Life-Changing Quotes from Paulo Coelho’s The Alchemist

“Fairly okay book – one good thing about it though is that it’s got a bunch of quotable lines,” was the comment from one of my colleagues when I asked her about Paulo Coelho’s The Alchemist.

During that time, we were talking about books in our office and I was recommending the book to the others saying I’ve read it countless times and it never fails to inspire me. I told them I even cried thrice when I read it for the first time. 

Maybe we were just really exhausted from work that one time – it was afternoon after all, about 3pm – because they did not take my extremely common enthusiasm seriously. I’m really easily hyped with so many things that, maybe, they thought it was just one of my “hype attacks.”

Although I failed in convincing my other colleagues to read the Alchemist, I found out that the two of us in the office who have read it agree on one thing: it’s rich with quotable lines.

Here is a list of all my favorite quotes from the book (and I’m gonna try a subtler approach by making my colleagues read this article instead – not giving up, baby!). Personally, these quotes contributed significantly to my thoughts and my decisions ever since.

I believe Santiago’s story and these quotes altered my perspective –and in a sense, actually changed my life.

Quotes About Purpose

01. “It’s the possibility of having a dream come true that makes life interesting.”

02. “’What’s the world’s greatest lie?’ the boy asked, completely surprised. ‘It’s this: that 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.’”

03. “The boy felt jealous of the freedom of the wind, and saw that he could have the same freedom.”

04. “God has prepared a path for everyone to follow. You just have to read the omens that he left for you.”

05. “As he mused about these things, he realized that he had to choose between thinking of himself as a poor victim of a thief, or as an adventurer in quest of his treasure.”

06. “One always had something that the other needed –as if everything were indeed written by one Hand.”

07. “’Never stop dreaming,’ the old king had said. ‘Follow the omens.’”

08. “In his pursuit of the dream, he was being constantly subjected to tests of persistence and courage. So he could not be hasty nor impatient.”

09. “The Alchemist said, ‘No matter what he does, every person on earth plays a central role in the history of the world. And normally he doesn’t know it.”

10. “It’s true; life really is generous to those who pursue their Personal Legend, the boy thought.”

Quotes About Destiny

01. “Sometimes, there’s just no way to hold back the river.”

02. “We are afraid of losing what we have, whether it’s our life or our possessions or our property. But this fear evaporates when we understand that our life stories and the history of the world were written by the same Hand.”

03. “And when you can’t go back, you have to worry only about the best way of moving forward.”

04. “God revealed his secrets easily to his creatures.”

05. “The camel driver had asked what the circumstances were under which God would allow him to see the future. ‘Only when he, himself, reveals it. And God only rarely reveals the future. When he does so, it is for only one reason: it’s a future that was written so as to be altered.’”

06. "Remember that wherever your heart is, there will you find your treasure.”

07. “The boy reached through 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.”

Quotes About Harmony

01. “‘All things are one,’ the old man had said.”

02. “But there was one idea that manifested itself in all the books. All things are the manifestation of one thing only.”

03. “Because I don’t live in either my past or my future. I’m interested only in the present. If you can concentrate always in the present, you’ll be a happy man. You’ll see that there is life in the desert, that there are stars in the heavens, and that tribesmen fight because they are part of the human race. Life will be a party for you, a grand festival, because life is the moment you are living right now.”

04. “Because people become fascinated with pictures and words, and wind up forgetting the Language of the World.”

05. “Remember what I told you: the world is only the visible aspect of God. And what Alchemy does is to bring spiritual perfection into contact with the material plane.”

06. “I learned the Alchemist’s secrets in my travels. I have inside me the winds, the deserts, the oceans, the stars, and everything created in the Universe. We were all made by the same hand, and we have the same soul.”

Quotes About Faith

01. “If God leads the sheep so well, he will also lead a man, he thought, and that made him feel better.”

02. “Forget about the future, and live each day according to the teachings, confident that God loves his children. Each day, in itself, brings with it an eternity.”

03. “The boy remembered an old proverb from his country. It said that the darkest hour of the night came just before the dawn.”

Quotes About Focus

01. “Don’t forget that everything you deal with is only one thing and nothing else.”

02. “You must love the desert, but never trust it completely. Because the desert tests all men: it challenges every step, and kills those who become distracted.”

Quotes About Self-Control

01. “‘Well there is only one piece of advice I can give you,’ said the wisest of wise men. ‘The secret of happiness is to see all the marvels of the world, and never forget the drops of oil on the spoon.’”

02. “If he pushed forward impulsively, he would fail to see the signs and omens left by God along his path.”

03. “‘Don’t be impatient,’ he repeated to himself. ‘It’s like the camel driver said: Eat when it’s time to eat. And move along when it’s time to move along.’”

04. “You must not let up, even after having come so far.”

Quotes About Karma

01. “Today, I understand something I didn’t see before: every blessing ignored becomes a curse.”

02. “But arms cannot be drawn unless they also go into battle. Arms are as capricious as the desert, and, if they are not used, the next time they might not function.”

03. “Most people see the world as a threatening place, and, because they do, the world turns out, indeed, to be a threatening place.”

04. “‘No one fails to suffer the consequences of everything under the sun.’ All things are one, the boy thought.”

05. “And anyone who interferes with the personal Legends of another thing will never discover his own.”

06. “‘But this payment goes well beyond my generosity,’ the monk responded. ‘Don’t say that again. Life might be listening, and give you less next time.’”

Quotes About Perseverance

01. “It’s only those who are persistent, and willing to study things deeply, who achieve the Master Work.”

02. “‘There is only one way to learn,’ the Alchemist answered. ‘It is through action. Everything you need to know you have learned through your journey.’”

03. “What you still need to know is this: before a dream is realized, the Soul of the World tests everything that was learned along the way. It does this not because it’s evil, but so that we can, in addition to realizing our dreams, master the lessons we’ve learned as we’ve moved toward that dream. That’s the point at which most people give up. It’s the point at which, as we say in the language of the desert, one dies of thirst just when the palm trees have appeared on the horizon.”

Quotes About Love

01. “…he learned the most important part of the Language that all the world spoke –the Language that everyone on earth was capable of understanding in their heart. It was love. Something older than humanity, more ancient than the desert.”

02. “And when two such people encounter each other, and their eyes meet, the past and the future become unimportant. There is only that moment, and the incredible certainty that everything under the sun has been written by one hand only. It is the hand that evokes love, and creates a twin soul for every person in the world. Without such love, one’s dreams would have no meaning.”

03. “He knew that his love for her would enable him to discover every treasure in the world.”

04. “When you are in love, things make more sense, he thought.”

05. “‘Don’t say anything,’ Fatima interrupted, ‘One is loved because one is loved. No reason is needed for loving.’”

06. “If what one finds is made of pure matter, it will never spoil.”

07. “When you are loved, you can do anything in creation. When you are loved, there’s no need at all to understand what’s happening, because everything happens within you, and even men can turn themselves into the wind.”

Quotes About Meditation

01. “It’s the simplest things in life that are the most extraordinary; only wise men are able to understand them.”

02. “The boy was beginning to understand that intuition is really a sudden immersion of the soul into the Universal current of life.”

03. “God created the world so that, through its visible objects, men could understand his spiritual teachings and the marvels of his wisdom.”

04. “The desert will give you and understanding of the world; in fact, anything on the face of the earth will do that. You don’t even have to understand the desert: all you have to do is contemplate a simple grain of sand, and you will see in it all the marvels of creation.”

Quotes About Courage

01. “People need not fear the unknown if they are capable of achieving what they want.”

02. “‘I had to test your courage,’ the stranger said. ‘Courage is the quality most essential to understanding the Language of the World.’”

03. “‘My heart is afraid that it will have to suffer,’ the boy told the Alchemist one night as they looked up at the moonless sky. ‘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.’”

04. “‘Your eyes show the strength of your soul,’ answered the Alchemist.”

05. “‘Don’t let them see that you’re afraid,’ the Alchemist said. ‘They are brave men, and they despise cowards.’”

Finally, one very interesting part of the book tells us about the Emerald Tablet. It’s a small ancient artifact, which, the legends say, contains all the truth of the world.

Given its rich meditative content, perhaps this book by Paulo Coelho can serve as your very own Emerald Tablet. Who knows, maybe the wisdom you need to change your life is just waiting for you in this story of a simple shepherd boy searching for his treasure.

Let me end this with the book's most popular quote that made a difference to perhaps millions of lives: "When you really want something, all the Universe conspires in helping you to achieve it."

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