Follow your Personal Legend

So, I’m at book fifteen (of my 52 book challenge) and given my busy week, I reached into my library in search of a short book. The one I grabbed I had read many years ago although I had no memory of the messages. At the time of the initial read, about 15 years ago, I do recall reading many books of this genre: A Road Less Traveled, The Ninth Insight and The Celestine Prophecy. All promising life changing conspiracies and secrets!

So, I approached my read hoping to glean at least one lesson which could be applied to my personal, professional and or into my leadership practice. I wasn’t disappointed: I learned a couple of interesting life lessons, was fascinated with the Koran (the story is set in north Africa with Islam being a popular faith) and enjoyed the lessons being shared through a fable-styled story.

What I enjoyed about reading this ‘fable’ is its ability to ‘suck’ me in and make me reflect on my life’s current journey. I can understand why it had a cult following in its heyday – after some research, I discovered it’s the most translated book in history – it’s been reproduced into over 80 languages since first being published 29 years ago.

The crux of this book is finding one’s own destiny – ‘your personal legend’. Author, Brazilian Paulo Coelho tells us the story of a young shepherd, Santiago, who is told by a Gypsy to follow his dream to visit the Pyramids leaving his flock, family, and his love, Fatima.

There are several contradictions throughout this book – in one breath we are told to follow our dreams and in the next, live for today, aka be present and mindful. Putting that aside, I found five life messages which I thought was worth having read The Alchemist.

What's your personal legend? 

Santiago, the protagonist, meets five people in his life quest and coincidentally learns five lessons:

Travel frequently and meet new people every day – when we see the same people every day, they become part of that person's life and that person wants them to change. If someone isn’t what others want them to be, the others become angry. Everyone seems to have a clear idea of how other people should lead their lives, but none about his or her own.

Realise your personal legend – do what you’ve always wanted to accomplish. Be young again when everything is clear and everything is possible. Be not afraid to dream. When you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you achieve it.

Learn to read without words – take time to listen and observe and you’ll understand the world. This language is about enthusiasm, of things accomplished with love and purpose and is part of a search for something believed in and desired. It requires courage.

Listen to your heart – let it tell you what to do and you’ll be listening to the soul of the world. Discovering you possess great treasures is enough; keep it within as if you try and tell others of them, seldom are you believed. Be silent more and be friends with your heart and soul.

Have faith – in a God. Believe in someone or something. Allah features prominently, whereas the sun, wind and sand were also versions of a God. Believe in omens and take note of what messages they are sending as it’s unlikely they are a coincidence – someone/thing has sent a message for you to take note of. And most importantly, realise that you are God. (Yikes!)

If this was a ‘Book Club’ read, I think it would be torn to strips. However, we must be mindful it’s translated into English; it’s a belief of past shared stories and not based on any fact or research. If we were to look through the 'reality' lens, we’d have too many ‘buts’ and lose the intent of the messages.

I’m glad I’ve had the opportunity to reread it and I believe I’m a better person given these important messages; dream big, have faith in yourself, network with new people and learn about them, listen with your gut and share stories to allow others to do the same.

 I’m endeavouring to read 52 Business/Professional/Personal Development books in 52 weeks. Yep, that’s one a week. As I read each book, I’ll share my thoughts, learning and recommendations. If there is a book that you’ve been meaning to read, let me know and I’ll read it for us!