Published in 1988 in Brazil, “The Alchemist” by Paulo Coelho, is the story of a shepherd in search of a treasure that was revealed to him in a prophetic dream. It is a tale that takes the main character on an arduous journey of struggles and self-discovery. Without revealing too much of the plot (in case you want to read the book), the main character must make a number of sacrifices and is tested many times before he reaches his journey’s end. The main theme of the book is finding one’s true path, and in some ways, the book provides more insight into one’s own life than it does to the story of the protagonist.
Gurbaksh Singh Chahal has said that his favorite book is “The Alchemist” because “it reminds us what life is all about.” “The Alchemist” offers us all many life lessons, and those lessons can help us determine if we are on the right path, or how we can better our own lives. The following teachings from the book can maybe provide us all with a little more direction in the way we are living right now.
New experiences may seem dangerous, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t worth the risk
A lot of Gurbaksh Singh Chahal’s life seems to be governed by this principle. Leaving school and starting your own company at 16 are huge risks. It’s like jumping off a cliff without being able to see where you’ll land. However, if he hadn’t stepped off that cliff, he never would have found his passion for technology, and he never would have been able to build the companies and foundations that he has today. Chahal may have gotten lucky, but if he hadn’t taken that first step, there’s every chance he would not have found the success that he has been able to find.
Ignore what might seem unrealistic
The future is bright in Gurbaksh Singh Chahal’s eyes. He sees great hope in technology, a better future for children around the world, and improvements in international education. You can’t ignore his optimism, and it shouldn’t be mistaken for naivete. There need to be people in this world who see beyond the limitations of the present, and Chahal is one of those people. When you work with someone who has that vision, it allows you (or your business) to go beyond what is ordinary or expected. To bring about the next steps of change in technology and our society requires someone who can, and wants to, explore all that is or can be possible.
Share your success
Success is a wonderful thing, but what is the point of hoarding it? So many people can benefit from what we all individually have to offer the world. Gurbaksh Singh Chahal did this in many ways, but most notably by creating The Chahal Foundation to combat issues like sex trafficking, conditions of schools in third world countries. If you don’t give back in some way, or create something you can share with others, what’s the point of being successful? Success is like wealth: it is not something to be hoarded, but rather to be shared in a way that the most people can gain from it.
Nothing in our lives can be taken for granted, and there are no guarantees that everything will always work out or always be perfect. When things do work out, reflecting on who helped get you there and what lessons you learned are critical, because chances they will help you further down the road. If you are not grateful for where you are or from you came, your life lacks purpose. People are always made of more than the money in the bank or the newest product they just created, and it’s important to remember that.
Why These Lessons Are Important to Gurbaksh Singh Chahal
Gurbaksh Singh Chahal came from humble roots. Born in India, and immigrating to the United States with his family, Chahal has worked and struggled for everything he has built. It took him years to find success, but since then, he has stayed true to his family, to his home country, and to the belief that there is more to a business than just making money. The journey of the protagonist of “The Alchemist” hits home for Chahal because in many ways, it is an allegory of his own life. It is an allegory for all our lives: we all may find ourselves in difficult places, but if we persevere, and stay true to ourselves and our beliefs, we will find what we are looking for in the end.