100 powerful quotes from the book: The Alchemist

Mary Good Books
9 min readMay 25, 2023

When you really want something, the universe always conspires in your favor.

The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

They say wisdom meets you where you’re at. You won’t understand anything above your current level of comprehension.

That’s what happened when I read The Alchemist for the first time, three years ago. I was able to comprehend only a little from the story.

But then I had decided to read the book for the second time and I couldn’t believe the wisdom I was able to decipher on life purpose, dreams, decisions, persistence, mindfulness, love, learning, meditating, courage and others.

I collected these 100 powerful quotes from the book, hopefully you will be able to resonate with them, or at least some of them. Good luck!

1. We have to be prepared for change.

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

3. A shepherd always takes his chances with wolves and with drought, and that’s what makes a shepherd’s life exciting.

4. It’s the simple things in life that are the most extraordinary; only wise men are able to understand them.

5. When someone sees the same people every day, as had happened with him at the seminary, they wind up becoming a part of that person’s life.

6. Everyone seems to have a clear idea of how other people should lead their lives, but none about his or her own.

7. 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.

8. They wanted me to be a priest, but I decided to become a shepherd.

9. People say strange things, the boy thought. Sometimes it’s better to be with the sheep, who don’t say anything. And better still to be alone with one’s books.

10. Everyone, when they are young, knows what their Personal Legend is. At that point in their lives, everything is clear and everything is possible.

11. Whoever you are, or whatever it is that you do, when you really want something, it’s because that desire originated in the soul of the universe. It’s your mission on earth.

12. To realize one’s Personal Legend is a person’s only real obligation. All things are one.

13. And, when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.

14. People are capable, at any time in their lives, of doing what they dream of.

15. The miner was about to give it all up, right at the point when, if he were to examine just one more stone — just one more — he would find his emerald.

16. People learn, early in their lives, what is their reason for being. Maybe that’s why they give up on it so early, too.

17. If you start out by promising what you don’t even have yet, you’ll lose your desire to work toward getting it.

18. In any case, it’s good that you’ve learned that everything in life has its price

19. Sometimes it’s better to leave things as they are, he thought to himself, and decided to say nothing.

20. He had to choose between something he had become accustomed to and something he wanted to have.

21. When each day is the same as the next, it’s because people fail to recognize the good things that happen in their lives every day that the sun rises.

22. There was nothing to hold him back except himself

23. It’s called the principle of favourability. When you play cards the first time, you are almost sure to win.

24. You cannot trust a man if you don’t know his house

25. The secret of happiness is to see all the marvels of the world, and never to forget the drops of oil on the spoon.

26. The boy knew that in money there was magic; whoever has money is never really alone.

27. I’m like everyone else — I see the world in terms of what I would like to see happen, not what actually does.

28. Learn to recognize omens, and follow them

29. This wasn’t a strange place; it was a new one.

30. He realized that he had to choose between thinking of himself as the poor victim of a thief and as an adventurer in quest of his treasure. “I’m an adventurer, looking for treasure,” he said to himself.

31. He had not a cent in his pocket, but he had faith.

32. We have to take advantage when luck is on our side, and do as much to help it as it’s doing to help us

33. Not everyone can see his dreams come true in the same way.

34. You must always know what it is that you want.

35. I have been told that beauty is the great seducer of men

36. Every blessing ignored becomes a curse.

37. “Never stop dreaming,” the old king had said. “Follow the omens.”

38. When someone makes a decision, he is really diving into a strong current that will carry him to places he had never dreamed of when he first made the decision

39. The desert is a capricious lady, and sometimes she drives men crazy

40. The closer one gets to realizing his Personal Legend, the more that Personal Legend becomes his true reason for being

41. I’ve learned things from the sheep, and I’ve learned things from crystal, he thought. I can learn something from the desert, too.

42. The boy was beginning to understand that intuition is really a sudden immersion of the soul into the universal current of life, where the histories of all people are connected, and we are able to know everything, because it’s all written there

43. People need not fear the unknown if they are capable of achieving what they need and want.

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

45. “Once you get into the desert, there’s no going back,” said the camel driver. “And, when you can’t go back, you have to worry only about the best way of moving forward.”

46. “And you ought to read more about the world,” answered the Englishman. “Books are like caravans in that respect.”

47. Everything on earth is being continuously transformed, because the earth is alive . . . and it has a soul. We are part of that soul, so we rarely recognize that it is working for us.

48. The caravan and the desert speak the same language, and it’s for that reason that the desert allows the crossing. It’s going to test the caravan’s every step to see if it’s in time, and, if it is, we will make it to the oasis.

49. He had said that it was a good thing for the boy to clean the crystal pieces, so that he could free himself from negative thoughts

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

51. “Everyone has his or her own way of learning things,” he said to himself. “His way isn’t the same as mine, nor mine as his. But we’re both in search of our Personal Legends, and I respect him for that.”

52. I’m alive. When I’m eating, that’s all I think about. If I’m on the march, I just concentrate on marching.

53. I don’t live in either my past or my future. I’m interested only in the present. If you can concentrate always on the present, you’ll be a happy man

54. Life is the moment we’re living right now

55. The closer he got to the realization of his dream, the more difficult things became

56. Don’t be impatient. Eat when it’s time to eat. And move along when it’s time to move along.

57. It was love. Something older than humanity, more ancient than the desert. Something that exerted the same force whenever two pairs of eyes met

58. He had been told by his parents and grandparents that he must fall in love and really know a person before becoming committed.

59. 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

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

61. I must have no fear of failure. It was my fear of failure that first kept me from attempting the Master Work.

62. Now, I’m beginning what I could have started ten years ago. But I’m happy at least that I didn’t wait twenty years.

63. The secret is here in the present. If you pay attention to the present, you can improve upon it. And, if you improve on the present, what comes later will also be better.

64. To die tomorrow was no worse than dying on any other day.

65. Every day was there to be lived or to mark one’s departure from this world

66. “Be careful with your prognostications,” said the stranger. “When something is written, there is no way to change it.”

67. Courage is the quality most essential to understanding the Language of the World

68. “It’s not what enters men’s mouths that’s evil,” said the alchemist. “It’s what comes out of their mouths that is.”

69. Rest well tonight, as if you were a warrior preparing for combat

70. Remember that wherever your heart is, there you will find your treasure.

71. Life attracts life

72. You must understand that love never keeps a man from pursuing his Personal Legend. If he abandons that pursuit, it’s because it wasn’t true love

73. One is loved because one is loved. No reason is needed for loving

74. Don’t think about what you’ve left behind

75. If what one finds is made of pure matter, it will never spoil. And one can always come back. If what you had found was only a moment of light, like the explosion of a star, you would find nothing on your return.

76. “There is only one way to learn,” the alchemist answered. “It’s through action.”

77. I’m an alchemist simply because I’m an alchemist.

78. “They were looking only for gold,” his companion answered. “They were seeking the treasure of their Personal Legend, without wanting actually to live out the Personal Legend”

79. 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

80. Listen to your heart. It knows all things, because it came from the Soul of the World, and it will one day return there.

81. Treason is a blow that comes unexpectedly. If you know your heart well, it will never be able to do that to you. Because you’ll know its dreams and wishes, and will know how to deal with them.

82. You will never be able to escape from your heart. So it’s better to listen to what it has to say. That way, you’ll never have to fear an unanticipated blow.

83. 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.

84. Tell your heart that the fear of suffering is worse than the suffering itself.

85. 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.

86. When I have been truly searching for my treasure, I’ve discovered things along the way that I never would have seen had I not had the courage to try things that seemed impossible for a shepherd to achieve.

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

88. Before a dream is realized, the Soul of the World tests everything that was learned along the way.

89. Every search begins with beginner’s luck. And every search ends with the victor’s being severely tested.

90. The darkest hour of the night came just before the dawn.

91. When you possess great treasures within you, and try to tell others of them, seldom are you believed.

92. “You dominated those horsemen with the way you looked at them,” he said.

93. Your eyes show the strength of your soul.

94. Don’t let them see that you’re afraid.

95. There is only one thing that makes a dream impossible to achieve: the fear of failure.

96. Usually the threat of death makes people a lot more aware of their lives.

97. When we strive to become better than we are, everything around us becomes better, too.

98. Everything that happens once can never happen again. But everything that happens twice will surely happen a third time.

99. 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.

100. “What good is money to you if you’re going to die? It’s not often that money can save someone’s life,” the alchemist had said.