alchemist. Though no one believed in Santiago, the fire inside of the little boy burned brighter than the fire around him.

Hence, his journey began…!

The Alchemist,” by Paulo Coelho, holds jam-filled life lessons at each step. The true essence of this story: sometimes the journey is more important than the destination.

For us, our journey is now, and our destination is an afterlife.

Alchemist provides a contrast in people’s life who achieve their goals and those who don’t. This book has inspired millions of readers worldwide to live their dreams and pursue their goals.

My five most popular life lessons from the novel are:

Paulo Coelho believed:

The secret of life is to fall seven times and to get up eight times.

The thing is, we never know when’s the last toss. Maybe it’s the moment you give up. Perhaps you didn’t think you were so close :(

John Wooden often says: most people who give up are always closest to achieving.

Does it break your heart?

Since we’ve tried multiple times, why did you choose to give up this time?

If you’ve fallen seven times, get back up. Maybe the 8th (eighth) time is the breakthrough.

We often don’t realize but the last “getting up” is always the hardest. But it’s also worth it. Also, it’s better to get back up for the sake of your long-term sacrifices than to let your struggles go into a *deep garbage hole*.

How to apply?

Almost every occupation steamrolls us:

  • Writers
  • Military
  • Chef
  • Gymnastics

E.g., take chefs. When they’re chopping the fruits, and it suddenly hurts their finger, will it stop them from cooking again? Will it prevent them from creating tasty foods?

The same is the case with writers. So many writers are disregarded daily for the type of novel draft they bring into the publishing house. They’re often scolded, “what nonsense is this.”

But they NEVER give up. Because falling on cobblestones makes you habitual of it. And there comes one day when you’re not afraid anymore. If you fall, get back up and start walking.

The good news: maybe this time, it’s all worth it.

  • Maybe this time, you made it
  • Just try one more time. For you!

According to Paulo Coelho:

It’s the simple things in life that are most extraordinary; only wise men are able to understand them.

Most things in our life are a product of our past choices. Only a handful of people can connect 1–1.

So, in other words, what decisions we make and the outcomes we get are always (unique). No other person can have the same choices and outcomes as you.

In short, you lead an extraordinary life.

This means when you look through the eyeballs of others, you realize the universe has made you dissimilar— different with choices, problems, and blessings.

Hence, there’s no reason why you should despise yourself. Instead, be a wise man and count how many blessings you have.

How to apply?

A wise man is not an:

  • Educated man


  • A man able to connect things.

All our lives, we’ve been taught everything is complex. It’s not. Things are simple and sweet.

Paulo Coelho suggests: always look for meaning in simple things, and you’ll find them extraordinary.

Of course, a bar of gold is a piece of metal until a jeweler shows up and realizes its importance.

  • A pearl is a stone unless you know to check for its authenticity.

In other words, our life is gold. The simple things we do are extraordinary.

As Coelho put it into words: the treasure that we seek elsewhere, we find at our doorstep.

Santiago realizes:

  • Fear is not an obstacle.
  • The fear is not even an ultimatum.
  • The fear is a trap.

Most people in life are often scared by fear. But remember, fear is not something that can appear in front of you and scare you. It’s all in your head. It’s the tiny voices inside your head.

Fears play with the brain and stop them to take the actual action. Hence Coelho writes:

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.

Santiago, in his journey, realizes fear only stops him to take action. With each passing time, the fears grew, but with each passing obstacle, the fear vanished.

Hence the only way to fight fear is to overcome them.

How to apply?

Santiago often felt fear would consume him. He often felt he should:

  • Quit and run far, far away.

Santiago was never believed in, which ironically contributes to the fear. He was frightened to fail again.

We’re often in the same scenario — scared because it was all too (new) and (too good to be true).

But Santiago placed a wet cloth into his heart and continued walking on his journey. Santiago didn’t have many distractions to overcome fear at that moment, but we have it now.

Distractions such as

However, these things distract us daily, but they’re even more helpful when they have anxiety and fear. Try it!

Success is a process.

Wise men know it’s not something you can master in a day. It takes years and years of practice. Nothing is a coincidence, writes Liliana Nakamura.

In other words:

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

So, when you think of waking up at 6. am in the morning, you gradually get better at:

  • Your lifestyle
  • Appetite
  • Mental health
  • Skin

All start becoming better. You gradually grow other pet benefits when you take one step towards success. It’s like each success has a mini bodyguard that walks with you.

Ultimately, what you started with one goal multiples into double, and in the end, you have achieved other goals too.

In other words, success is like a buy one get one. (Free scheme).

  • You might be poor because you have no money
  • But you might be rich because you have a dream.

We often don’t understand but dreaming plays a major part in becoming our best selves. Paulo Coelho writes:

The possibility of having a dream come true makes life interesting.

For, e.g., life shows you a painting at first. Then after a few minutes, it takes it away from you. Then, it gives you an A) canvas and B) watercolor to paint it exactly.

Now your task is to paint what you see.

Life is the same. The dream is the accelerator that shows you what you’ll become — only if you get up and try.

Sad part: Dreams must be deciphered.

How to apply?

Steve Harvey says:

God seeds your imagination with something just for you. Ever wonder why you’ve told someone a dream, and they shot it down completely? Because God gave it to you, and you only. It wasn’t meant to be shared. Protect what God puts in your imagination.

When Santiago was alone and frightened, he believed in himself. He realized his dreams were pure.

Question: Ever wondered what if our dreams were publically outcast?

Answer: People would surely judge.

Whatever dreams you have, keep them to yourself. Try and find ways to make them real, and see yourself achieving a part of the goal daily.


  • Find the purpose behind your goals with meditation.
  • Look for signs. Pray to God. Read.

You won’t realize it, but: simple things play a crucial role in making dreams come true.

Life is going to make you happy.

But first, it’s going to make you strong.

Be sure to wear a raincoat and grab the necessary items since the cloudburst is approaching.

Santiago lived in a desert for weeks until he reached his final purpose. It’s time you wet your feet too.

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