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As the universal saying goes, "hard work pays off".
That struggle, that sacrifice, that immense discipline, pays off.
Maybe it'll pay off tomorrow, or the next month, or the next 10 years. None of us know, and none of us will ever know.
But that's where the fruit comes in. That's where the sweet taste of hard work comes in.
The satisfaction of seeing your hard work manifest into something great, something worthwhile, is almost indescribable.
But not everyone can feel that satisfaction.
Not everyone has been blessed to taste that fruit and be a witness to its sweet experience.
And often those people who never taste it are those who are in the stands watching the victories.
Little do they know however, that those victories were hard fought. More often than not, the individual/individuals who manifested that victory did so through sheer discipline. Their blood, sweat, and tears are witnesses to that truth.
But in the thick of the moment, when you are "in the arena" as United States President Theodor Roosevelt once proclaimed, not only is it a battle against your opponent, but against yourself as well.
The human being was created in weakness, as the Glorious Quran states. The body and mind experience huge amounts of pain and exhaustion just by the opponent in front of you, which is the easier opponent. Imagine going up against the second, which knows all of your weaknesses better than the opponent in front of you. That opponent is yourself. One can only imagine the sheer pain and exhaustion felt then, as you fumble and tumble against these two opponents ready to beat you through tooth and nail.
Those weaklings, those humans who miraculously win against both, do so by firstly beating themselves into submission through disciplined routines every single day. Once the self is in submission, everything else is in submission, and the fruit of hard work manifests before your very eyes.
It is essential to understand that alchemy is first the self-cultivation of the soul, the inner self. Once the soul is carefully molded through disciplined self-cultivation, the alchemist may then manifest alchemy out to the world.
But most wish to go from "zero to hero" as they say. Most wish to be in the stands, and the next day see themselves in the arena manifesting their victory as the whole world watches. If that was the case, everyone would be an alchemist. Everyone would be a victor. Everyone would experience the sweetness of hard work.
But as everyone knows, life has not shown itself in that fashion. Life wishes to sort out the weak into two categories: one who manifests the weakness into strength, and the other who manifests weakness into more weakness.
And as life has shown, only the first group gets to experience that sweetness; that fruit of hard work.