Contemporary alchemy can be applied to business crises and how they’re handled

Paula M. Parker

On a recent “Construction Disruption” podcast, host Todd Miller, president of Isaiah Industries asked: “Paula, what is alchemy in business?”

I’ll use the restaurant industry shutdown during the pandemic as an example.

But first, alchemy — to transform one thing into another — is a branch of Hermetic Philosophy from ancient Egypt. Turning base metal, lead into gold, is the familiar symbolic parable. It’s really transforming the mind from one state to another, known as mental alchemy. 

Restaurant owners had to use mental alchemy to transform the shutdown, leading into 100% take-out and delivery, while offering a complete meal to-go, gold.

Call it a pivot or a course correction. In alchemy, it’s transformation for the better and it applies in business. You might have heard the principles before, although maybe not in this way. Let’s look:

1. “You are an alchemist; make gold of that.” William Shakespeare.

Mental alchemy means transforming individual chemistry for the better. Here’s an application of this concept in a business situation, with a sprinkle of physiology.

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