I love to read. In 2018, my good friend, Charlie Jordan, challanged me to start a reading list. Since that time, I have averaged more than 15 books per year on a wide range of topics. This has been a great source of knowledge, exploration and personal growth. Starting this year (2023), I realized that 2-3 books were worthy of an annual re-read. Ironically, they are the same books that I find myself giving away multiple times throughout the year.
Perhaps my favorite is The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho. I had the chance to re-read this book last week, and it's amazing how the story takes a deeper meaning the second time around. For those who have not read this great work, I will not spoil the story. But, there is a great conversation early in the book between the main character (the boy) and an old man regarding a book...
["It's a book that says the same thing almost all the other books in the world say," continued the old man. "It describes people's inability to choose their own Personal Legends. And it ends up saying that everyone believes the worlds greatest lie."
"What is the worlds greatest lie?" the boy asked, completely surprised.
"It's this: that at a certian point in our lives, we lose control of what's happening to us, and our livest become controlled by fate. That's the world's greatest life."]
Now, The Alchemist was written over 30 years ago... and this statement is so true today. This theme, of which I have been describing the past few weeks as getting out of living your life on autopilot - is just as true today as it was in 1993.
I am guilty of falling victim to this lie. I hear myself saying "I have too", "I have no choice", "It's the way it is"... but the reality is that we have far more agency in our lives and intentionality in our decisions that we realize. The key is to become aware and to chose.
Perhaps a worthy thought for your cup of coffee this weekend.