“Remember that wherever your heart is, there you will find your treasure.”

Alex Aristidou
3 min readNov 12, 2023

Paulo Coelho has gifted us incredible art. To read his books, is to appreciate talent and wisdom. To understand his books, is to live a fullfillied life.

“Who is Santiago?”

Santiago is the main character of the novel, “The Alchemist” by Paulo Coelho. He commences a journey from Andalusia in Spain to the pyramids of Egypt, searching for a hidden treasure.

As a shepherd boy, he is driven by this dream to find a hidden treasure. Through his journey though, he encounters a series of obstacles and meets several people who help him on his quest. The journey ultimately teaches him valuable life lessons about following dreams, finding one’s purpose, and listening to the voice of the universe.

The book portrays the idea of a personal legend and that each of us is destined to live a unique path in life. We all hold a piece of a greater puzzle, and it is our destiny to add that piece to the puzzle through the journey of our lives. Throughout the book, one can observe plenty of images of symbolism such as the idea of omens. Through these images, the author shows the universe's existence as a guide to our life.

“Intuition is really a sudden immersion of the soul into the universal current of life.”

This is a perspective that is often debated. The existence of destiny is a personal matter. You may believe we were born in this world with a purpose. You may believe that we define our purpose by the way we live or you may believe there is no purpose. Either or, your existence will mark history, whether you want to or not.

“No matter what he/she does, every person on earth plays a central role in the history of the world. And normally they don’t know it.”

Santiago lived an incredibly rich and fruitful journey. For this journey though to be such a learning experience, the presence of the Alchemist was vital. Santigo met the Alchemist in the desert of the Sahara. The Alchemist becomes Santiago’s mentor. The Alchemist is able to transform metal into gold and through his actions and wisdom, he teaches Santiago that one should have the courage to pursue his dreams and to constantly evolve. An important learning here is the value of a mentor/coach in one’s life. Be it a career, personal life, or family — a mentor can guide you through paths you have not discovered yet. Upon birth, we are assigned our first mentor as our parents. Having said that, from day one, onwards it's on us to find the right mentors for the right moment of our lives.

“When we strive to become better than we are, everything around us becomes better too.”

This book is an endless treasure of valuable lessons. The reason this book has really impacted me is the value it imposes on the fear of failure as the greatest barrier to a fulfilled life. A life where dreams become reality and where each one of us goes in search of our dreams.

“There is only one thing that makes a dream impossible to achieve: the fear of failure.”

As a reaction to this, the Alchemist offers everyone a different perspective on failure. We are often taught that failing is the worst that can happen to us. We learn to avoid failure as much as we can. Thus, the main lesson for Santiago here is to go where his heart tells him to, to seek for his dreams and for his passions. Santiago would only genuinely fail if he were to live with the fear of failing following a path away from his dreams.

“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.”

Who is Santiago then?

Santiago is one of us, Santiago is me, Santiago is you.

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