What lessons does Santiago learn by working for the crystal merchant?

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  1. The power of action. It's not enough to have dreams; you have to be prepared to take action to make those dreams come true. The Crystal Merchant is a Muslim and yet has never been on the Haj to Mecca. Yet, Santiago sold his sheep and quit his job as a shepherd to follow his Personal Legend.
  2. Change is both inevitable and desirable. Once again, the Crystal Merchant provides an example of what Santiago is reacting against. The Merchant is stuck in his ways, terminally resistant to change. He doesn't seem to understand why his business is failing. Santiago suggests they build an outdoor display to attract more customers. The Merchant eventually relents and Santiago's idea pays off.
  3. You must live in the present. The present moment is the only field of possibility: the past is over, and the future has yet to happen. That's the trouble with the Merchant—he doesn't embrace the present and instead allows himself to be defined by his past and a desired future that he has no intention of fulfilling. He wants to have something to look forward to in life. Ironically, this attitude guarantees that he will never have anything real to look forward to.
  4. We have nothing to fear but fear itself. Fear holds us back and stops us from taking risks. The Merchant won't go to Mecca, nor will he do anything to improve business unless prompted by Santiago. But in order to achieve our Personal Legend it is necessary to realize that the fear of suffering is always worse than the suffering itself.



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