Caution: Spoilers Ahead!
Soon before I had the epiphany to launch Eternal Roots, I was listening to The Alchemist on Audible. I love this app. You download audiobooks directly to your mobile device, and can listen to books anywhere you go. I listen while driving, walking around town, and at the gym. The Alchemist, among others, had a tremedous impact on my decision to launch Eternal Roots, and to ride out the adversity that came.
First, a brief summary of the novel. The Alchemist is a fascinating story about a Spanish sheepherder who craved adventure. The book commences at an abandoned church in the country, where the boy spent the night with his flock. Herding sheep used to satisfy the boy's desire for adventure, but he was having strange dreams, and sought out a gypsy to interpret his dreams. The gypsy said he needed to travel to the pyramids in Egypt, and she was so certain his dreams foretold real fortune that she demanded a percentage of the proceeds as payment for her service. The boy then set out on an adventure across the Sahara in pursuit of his personal legend. The theme of the book is that once you identify your personal legend, and decide to take action, the Universe will initially conspire in your favor. This is known as Beginner's Luck. However, the Universe will then test your resolve and challenge you, over and over. The boy's journey included abandonment in a foreign land, robbery, beatings, death threats, loneliness, self doubt and despair. While his resolve often wavered, and he desired to quit and return home to his flock, he overcame the challenges, and ultimately learned the treasure he sought was located in the very abandoned church where the story began. He had to travel to Egypt to learn that the treasure was right under his feet.
The whole point of the book was that he had to grow and develop his character before he could have the treasure. He had to overcome the challenges the Universe threw at him. The Universe doesn't just give you anything; you have to earn it. This boy was tempted over and over to give up and return home, but eventually he got so far, and became penniless, that giving up was no longer an option. That's the meaning I took from this novel. If you aren't successful yet, you haven't earned the privilege of success. If you desire a significant treasure, you must grow into the person who deserves such a treasure.
When I first listened to The Alchemist, I hadn't yet conceived of the Eternal Roots concept. Frankly, I was uncertain how the book applied to my life, although I enjoyed it and thought I understood the story. After I hatched the idea for Eternal Roots, and started encountering the invitable challenges of growing a business from the ground up, I started seeing parallels between my journey and the boy travelling across the Sahara in pursuit of his personal legend.
I'll write separately about all the challenges I've faced here, but my resolve has absolutely been tested. Every decision or idea I've had during this adventure has collided with challenges. I read in another book by Grant Cardone, The 10X Rule, that most people quit their businesses because they fail to comprehend the amount of work necessary to bring a new product or service to the marketplace. Even if you give your product away for free, it will take way more effort to succeed than you ever foresaw. That has proven true here.
Every time I face a challenge here, I accept that I am being tested, and see every roadblock as an opportunity for growth. Finding solutions for problems is exhilarating. In retrospect (not always in the moment), I'm grateful for every challenge because I learn and grow every time. I'm not the same person I was when I hatched this crazy idea, and I know I'll be a completely different person a year from now.
Now go read The Alchemist and pursue your own personal legend!
About the Blog
Here I write about the evolution of this project, the act of preserving life stories and personal development. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoy writing it.