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The Battle of the Generation - Day 29

Our weekly excerpt from the book "The Battle of the Generation"

For gradual change to succeed, the person must respond properly when he errs in the area he has been working on. Rather than feeling like a fool for thinking he could succeed, he should give himself a pat on the back for working so hard until now. When a person takes on such a challenging and encompassing task, it is likely that he will slip along the way. There is no reason for him to look down on himself.

It takes great effort to decide to change, and even more effort to stick to that resolution for even a short time. As we know, effort is all that matters, and every instant of effort is priceless. The battle against desire is a challenging, lifelong battle, and it was not created to be easy. It is supposed to be a struggle, and the odds are strong that some battles will be lost. But by keeping his determination to fight despite the difficulty, a person can achieve the ultimate success: emerging victorious from the most intense battle ever. A person should feel proud and encouraged about every ounce of effort he has exerted. As a result, he will emerge stronger from his errors rather than losing his will to fight.

The yetzer hara tries another trick on a person changing gradually. He berates the person for his sins in the areas he is not yet working on. He calls the person a hypocrite for working on “minor matters” while messing up on serious ones. This deadly attack threatens to sap the person’s excitement and resolve until he gives up.

There is only one response to this terrible tactic. The person must tell himself, “I am working toward a lofty goal. In my situation, this is the best way to attain that goal, which means it is exactly what Hashem wants. Although I shouldn’t have sinned now, that does not detract from my program. This is the most effective system for me, and though I have been slipping in that area, soon I no longer will. And anyway, my feelings of regret are at least a partial teshuva. At the right time, I will do a full teshuva and erase all my sins.” Then, the person should be proud of what he has accomplished and of his goals. He should never feel embarrassed about setting his sights so high because the higher he aims, the prouder he makes Hashem. No one should feel unworthy and incapable of accomplishing.

Finally, when using a system of gradual change, it is important to stay motivated. One way to do this is to celebrate your successes. Take small steps toward change, and celebrate each time you get it right. Also, spend time thinking about the emotions you felt when you decided to change. Think about what you want to change, and exactly how you want to act when you face particular challenges. Then close your eyes and visualize yourself making those choices. Envision the greatness you seek and the levels you aspire to reach. Though the journey is long, greatness is attainable. By taking it one step at a time, you can reach it sooner than you think, and it will be the most thrilling adventure of your life!

Ultimately, we must choose the best system of change for our unique circumstances. By following the best plan for us, we will soar higher and higher and attain unimaginable success in the battle of the generation.

Quick Recap:

  • Immediate turnaround and gradual change are the two methods for attaining self-mastery.
  • Each person must use the best method for himself and be ready for the challenges that come with that method.