Journey of life (The Alchemist and Elon Musk)


The pursuit of happiness 

Why am I mentioning Elon Musk and the alchemist together? Well maybe I wouldn’t talk about it if I didn’t read these two books at about the same time a few months ago. First I finished reading the Elon Musk biography by Ashlee Vance. Then a few days later I read The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho.

Both of these books left a similar impression on me. So this is what I want to talk about here today. This is my perspective and perception of these both books.

Most of the people put all their efforts and goals in one direction, toward material wealth. The truth is that wealth and money should be used for search, discovery and for new achievements. It should be a resource for our journey of life. An investment and not something that will bind us to one place or one achievement so that it limits us.

In the alchemist book, Santiago had a dilemma about the money he earned. Whether to bind himself to one place, to have a wife and to start a family. And then look for that money and treasure he earned before to not lose it, and to gain even more wealth for his future family needs. That would mean to live a common life that ordinary man lives. By this approach all that money and wealth becomes the ultimate goal instead of resources or tools for some higher goals and achievements.

Santiago’s second option would mean to be ready to invest and spend all the wealth he has gained, in order to gain more important and greater treasure. This option would mean taking the risk of losing everything he had gained, in search of a personal legend. The fact is that through the search for a personal legend he will also gain that material treasure. And in fact the path to that greater and more important treasure is self-knowledge – we’ll find out this later on in the book. 

Material treasure should be a side effect of the search for yourself, of that discovery for what a person is made of, or finding yourself as you really are. And as you really are as a whole you fit into this world, you should be what you are and listen to your heart and do what you are happy with. When you truly do it, when you truly listen and know yourself and your heart, then money and treasure will not matter. Because the true treasure is you, and that material treasure that you acquire and find, it is only a reflection and manifestation of that inner self, that treasure from which you are woven.

Therefore, when you believe in yourself and you are confident enough that you will succeed, then you are ready to make a sacrifice. You are ready to take risks and sacrifice everything you have gained to fulfill the role you are destined for. You have no problem being robbed and stolen five times in a row (Santiago’s adventures) or you don’t have a problem with failure in rocket launching (Elon Musk’s adventures). And every time that happens you just accept that as temporary circumstances and then move on in your quest.

After all, it’s your life and it’s your own journey. That is what makes you special as a person. The ability to believe in yourself and the ability to make a decision based on that faith in yourself. And then making a free choice of what step to take.

When you make a mistake (being robbed or being naive) it’s not the end. It might be an opportunity for something new. A new beginning and an opportunity to do things differently and discover new experiences that will open new doors and new chances for you. Through all that process you will get to know yourself better than if you didn’t make a mistake.

Every mistake, decision, experience or event is a chance to know ourselves better. These are opportunities for expanding one’s own horizons and overcoming his own limits. 

Now this is the part where I want to make a connection between Santiago and Elon Musk. My perspective says that Elon Musk is a modern day Santiago. Why? He is the one who believes in himself enough so he is able to do things that most people will call craziness. If you read his biography you know that he was in situations that can be described as failures or the end of his journey. But on the other hand, what is there to lose? Only the material treasure, wealth and money. That doesn’t worth much, after all it’s only a resource to achieve some higher goals. 

Remember that you have to believe in yourself. This faith is not something you just say and expect some progress or growth. This faith requires your sacrifice. And Musk’s readiness to sacrifice all of his money and wealth is what confirmed his faith in himself. This confirmation is a key element for success, without it no one’s belief doesn’t worth much. 

Now, can you make some airplane rocket that will transport people on Mars without a complex journey, filled with failures and moments where everything seems lost? Of course you can’t. 

No one else did that before ever. We all know that when you are doing something for the first time there are big chances of  a massive failure in most of the cases. But in order to get to your destination you must find that confirmation of your belief and faith. Which means overcoming failures and mistakes. And to learn to deal with situations like that. 

In the Alchemist Santiago goes through so much trouble in order to get to the place of the beginning of his journey. Why even bothering so much, he could just find what he was looking for all that time at the very beginning? The confirmation of his faith is what’s important and the experience of the whole journey. That’s what makes him so special, because it’s his own unique experience which helped him to discover who he really is. 

On the other hand, it’s similar to Elon Musk. He wants to transport people on Mars, right? So when he succeeds, it will be the starting point of his journey. He will get back at the very beginning of his journey. At that point the only thing that will be important is his own experience. That experience will make him special and unique compared to all other people on the planet. Through this experience he is confirming his own belief and faith in himself and also finding himself for the person as he really is. By this approach he is actually living his own personal legend at the moment. 

Of Course there are some benefits for humankind and also there are some benefits for Elon Musk in financial and material context. But all those are side effects of his own quest and vision.

Now, one of the conclusions is that you don’t have to be Elon Musk to be Santiago. You have your own life and your own journey. You need to find your own path to what’s your destiny. But in order to do it, you have to be ready to sacrifice certain things. Maybe it’s not the money, it can be time, food, a certain way of life or anything else. But the thing is that you have to find a way to confirm your own vision, faith and belief in yourself. 

Maybe you won’t control the final outcome of all of your actions and sacrifices. But you can control your present actions and work. And by doing this you will be able to direct side effects of all of your actions toward goals that suit you the most. 


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