Dade Freeman
Photographer & Trainer
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Paulo Coelho

Inspiration comes in many forms, and it's worth keeping an open mind, because sometimes it comes at the most unexpected times and places. While walking through Tesco (some years back), I ventured down the book aisle and amongst the books for sale was The Alchemist. I wasn't aware of its content, in fact, I had never heard of the title, yet something told me to pick it up and buy it, so I did. Once home, I started reading it straight away and it instantly struck a chord with me.

The Alchemistis a novel by Paulo Coelho, first published in 1988, which has been translated into 67 languages and to date over twenty-one million copies have been sold.

It's a simple story of a shepherd boy, Santiago (whose name is mentioned just once, on the first page), who goes on a magical and personal journey of self-discovery. As I read on, I felt a strong resonance with my own life and the way it could, and perhaps should, go.

The Alchemist book by Paulo Coelho
The Alchemist book by Paulo Coelho

[pull_quote_right][/pull_quote_right]I must tell you now that I have helped keep this book's sales up as I have must have purchased it about ten times - having 'lent' out my copy or given it away to someone I thought might benefit from it. I have again replaced my own copy and have also purchased the audio version and eBook, just so I have it on hand, although surprisingly I have not re-read it since.

Loosely, the book advises you to have the courage to follow your dreams and warns that if you do not, you are doomed to a life of emptiness, misery and dissatisfaction. The greatest obstacle to true happiness is the fear of failure! Interestingly, the book alludes to the fact that 'the signs' we are looking for are typically all around us, if we are ready to see and accept them.

The book is littered with wonderful quotes but my favourites are - “It's the possibility of having a dream come true that makes life interesting” and “When you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.”

The Alchemist is a wonderfully inspiring story that I think everyone should read and, if it helps you on your personal journey, all the better.

Obviously, with photography being my chosen industry, I am influenced by lots of wonderful photographers and their work. However, they are not my only influences. Make sure you look outside your own industry to see what else you can incorporate and learn from in order to help you grow and move forward.

A final thought and quote: “Everyone seems to have a clear idea of how other people should lead their lives, but none about their own.”