The Alchemist is an inspiring read. 5 Powerful lessons.

I’ve recently been going through a non-fiction binge and thought I read a story a friend recommended. The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho.

The tale follows a boy who is complacent with his life. He’s happy, and in fact even proud of his achievements. But he yearns to travel, and decides goes in search for a treasure in his dreams.

pyramid

Lesson 1: When you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you achieve it.

This theme of the book really resonated with me. It reminded me of Napoleon Hill’s Think and Grow Rich. The more you desire something, the more things just seem to go your way. Everything isn’t going to be perfect, but small things start favoring you. These small favors add up, and keep propelling you to towards your desire. If you are an entrepreneur with a desire, pursue it like crazy. You might meet some amazing people who can help you along the way. You might even meet your fated love one. It’s the ability to keep pursuing and have faith that you will achieve what you want.

Lesson 2: It’s about the journey getting there.

It all started with a dream about gold. Eventually, it became an epic story. Seeing new worlds, the struggles, finding and meeting new people. THAT is the story you want to tell. It made me think deeply about where I wanted to be and what I wanted to do. It’s even inspired me to write a book! We want to hear about those stories. So why not go out there and create your own story. No one wants to see the gold in your hands, but they definitely want to know how you got there.

maze

Lesson 3: Add value to everyone along the way.

The boy in The Alchemist meets a glass shop owner along the way. The glass shop owner was complacent where he was, but once the boy started working there, things improved. He looked on ways to improve the store. He made a nice cabinet to attract move customers. He told the owner to start selling tea with the glasses. Business boomed, and it became prosperous. The boy would eventually leave with many positive blessings, and a lot of money for his journey (and that feel good moment 😉 ).  It reminded me a bit of Never Eat Alone, always add value where you can.

Lesson 4: It’s really easy to fall back to complacency.

It was easy for the shepherd boy to fall back to his flock of sheep. When things were tough, he considered going back to being a shepherd. He considered A LOT. He decided to stop looking for his treasure occasionally, especially when  times were tough. It’s because complacency can be so appealing. I’ve often felt that it would be so much easier to just stick to a normal job. It would be easier, but then we won’t know what else is out there. Like the glass shop owner, once the boy arrived, he started to realize more about what he was capable of. He didn’t know anything beyond his shop. That’s why it’s easy to be complacent, because you won’t know any better.

Lesson 5: Personal Legacy! Becoming The Alchemist.

Create a freaking legacy. To keep it short, go out there and be remembered. If you don’t do it now, when will you? Create something. The people, the mistakes, the achievements – these are the things that will create your legacy. 

Give The Alchemist  a go. Won’t take you long and it will really inspire you.

 

The Power of Habit starts with small things.

I have a terrible habit of shaking my leg. It pisses off people sitting next to me, and it even starts to bug me when I see other people do it! What a hypocrite! It’s a habit I want to shake (pun intended) so I thought I picked up The Power of Habit. I tried to read this book when I was a lot younger and couldn’t finish it. It’s interesting reading the book now, I was bored out of my mind when I was younger but with a bit of age, the book was fascinating. In saying that however, I do believe towards the end it was simply the same theme, reinforcing the same point.

The Power Of Habit on Amazon

The Power Of Habit on Amazon

What engaged me about the book was the things it made me think about. For example, why do all the McDonald’s look the same? Why does improving organizational safety improve profits? why does the Alcoholics Anonymous work? These questions made me realize the things I do every day. To distill the book down to some key points:

1) Habit = Cue -> Routine -> Reward.

  1. Cue: something that will start the habit – perhaps you are bored or stressed.
  2. Routine: You decide to do something to stop this, so you smoke, drink a coffee or snack.
  3. Reward: You feel the benefits immediately – sugar high or relief through smoking.

So work on changing the ROUTINE which will lead you to a REWARD. 

My first big bad habit.

My first big bad habit.

So when you are bored and stressed? Read a book, go for a walk, do some exercise. When I had gained a lot weight, I realized my routine was gaming or eating food. Instead, I’ve channeled that to exercising. The ‘good’ habits take a while, and it took me about 2 months before I really started enjoying exercise and it’s reward (vs. gaming or eating sweets!). My gaming routine was the worst of all – the cue was something as ‘sitting at the computer’. Instead of doing work, I would play games or go on social media. Instead, I’ve slowly been changing that, making sure I always read or write while I’m at the computer. It’s still hard, and occasionally I have some rest and play a game or so with friends. It’s definitely hard and I’m still transitioning.

2) Surround yourself with those trying to break the habit as well.

When you see that it IS possible to break a habit, what will you think? A feeling  of realization will come over you. When your friend quits smoking, you will want to as well. Why? it’s because you start to realize change is possible. That’s important. Seeing people around you break the habit is amazing and will continue to motivate you. I would go further to say, surround yourself with people who have already broken the habit, or don’t even have the habit at all. Another good area is Reddit – there are so many subreddits it’s likely what you are looking for is there.

Surround yourself with a group of people working on that habit.

Surround yourself with a group of people working on that habit.

3) Always celebrate the small wins.

A small win in one area can produce something even greater. If you are beating the habit, measure it. I counted the hours I would save by ‘not’ gaming or counted times I shook my leg. Slowly but surely, I started to get happier and happier seeing the numbers. That was my reward, conquering a bad habit. It wasn’t easy and occasionally I still find myself ‘flinching’ at the THOUGHT of breaking my good habit. It’s bloody hard, but with time, and be sure you truly want it for yourself, you can conquer and create a good habit or eliminate a bad one. Give the Power of Habit a read (or the audio version – I have heard this is well read on Audible.)