In Paulo Coelho’s classic book, The Alchemist, Santiago, a shepherd turned adventurer encounters an ancient king who encourages him to pursue his “personal legend.” For Santiago, his personal legend is pursuing a dream he had of treasure he found near the Egyptian Pyramids. He encounters many trials and tribulations along the way that almost prevent him from adventure. Many of these trials are moments of bad luck or chance encounters with people who are also on their own journeys in life. He receives different pieces of advice and opinions about how to lead his life and he almost stops his journey multiple times along the way.
Luckily, he’s able to continue listening to his heart and not give up his journey – his destiny. It’s a remarkable story with so many relatable lessons about courage, love, and belief.
For me, the biggest takeaway from the book is the concept of a personal legend. We all have one. We may have stopped listening to it a long time ago by stopping to listen to our hearts but it was once there. We all have that dream – whatever it is for you, specifically – to pursue, but whether it’s comfort, fear, uncertainty, expectations, etc. we decided to forgo it for what we have right now.
Lately, I’ve been feeling a pressure on myself to pursue my personal legend. To keep building this blog and my podcast. But I feel like I’ve been doing it for the wrong reasons. Having launched the blog and the podcast, and now that it’s “out there” in the world I feel this pressure to deliver a product/outcome/result to people. It’s sucked all the joy out of this process for me as this internal pressure has mounted on myself. The whole point of this project was to pursue my own personal legend – not to make something for other people.
It might sound a bit selfish but I don’t think it is. When we pursue our personal legends we’re doing work that matters to us. That will allow us to show up as our fulsome selves with others whether that be our friends, family, or even strangers. To not pursue your personal legend is a bit like sacrificing yourself for the sake of others. You’ll end up bitter and disappointed that you never even tried going on the journey and that’s bound the impact those around you.
I’m committed to writing this blog and producing my podcast for myself because it’s my personal legend. It’ll happen bit by bit over month after month over year after year but the goal here is to not let myself give up on what my heart wants. And neither should you.
I wish you all the best in your pursuit for your personal legend. As the ancient king in the book says, “maktoub” (it is written).