“My heart is a traitor,” the boy said to the alchemist, when they had paused to rest the horses.  “It doesn’t want me to go on.”

“That makes sense,” the alchemist answered.  “Naturally it’s afraid that, in pursuing your dream, you might lose everything you’ve won.”

“Well, then, why should I listen to my heart?”

“Because you will never again be able to keep it quiet.  Even if you pretend not to have heard what it tells you, it will always be there inside you, repeating to you what you’re thinking about life and about the world.”

– Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist

I read The Alchemist and couldn’t really get into it the way I suspect many others were able to do.  The whole thing seemed like a metaphor for trusting religious beliefs over and above reason and logic.  Many times he talks about The Soul of the World and of Personal Legends so it comes off as an awkwardly translated, smothering-ly religious self-help book. One of the concepts you have to accept to read this book is the often revisited saying that “When you want something, all the universe conspires to help you achieve it.”  Without doubt, the author never subjects the main character to much trial in reaching his goals – he crosses a desert and gets all of his money stolen but I’ve had worse luck in less than a year living right here in Dayton, so…  Anyways, if I were to assign a candy bar to describe this book, it would be a 3 Musketeers bar – light and fluffy, seems like it will satisfy you but leaves you wondering if you’ve even consumed any chocolate whatsoever.  Alternatively, I would rate something like Les Miserables as a Snickers bar, if that gives you a gauge – I hope it does and that you don’t think I’m a sugar-obsessed lunatic.

On the other hand, in my effort to always get something of value from my experiences, I did very much appreciate all of the inspirational little nuggets like the above quote.  This and many other quotes like it from the book work to almost make achieving your goals simple – basically you are the only thing making your goals impossible to reach.

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