I was on a bus to Washington D.C when I started reading the book “The Alchemist” by Paul Coelho. It is a really good book that I think everybody should read but while reading the book three quotes stood out to me. I am not overly religious or anything and this is not a post about religion, or a summary of the book, but rather a look at three things that fascinated me most about the book and why.

“Every blessing ignored becomes a curse.”

The above quote is one of my favorite quotes I have read in a long time. The meaning is pretty clear as it means we are all bestowed blessings in life. Whether it be opportunities lost, the people that came into our lives, or that which we have had all along. I believe a blessing is something that somehow found its way into our lives that we are grateful for. I think of curse as any thought that doesn’t evoke positive thoughts until you can forget about it. Think of anybody from your past that you could have been with or a situation you screwed up (we’ve all been on both sides of that one). That is the blessing ignored and the thoughts of what could have been are the curse. Think of those moments in life where you were at a fork in the road and later on you think you should have went the other way. Once you have seen the heights you are capable of reaching, anything below that seems disappointing. Those thoughts of what could have been and the realizations of how much better things could be are the curse. Whether you love the quote or not, we all agree with it. We just choose to use the label regrets instead.


The word maktub which is an Arab phrase that in the book is said to translate to “it is written”. In the book it is said to the main character by a merchant in a way to tell him that everything happens for a reason and that everything in the world is connected in one way or another. It is almost the answer to the first quote because it is meant to say that you have to keep moving and not dwell on the past. If every blessing ignored is a curse, then you just have to learn to live with the curse if the situation is now out of your control. Maktub is a way to say that there is no way to hold back the river that is life. Instead you have to keep on rowing and not try to stall the river.

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

This is another simple quote that means a lot. We all have a dream of some sort that we want to come true. It is this that makes life interesting. Imagine life like a coloring book. When a kid gets a coloring book you notice them having the most fun drawing when they are at the beginning and starting to pick colors and while they are actually doing the coloring. Rarely does a child have the most fun at the end of coloring all the pictures (usually they never open the book ever again). This is like a dream. The most fun and interesting part is the imagining of what exactly you want and the actually going out to get it. This usually spans the better part of a lifetime and at the end, once the dream is achieved, we feel accomplished. It was the road to the dream that kept us interested and focused day in and day out similar to it is the child’s vision on how great the picture will turn out that keeps them drawing.

I encourage everybody to read the book. It is only about 160 pages and I doubt any book so short will make you think as much as this one will.