Episode 8: The Way Of The Alchemist
If you know anything about me and my literary adventures, you should already know that The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho is my favourite book. I'm not talking about "oh I've read it once and really liked it" kind of favourite. No, I'm talking about that type of love where you read it at least twice a month and listen to it on audio another three or so more times every few months. Why am I so in love with this book, well besides the messages in the Holy Text, no other compilation of written words has ever spoken to my soul the same way.
Every time I read or listen to The Alchemist, I learn something new about it, life, and myself. It's like the words I've always had in my finally found a language through which they could be expressed. I always make it a point to read the book or at least listen to it before making a significant decision in my life.
Let's kick it:
So why am I sitting down with The Alchemist today? Well, he's been a dear friend over the years and a great teacher. Also, I wanted to share with my audience that not giving up on your dreams can yield remarkable results. Unless if your goal is to become the next serial killer or dictator, then you should definitely not pursue it. Seriously, get yourself as far as possible from such dreams.
Paulo Coelho is a Brazillian author who is known worldwide. His works have touched millions of lives. The Alchemist has been translated into 52 languages. I can go on and on hipping accolades on the man but I won't. What I want you to know about Coelho is that he discovered his dream at an early age. He knew he wanted to be a writer, but his practical parents dissuaded him. His father was an engineer and mother a housewife. They told him to become a lawyer. My African people, does this sound familiar?
Apparently, the boy did what every being possed with a mission would do. He refused. He was institutionalised for several years, and when released, he became a hippie and eventually ended up a writer.
So, tell me about the obstacles keeping you from pursuing your dreams again...
#FBF #TBT #Throwback
Let's jump into Kulture Time Machine #KTM real quick to go back to how I discovered this book. It was six years ago back in Augusta, Georgia when someone mentioned Paulo Coelho to me. I recall asking a bibliophile friend of mine if I could send her a copy of a rough draft on a short story I was working on. A week after I sent the draft, she sent me this text "whenever you have a chance, find the alchemist." I had no idea what she meant. Being the proud man that I am, I was not about to admit that to her. She said the piece was interesting and that it reminded her a bit of the alchemist. Thats all the explanation I got. Almost a here later, I saw a tweet about Paulo Coelho's bestseller, The Alchemist.
I thought to myself, what the heck, why not. That was when my journey to look for the Alchemist started. I first Googled how to pronounce Coelho why, well I was vain and wanted to sound like I knew what I was talking about before heading out to the used bookstores in Downtown Augusta. A few days later, I found the book.
For The Culture:
If you know how the podcast usually goes, you know this is the segment where we get to apply what we are discussing things going on in our community. Just because Paulo is not a Black man does not mean we cannot relate to the messages in his book. Some of us misunderstand what it means to be pro-Black. Being pro-black does not mean you are against all things non-Black. No, it means you are able to take those things, examine them, and see how they can benefit your community.
I want to start off with this quote from the book:
"Everyone on earth has a treasure that awaits him"
Okay, let's break this down. We all have a purpose in our lives people. If someone has ever told you that your life has no meaning, that is a lie. You exist because there is something on this you were created to accomplish. What that something is, I do not know but that my friend, is your treasure. The man born in the hood has the same value on this earth as the man born in a fancy neighbourhood. The difference might be the path and length of their individual journeys.
Now some of you might be thinking that I have no idea what I'm talking about. Or that was not born in the hood. Or being African limits my Black experience, especially in America. It is true our experiences might be different. It is also true that we have all at some point in our lives accepted the world's greatest lie.
“At a certain point in our lives, we lose control of what’s happening to us, and our lives become controlled by fate. That’s the world’s greatest lie.”
You don't believe me? Check this, how many times have you, or someone you know said that no matter what you do, society will never recognise you, so you are better not even trying? You say this because you believe that this is the Black fate. No sir, no ma'am. We are in control of everything that happens in our lives. We make decisions (sometimes stupid ones) that affect our lives. Yes, the doors might be shut in our faces but bro, there is more than one way into a building. Ask a firefighter.
Oh but Ish, how can you sit there and try to tell me that I can do anything if I put my mind to it? If this is your question right now, let me drop these gems real quick.
“People are capable at any time in their lives, of doing what they dream of.”
“When a person really desires something, all the universe conspires to help that person to realise his dream.”
So, if you know that you are capable of doing anything you dream of and that the Universe herself is on your side, what are you waiting for? Oh, I get it. You are afraid that you might fail. Maybe this dream you've had all these years will fail and your family and friends will laugh at you or worse, they will be disappointed by your failure.
Wait, maybe that's not what you are afraid of. Are you like the crystal, merchant? Are you worried that you might actually succeed and will have to go outside your comfort zone? That in itself will be a type of failure because now people are going to expect you to continue to win, which will make a failure ten times crushing.
If you are staying away from becoming the next big thing because you are afraid, fam you are listening to the poster child of failure. Even now, there tons of things I am failing at but I keep pushing anyway because I have no other choice. That brings me to this quote:
"And, when you can't go back, you have to worry only about the best way of moving forward."
Sure, you might think I'm talking a big game.
The Alchemist addresses this idea of fear in a way that I think will benefit you:
"There is only one thing that makes a dream impossible to achieve: the fear of failure."
“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.”
“People are afraid to pursue their most important dreams because they feel that they don’t deserve them, or that they’ll be unable to achieve them.”
Fear is a natural emotion. I am fearful of many things. But do not let your fear of failure immobilise your dreams. Sure you might fail one or two times, but what kid learned to walk without ever crawling or falling? However, I try to face my fears whenever I can. Me talking to you right now is an example of me meeting my fear of failure. I'm only 8 episodes in. I don't know where this podcast will end or if it will ever pick up steam. What I do know is that I have dreamed of sharing my voice with the world for as long as I can remember, and every episode I publish is a step closer to my dream.
If you don't listen to any of the things I have shared so far, I want you to consider this:
"Everyone seems to have a clear idea of how other people should lead their lives, but none about his or her own"
Yes, I include myself in this category but the reason I bring this up is that we Black people are notorious for crying down our brothers and sisters. We will discredit a Black-owned business in a heartbeat but turn around and buy the same product or service from a non-Black business. I have read countless condemning comments on Instagram under posts by Black companies.
I remember telling a relative that I wanted to pursue Genetic Engineering when I had just moved to the United States. Relative douche's response was something like "are you sure you are smart enough to do it? I think you should just look for something else." This relative had only known me for less than a week in America and had no knowledge of my academic history. Or here is another instance when my mother was told by this same relative to decline a music scholarship that was offered to my older brother when he was a teenager. Again, relative douche said, "oh they are only doing that because he's black and they don't think he'll amount to anything." My mother, being the family person she is, listened to douche.
But guess what, thirty or so years later, my brother is one of the most respected Afrobeats DJs in the DMV area. He travels all over the place playing music. This was his dream, and he pursued it despite the obstacles. I digress. My point is, people in your community will try to convince you that you are not worthy or that you will fail.
"If someone isn't what others want them to be, the others become angry."
Let them be angry. Wakanda all over their stank faces and even stankier attitudes with your success. See what I just did there?
For this segment, I am just going to say that after six years and countless readings, I have still not reached my personal treasure. Like Santiago, I have had my share of mistakes and trials along the way. I have had to pay certain gypsies during my journey, but I have also met my Melchizedek several times now. My prophet would call him my destiny helper. We all have our destiny helpers. Mine I know is a man. I have met him in several older men who have given me keys into rooms I had never thought I'd enter. At other times, I have heard his voice in the words of awesome people like Luvvie Ajayi, Yvonne Orji, Jay Shetty, Nelson Mandela, Rohan Gilkes, Dave Anderson the Business Bully, and plenty more people who have changed my year.
Unlike Santiago, I have not been as receptive in the past, but I hope you will not be like me. So today, I'll leave you with these words:
“Never stop dreaming.”
“Remember that wherever your heart is, there you will find your treasure.”
“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.”
“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.”
"When we strive to become better than we are, everything around us becomes better too."