The Philosopher’s Stone: How to Create Gold Out of Thin Air

Since the 8th century, man searched for a mystical, elusive item known as the philosopher’s stone. According to legends, the stone could turn any metal into gold or silver. The red stone for gold and the white stone for silver.

The original intent of alchemy was to create precious metals. Take any ordinary metal, add a pinch of red sand, fuse them together with alchemy, and voila … gold. The alchemist in Paulo Coelho’s book, The Alchemist, created gold in the same way.

According to rumors, a 13th century scientist and philosopher, Albertus Magnus, discovered the philosopher’s stone and passed it to his pupil. But Magnus’ journals did not confirm the story. No one in history claimed to have found the elusive item.

An item that turns a pauper into a king should be exceedingly hard to find …if it exists.

After much searching, I can say it is real. It is indeed rare. It is so well-hidden, the person who possesses it may not even know he has it.

This is the story of one person who found it …

Humble Beginnings

His life started out no differently than mine or yours. He grew up in a middle-class family. Mother was a teacher of fine arts. Father was a biomedical researcher.

The boy gravitated to music at an early age. The doting mother encouraged his curiosity and started him on piano lessons when he was 4.

He loved it.

He followed his interests from piano into performing. He imitated actors and performed magic tricks. By 3rd grade, aside from playing the piano, he started playing the cello and dove deep into the theories of music.

He never denied his interests. At one point, he carried a tape recorder everywhere he went. He enjoyed recording sounds and songs.

People noticed he was not like other kids. Some called him odd. When he got older, his classmates teased him. The teasing worsened after his parents divorced. He had no close childhood friends.

Thus, he retreated to himself. He became withdrawn and introverted. He spent the days dreaming, listening to music, and practicing the piano & cello. He lived in a private, musical world. Only he had the key to the door.

Sheer Dumb Luck? No, Pure Persistence

After graduating from high school, he did not know what to do with his life. So he got a job as a waiter.

He never forgot his first love: music. Music never paid him a dime. Yet, he stuck with it for 14 years because he loved it. Not only did he spend his free time practicing, he composed and wrote songs. His life comprised of work & music.

One day, his friend entered their names into a competition. They performed a unique piece written by the aimless waiter. The friend sang while he replayed the piano.

They didn’t win.

However, a key player in the entertainment business noticed the performance, particularly the complexity of the composition, and asked who wrote it.

The aimless waiter.

The prominent figure hired him. Finally, the once-awkward music loving kid broke into the industry.

The journey just began. He started at the bottom, in the studio learning music production, mixing sounds, recording and writing songs. He didn’t mind. He loved the work.

His mentor appreciated the young man’s dedication and said, “Write 100 songs. I will pick 10 from there and we will release your debut album.”

The task was easy enough. The young man had already written 100 songs. He started composing for the love of the craft — before he thought about making money from music.

After two years since breaking into the industry, he released his debut album, Jay. The public loved it. Radio stations and music television stations played his songs all day. They couldn’t get enough of it. Demand spread like wildfire, making him famous throughout Southeast Asia.

The friendless, weird, music-loving boy — a waiter without a direction in life — became the hottest musical artist of Southeast Asia. His name?

Jay Chou

Unstoppable Force

The next year, he released his second album. It became a big hit. He was nominated for 10 musical awards and won 5 of them.

He released album after album after album. All of them sold like hotcakes.

Remember how he used to imitate actors as a child? It paid off because he branched out into acting. Then into directing movies.

He released books. Major brands sought him out to be their spokesperson.

He built the Jay Chou brand. Hence, whatever he touched turned into gold.

In 2013, his estimated worth was $185 million.

He possesses the philosopher’s stone.

How Jay Chou Found the Philosopher’s Stone

1. He gave into his curiosity.

Children are curious by nature and they give into their curiosity. He was no different. His mom suggested he take piano lessons when he was 4. He accepted. Piano unlocked his fascination with music. He wanted to go deeper and branched into cello and music theory. He also dabbled in acting and comedy, which contributed to his later work.

Children become adults and lose their inquisitiveness. They resist doing things differently. They resist change. They resist satisfying their curiosity. As a result, their curiosity withers and dies. No wonder most grown-ups are boring stiffs.

Jay, however, nurtured his curiosity. He said yes to opportunities. After enough yeses, he transformed from a humble waiter into the king of his empire.

2. He loved his craft.

He had to choose between being alone with his music or being popular without his music. He chose the first option. His love for music overpowered his need to fit in, which gave him the strength to be odd and carry around a tape recorder everywhere he went.

Love gave him the strength to do things other kids couldn’t do:

  • to play piano when other kids prefer to play outside
  • to practice every day to get better at his craft
  • to compose on his spare time for fun

The motivation to work is not external — money, honey, popularity — but internal.

He bled for music. And like a mother who sacrifices for her son, he sacrifices for what he loves. In other words, he found his passion.

This is the most important part of finding the philosopher’s stone because it gives him the means to persevere.

When no one notices, he works on his craft.

When everyone notices, he works on his craft.

3. He engaged in deliberate practice daily.

Deliberate practice is not fun. It’s mentally taxing and frustrating.

Without dollars, girls, or fame, not many people will engage in daily deliberate practice. But Jay did — fueled by the love of music.

Love compelled him to come back day after day, to sweat and to bleed. For the longest time, the only reward he got was excellence in his craft.

He progressed from playing simple pieces to playing complex pieces to composing simple music to composing complex music.

He put in the work few people are willing to do. Consequently, he reaped rewards few people will reap.

4. He created art and showed it to the world.

He was too shy to show his work to the world. His friend gave him the initial psh. But one break was all he needed. The product of his love and years of sacrifice caught the eye of someone important.

That led to him showing more and more of his works. He kept on creating. He kept on shipping. And the world kept on asking for more.

The sweat, tears, and blood he shed in secret were paying off. His work spread like wildfire. The world offered money, honey, and popularity. His brand reached an all-time high.

None of them mattered. He just wanted to create.

The Philosopher’s Stone Is the Product of the Artist’s Soul

Acquiring the philosopher’s stone results in money, fame, and whatever trappings of success. But the secret to finding the stone is not the pursuit of external rewards, but the pursuit of internal ones.

Satisfy your curiosity. Love your craft. Shed your sweat, tear, and blood in secret. Create art and show the world.

Do it for years on end and then explode into “overnight” success.

The philosopher’s stone is the product of the artist’s soul, shaped by his love of the craft and crystalized by his discipline to create every day. Do not blemish the stone’s purity by seeking riches, fame, or anything beyond the craft.

King Solomon, the wisest person to walk the earth, received everything from God — money, honey, and popularity — because he was able to forsake everything else for wisdom.

The stone is a paradox. Because to obtain everything the stone has to offer, you must forsake everything for the craft.

That’s the secret.

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