Personal Legends and the Writer’s Journey

I recently (finally) got around to reading Paulo Coelho’s The Alchemist. And let me tell you. Wow. I really truly believe that this is the book to read for anyone with a dream. And don’t worry, this post will be spoiler-free!

Coelho spends  a lot of time in this story discussing the idea of the Personal Legend. This is a person’s one true purpose in life, that one task or livelihood or ultimate goal that drives a person. In the story, the universe will work together to help a person achieve their personal legend… but only if they are actively working toward it and don’t push it off until you miss your opportunity. We also meet and hear about various people who had a Personal Legend and put it off until they simply fell into a pattern of complacency, forgetting their one true dream.

How true is this for us? When we are young, we dream big and imagine meeting our goals and dreams, never questioning that we will reach them. As we get older, reality hits us, and we often let our dreams falter under the pressure of demands like work, family, school, and everything else that can so easily take up all our time, energy, and money. We become those complacent people who give up or forget what our dreams are, what our true purpose is. We so often let ourselves be defeated by life.

I think anyone who had a childhood dream (which is everyone) should take a few hours and read this book. It’s short, but its ideas are eternal. Take a few minutes and remember what your dreams are. Rediscover your Personal Legend. Figure out how you can make real strides toward it, whether it’s taking a class, dedicating ten minutes a day to pursuing it, doing some internet searches, or making some big changes in your life.

Keep yourself moving forward, whether you are succeeding or failing (because really, those terms just describe how you look at it… even failures can be successes and steps in the right direction. Watch Disney’s Meet the Robinsons for some good inspiration there). Just keep taking steps in that direction. The speed doesn’t matter as long as you are moving.

Whatever you do, fight complacency. Fight the drudgery of reality. Follow your Personal Legend.

So, it’s your turn. What are your Personal Legends? What has kept you from pursuing them? How can you change that? Tell me in the comments below!

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