One of my favourite quotes from The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho is “There is only one thing that makes a dream impossible to achieve: the fear of failure.” (Coelho, pg. 146). This is one part of the book where fear of failure is best seen. Santiago and the Alchemist were travelling together. The Alchemist tells the tribesmen and the chief that Santiago “could destroy this camp just with the force of the wind” (page, 145), but Santiago fears that he does not know how to transform himself into the wind. It was fear of failure that was keeping him from turning himself into the wind, because he believed that he could not do it. But at the end he overcame his fear by trusting his heart. The reason why turning himself into the wind is an important factor is because he would have died over fear of failure if he did not accomplish his task. In life, a lot of the time fear of failure holds people back from achieving their goals since it requires taking risks. But people do not like taking risks because sometimes it is easier to believe that not attempting something is the easier route than attempting something and failing. If people are constantly worried about failing, their goals will be unachievable. It is only by believing in yourself and your abilities that will allow you to overcome your fears.
Another part of the book where fear of failure is evident is when the Englishman is telling Santiago what was holding him back from becoming an Alchemist. “It was my fear f failure that first kept me from attempting my Master Work, Now, I’m beginning what I started ten years ago” (Coelho, pg. 102). The Englishman feared that he would have done all of this research and travelling and not become an Alchemist. The Englishman feared that he would not turn lead into gold successfully. This instance in the story shows that the Englishman did let fear of failure overcome him. The Englishman wants Santiago to know that he should not let fear overcome him. For the majority of my school career, I thought being successful was all about avoiding failures. This meant choosing courses that had a high success rate. But this resulted in me staying in my comfort zone. If we never try something new, we will never grow as a person. Growth requires us to step outside our comfort zone, whether it’s taking courses that you’re not comfortable with or trying new activities. Pushing yourself into new circumstances, often forces positive changes and gives the opportunity to learn things about yourself that you would have never learned.