The Alchemist: Paulo Coelho

Artwork by Llew Mejia

Artwork by Llew Mejia

Tim-col2About the author: Tim van der Vliet is just an ordinary guy a light view on spirituality that he calls ‘Zen from Amsterdam’A full time writer, he’s the author of Spiritual Awakening (the easy way).
To learn more about his work, visit Tim’s website, follow him on Twitter and “like” his Facebook page.


Arguably Coelho’s most famous novel, The Alchemist follows a young Andalusian shepherd named Santiago in his journey to Egypt, after having a recurring dream of finding treasure there.

Right at the beginning an old man tells Santiago: “there where your tears will fall down on earth, you’ll find your treasure”. This sentence really struck me. Perhaps my tears over losing everything I thought I owned weren’t so bad after all…


You see, about 10 years ago I had the experience of losing it all. I was working as a financial trader at the time – one of those guys in coloured jackets screaming prices – and everything was going swimmingly. Then something changed in my head… I started to worry. In the financial markets worrying, and fear in general, makes you lose money. I identified with my fear to the point of embodying the sheer terror of losing my moolah. For six months I lived in a self-created nightmare, which culminated in me losing every last penny I had made in the markets.

Shortly after I encountered this financial loss, with a wife and 3 children at home, I was having a drink with one of my friends who is also a banker. We were talking about the downturn I was in (he paid for the beers) and he suggested that I might want to read a book called The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho. At the time I really only read the Financial Times, but I took my banking buddy’s suggestion seriously. A few days later he gave me the book with a smile, and told me “Time for a change.”


The Alchemist and author Paulo Coelho (via Anton Nordenfur)


The core message I got from this book was that we all write our own legend. The only obligation we have is to live that legend.

The places we think our life can’t be any darker is actually where the light shines. To put it another way; the darker it is, the better you can see the stars. When I lost my money, my ego was terribly hurt. I felt so small. I was a complete failure. The Alchemist gave me a little light just when my life was at it’s darkest point. With the idea that I too was writing my own legend, I realised that every good story has the part where things seem so dark that you want to give up. I started to accept my fate.

I learned that hitting rock bottom and feeling like a complete failure sometimes is just a part of life. Everyone hits rock bottom a few times. I understood and felt these life lessons from the bottom of my heart:

  1. The fear of losing something is worse than actually losing it. We can never prepare for the ugly stuff that will happen in our lives. And nobody is exempted from hitting rock bottom.
  2. Although my nightmare became reality, I found that 99% of our fears never do. Maybe it’s human to worry, but it is also a waste of time.
  3. With no money left I still was able to live in our house (thanks, Mum!) with my beautiful wife and our three gorgeous children. Even if you think you’ve lost everything, there is always something to be grateful for. There is always light at the end of the tunnel.
Life is good if you have been rockbottom-2

Post-It Note wisdom by Tim


I still live these truths. And although I still hit rock bottom once in a while, I know and feel that whatever happens in life, I will be ok. I have unlimited faith in my destiny. I am writing my own legend. And these days I get to write and speak on stage about it. If you are writing your own legend, you are taking authority in your own hands; taking full responsibility for your own life. And this is where the magic of life starts to unfold.

While writing this I am listening to music and Swedish House Mafia sings “Don’t you worry, don’t you worry child. You see heaven’s got a plan for you”. Do we need more of a divine sign?

I feel blessed to share this transformational book and my story with you. Thank you!


Join Tim for a free online webinar on Wednesday 16th April from 7:00pm (BST)! Learn more & RSVP on Facebook…


One response to “The Alchemist: Paulo Coelho

  1. Pingback: Paulo Cuelho's Alchemist Tim van der Vliet : Tim van der Vliet·

Add your thoughts

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s