Did you ever read rags-to-riches books, where the hero starts out with nothing and builds an empire and huge bank account? Many of the richest Americans did just that, starting out on a low rung and working their way up, making right decisions all along. Just as people “make it big” in the physical world, some people “make it big” in the spiritual world. In both worlds, however, it takes a lot of sweat until one arrives at the high point. Every person comes “Mtipa Srucha“, from the same lowly origins. Yet, some climb their way up by doing the right things. Great people become great by the great choices they make. You, too, can become just as great, by making great choices.
Perfecting oneself is hard work. Make no mistake about it. Anything worthwhile is acquired only through hard work.
The Baal Shem Tov explained how you can imagine some things in a second; but to bring your vision to fruition takes time, money and hard work. The thought and dream of a beautiful house doesn’t take very long to come up with — close your eyes and just let your imagination go. How long did it take you to visualize your dream house? Five minutes? Ten minutes? Fifteen at max? Now, how long would it take you to actualize that dream? Months — maybe even years, depending on how elaborate your imagination ran.
We dream of becoming a great person — not realizing the more elaborate our goals for ourselves, the more time it might take to actualize those goals. We are not willing to content ourselves with a “home in the mind”. A home in the mind is not quite the real thing. We should not be content with ourselves in our mind, either. Rather, we should allow ourselves the time to become the person we dreamed of being. To actualize a split-second vision sometimes takes years. To become the great person we all imagine ourselves to be takes much longer than a few years and more effort than most hard work we’ve done.
Think of perfecting yourself as emotional weightlifting. If you walk into a gym, you see people sweating and huffing and puffing. Watch for some time and you don’t see why these folks keep at it. You don’t notice any change in their bodies during their one workout session. If you watch long enough, you might even get to see them rub Ben-Gay ointment on their sore muscles, still with no obvious results apparent. These body builders are knocking themselves out with strenuous exercise, and you cannot fathom it. The exercisers can, because they realize weeks and months of such hard work builds up muscles, burns off fat, and makes their bodies fit. Yes, sometimes it aches and hurts to lift those weights. It builds the muscle tone, though.
Emotionally, doing the right thing or abstaining from the wrong things sometimes aches. It is a healthy pain. Ignore it and keep pushing yourself on, because you are building emotional muscle, making your character as fit as it can be.
But, if you choose to do it, work out your character traits, well, then there is nothing stopping you from becoming a spiritual millionaire.