One of my favorite books I’ve ever read is The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho. The main idea of the story is that each one of us has the opportunity in life to follow our dreams and our destiny. The sad thing though, is that most of us don’t. We give up on our dreams, we lose ambition as we get older, and we settle. Whether it’s a career or even a significant other, we settle for what’s convenient, average, or “okay.” I can’t tell you how many times I’ve asked a friend how his job is going and he’ll say, “Oh, it’s okay” or “It pays the bills” or my favorite: “It sucks, but it’s a job, it’s not supposed to be fun.”
This is settling. This is giving up. And in my opinion, this is sad and pathetic.
So why do people give up on their dreams or their Personal Legends as Paulo Coelho refers to them? Because pursuing a passion is terribly difficult and requires so much sacrifice. Right now I’m seeing this happen. My dream has always been to teach internationally, but in order to achieve this dream I’ve had to sacrifice so much. I gave up a job I loved in California. I’ve said goodbye to students and friends I’ve loved as well. And in less than two weeks I will have to leave my family and even a young woman I am becoming more intimate with to go live in a country for two years where I know virtually no one.
But I’m doing it despite the challenges and obstacles because it feels right. The more I reflect, and the more I question what it is I’m doing, the more confident I feel about my decision. And the people who truly believe in me and care about me, will support me regardless of where I end up in this world, whether it’s Guatemala, France, California, or anywhere else.
If you follow your Personal Legend, if you pursue your dreams, not only will you be happier and more fulfilled, but the world will be far better off as well!