What are 5 lessons Santiago learns in The Alchemist?

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One of the most valuable lessons Santiago learns in The Alchemist is the notion that fear is part of living a meaningful life. It is worse to not achieve his goals out of fear than to face fear, Santiago tells his heart: “Tell your heart that the fear of suffering...

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One of the most valuable lessons Santiago learns in The Alchemist is the notion that fear is part of living a meaningful life. It is worse to not achieve his goals out of fear than to face fear, Santiago tells his heart: “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 discovers that discomfort is part of living a life worth living.

A second lesson that Santiago understands is the importance of recognizing the wonder of life around you: “When each day is the same as the next, it’s because people fail to recognize the good things that happen in their lives every day that the sun rises.” You only perceive every day as the same if you do not recognize all of the small and wonderful details which make it different.

A third lesson, related to the first one mentioned above, is that it is important not to be carried away by indecision. Santiago realizes that, whereas not taking any decision will definitely not get him closer to his goal, taking an action—any step—will bring him closer to achieving his goals, even if this does not happen immediately: “When someone makes a decision, he is really diving into a strong current that will carry him to places he has never dreamed of when he first made the decision.” For the same reason, Santiago later tells himself, “There is only one way to learn. It’s through action.”

A fourth lesson is that mistakes are a necessary part of life. Santiago states that learning from mistakes gives us the experience necessary to live the life we were meant to live: “Everything you need to know you have learned through your journey.”

Finally, a fifth lesson is that ambition and dreaming, even if one does not succeed, are important because they are the fabric of life. Even if one fails to achieve their goals, striving for growth is what makes life interesting: “It’s the possibility of having a dream come true that makes life interesting.” Striving, Santiago realizes, is what gives him purpose, and it is a worthy goal in and of itself. Santiago urges himself to not be afraid to pursue his dreams—they are what makes life worth living, even if one does not initially succeed.

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One of the first lessons that Santiago learns in The Alchemist is what Personal Legends are and that he has one to fulfill. Once he commits to following his dream to find his treasure, it takes the whole novel for him to realize his what that entails. Over many obstacles, the boy acquires knowledge and self-mastery over doubt and fear in order to accomplish this great task.

On the way to finding his treasure, Santiago learns to watch for and follow omens. If people are truly happy by fulfilling their Personal Legends, then the world is happy and healthy. By paying attention to omens, he learns the language of the world which is there to help people realize their dreams. Melchizedek's advice to the boy is expressed as follows:

"In order to find the treasure, you will have to follow the omens. God has prepared a path for everyone to follow. You just have to read the omens that he left for you"(29).

Next, when he meets Fatima at the oasis, he is tempted to sacrifice his journey for her. Because she understands the language of the world and Personal Legends, she tells him to fulfill his dream first, and then if it is right, they will find each other again (98). He learns that those who truly love us will support our dreams.

Then, when he speaks with the desert, the wind, and the sun, he teaches them about love; but in the process, he realizes that love is the force that changes people. He learns that a true alchemist uses love to make changes in himself, others, and in the world. He tells these worldly elements the following:

"Love is the force that transforms and improves the Soul of the World"(150).

Finally, the boy learns that he is actually a part of the Soul of the World, or God. Since we are all connected to God, the world and all of creation, we have the power within ourselves to perform miracles. It is at this point he is able to turn himself into the wind and save himself and his mentor from death.

"The boy reached through to the Soul of the World, and saw that it was a part of the Soul of God. And he saw that the Soul of God was his own soul. And that he, a boy, could perform miracles"(152).

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