June 9, 2009 § Leave a comment
I recently read The Alchemist for the first time after a friend said I reminded him of the main protagonist. It’s an incredibly inspiring book (and now, one of my favorites) and I recommend it to everyone who has not read it yet. After stumbling across a series of failures and downs, I’m glad I came across this book now as it puts everything in perspective.
Everyone has a personal legend, that is, a goal that one must journey through life to attain. This is what keeps us going, and what gives our lives meaning. Upon fulfilling the personal legend, we can either embark on fulfilling a new personal legend, or become content with the one we have fulfilled. Unfortunately, too many people either forget about their personal legend, or, in their desire to attain their personal legend, they forget about the journey one must embark on. It’s easy to desire something, whether that’s fortune, fame, love, etc., but much harder to actually work towards it. We are constantly surrounded by people in the former group, those that have forgotten their personal legends. As children, or even as college students, we have hopes, dreams, and ambitions. We have not yet become jaded and cynical–that comes about sometime in our 20’s when we enter the work force. Too many of us become corporate drones, living each day as the next with minor variables. Ultimately, at the end of the day, we have achieved virtually nothing–sure, maybe we completed analyzing data for an assignment, or we managed a few accounts, maybe a prospective client just signed a deal. This, however, does not add significant meaning to our lives, it merely adds security.
We think having money, or security, adds meaning, but it’s simply an allusion our minds portray to keep us from realizing our failure in achieving our personal legend. Slowly, but surely, we become cynical and jaded becoming content with our systematic way of life. And then there are the super-dreamers. These people dream about fulfilling their personal legend, but that’s all they do. They are often much less content with life than the former group. They want the reward without the hard work.
My personal legend lies in my desire to change the world. This doesn’t necessarily mean to cure cancer, eradicate the world of poverty, bring about world peace. Simply put, I want to facilitate people’s passions, including my own. I can’t expect anyone to do the journey for me. I may meet people along the way that help me out, direct me back on the path of my journey when I’m about to stray, even if they do this unintentionally, but ultimately, it is up to me to work hard to fulfill my personal legend. The failures in life aren’t really failures; they are roadblocks requiring us to take a detour. Those of us that stay focused must realize this and find another way to fulfill our personal legend rather than giving up and going back. I realized this as I was finishing the book. My failures aren’t failures unless I don’t learn from them and adapt. They are only truly failures if I give up.
Each person’s journey is different, and each person’s journey takes a different amount of time to complete. Even if you never fulfill your personal legend, just by journeying towards it, your life has fifty times more meaning in it than those that have forgotten their personal legend, or those that desire to attain it without working hard themselves to reach it.