It seems there are a lot of inexperienced individuals here that can benefit from these five concepts laid down very long ago, there is nothing wrong with curiosity and I always encourage you learn as much as humanly possible. There is no end to learning.
“(1) Whatever you are working with, see it is a divine and celestial thing; it must be sought for from Above, and that not without a full resolution for a pious and charitable improvement of it.
(2) Before you take yourself to the Work, propound to yourself what you seek, and enter not upon the practice until you are first well versed in the theory. For it is much better to learn with your mind and imagination than with your hands and costs. And especially study nature well, and see if your proposals are agreeable to her possibilities.
(3) Diligently read the sayings of true philosophers, read them over again and again and meditate on them, and take heed that you do not read the writings of imposters instead of the books of the true philosophers. Compare their sayings with the possibilities of nature, and obscure places in their texts with clear ones, and where philosophers say they have erred, do beware, and consider well the general axioms of philosophers, and read so long until you see a sweet harmony, and consent in the sayings of them.
(4) Imagine not high things, but in all things imitate nature, viz., in matter and in the body, in removing what is heterogeneous, in weight, in color, in fire, in speed of working, in slowness of working, and let the operations not be vulgar, nor your vessels. Work diligently and constantly.
(5) If it is possible, acquaint your self thoroughly with some true philosophers. Although they will not directly reveal themselves that they have this secret, yet by one circumstance or another it may be concluded how near they are to it. A friendly tutor in alchemy is of all things most necessary. A faithful well experienced master will teach you more in the mysteries of alchemy in a quarter of a year than by your own studies and chargeable operations you will learn in seven years.”
Remember, though some may not truly take this seriously, if you are one of those who earnestly want to learn and to help Nature, remember these 5 keys well.