I supposed that since the title of this site is Holistic Alchemy, the first subject I should write about in the spiritual aspect is alchemy. To begin, the concept of alchemy comes from what is known as Hermetic Philosophy, the ancient esoteric teachings of Egypt and Greece. This is where the law of attraction came from, along with many other spiritual traditions and principles.
The most commonly known practice of alchemy is the transmutation of lead into gold. True alchemy, known simply as the transmutation from one state to another, is a trick of the mind, the ability to transmute a negative state or circumstance into a positive one.
Fixed vs. Growth Mindset
How is this done? First, by seeing your struggles as challenges and your obstacles as opportunities to grow. Embrace the challenge. Carol Dweck, in her groundbreaking book, Mindset, discusses the difference between a fixed mindset and a growth mindset. A fixed mindset says “my intelligence, my skills, everything about me is fixed. It cannot be improved and I cannot change it.” A growth mindset says “I can learn to develop any skill, expand my intelligence, and improve or change anything I want about myself.”
Some of you could be saying, where’s the science? I want proof! Well, the proof is in the pudding. Dweck studied thousands of elementary kids and what she found was that those who believed intelligence was static or unchangeable performed worse when faced with challenges on tests and assignments, whereas those who saw intelligence as malleable or changeable were able to embrace the challenge and work through the problems.
The reason for this is that when one has a fixed mindset they believe that their intelligence is determined by how well they perform and if they are unable to perform well without effort then they must be stupid, so they give up in times of difficulty. Those with growth mindsets, however, are able to see that hard work and effort are what allow them to learn, and as a result, they give more effort.
As it turns out, kids who are told about how the brain grows and intelligence increases based on their effort perform better, empirically showing that mindset makes all the difference and that it can be changed merely by a shift in awareness.
Cultivating the Growth Mindset
So, how can we actively change from being in a fixed mindset to a growth mindset? How can we transmute our limiting beliefs into expanding ones? Well, as stated above, learning about it makes all the difference so I would suggest reading Mindset, which can be found on Amazon. Or, if you can’t afford it at the moment, I’m sure you can check it out at your local library.
Another way to change your mindset is to get a streak going or make small goals that you know you can accomplish easily and work your way up to larger ones. If you want to improve your overall skillset and grow in many facets, as most of us do, start with the basics: begin an exercise regimen, read for at least 30 minutes a day, or meditate for twenty minutes in the morning. Work on whatever your life is lacking.
If you miss a day, don’t beat yourself up, just get back up and try again. Part of the growth mindset is emotional resilience. People with a fixed mindset become identified and obsessed with their image, how others perceived them, but people with a growth mindset know that making mistakes is part of the process. The fixed mindset says that perfection shows skill, but the growth mindset says errors are what allow us to learn.
Some people believe that natural talent is what makes for high achievement, but the truth is mindset is what leads to talent. For example, Tom Brady, one of the greatest NFL quarterbacks of all time, was originally a sixth-round draft pick. According to most scouts, physical prowess is what brooks true talent, but not according to Bill Belichick, head coach for the New England Patriots.
Bellichik, when interviewing a prospective player, will take them into a hotel room, play one of their biggest mistakes from their previous season on a television screen, and then ask them “What happened here?” According to an article written by Daniel Coyle, called Stop Judging Talent; Start Judging Character, “One player started ripping into his coach, and Belichick flicked on the lights and ended the interview right there.” Why? Because he knows that character is better than performance, in the long run, meaning that character will lead to better performance when cultivated with practice.
According to Daniel Coyle, author of The Talent Code, “The idea is not just to weed out players with the wrong mindset, but also to identify those who have the right one. Players like this skinny, incredibly slow, unathletic quarterback (Tom Brady), who developed into one of the all-time greats.”
Alchemy is the ability to transmute something from one state to another. Turning lead to gold might seem like a neat trick, but the ability to transmute a negative (fixed) mindset into a positive (growth) one makes all the difference.