There are no elevators to the top of the mountain you are climbing.”

I love this quote from Robert O’Connor’s book Gumptionade. We all want to shoot to the top – but few of us are eager to do all the work required to get there.

We want the quick fix, the easy way. But for life’s most important goals, struggles and accomplishments, there is no magic pill.

This is very hard for us to accept. There just must be some deep kabbalistic piece of marriage advice that will take my challenging relationship and turn it into a Disney fairy tale. But there isn’t. There are some tools but they require effort, constant effort. Day in and day out.

We would love a parenting check list. If we engage in all the behaviors and practice all the techniques on the list we will raise bright, thoughtful children who graduate at the top of their class at Harvard while simultaneously helping every little old lady in Boston to cross the street. But there isn’t. There is just good old-fashioned patience and caring and understanding. (And even with that there is no guarantee. Just like we have free will, the Almighty has granted that gift to our children as well – without consulting us to determine whether we think it’s a good idea or not!)

And of course we must know someone who knows someone who knows someone who will hand me the perfect job, the one where I achieve the position of CEO after a few weeks at the ripe old age of 28 – with a 5-week paid vacation and a six-figure salary. And yet, with all the connections in the world, this is unlikely to happen.

Because a wise boss knows that his employees need training, that they will actually feel more competent and capable with some initial supervision and help than if they are just dropped into the deep end and told to swim. A wise boss wants to put all the pieces in place to give his employee the best chance possible to succeed.

The Almighty is the wisest Boss of all. He knows that a quick fix isn’t good for us. He knows that our experiences are an opportunity for growth. He knows that we’re a little lazy (okay maybe a lot lazy) and that if we’re not forced to, we may not grow and change. He knows that a quick fix is an illusion and were it possible, it would not be good for us. A wise boss knows that if he wants his employees to get to the top, they can’t take the special VIP elevator. They need to climb the stairs, one slow step at a time.

Yes, there is no quick fix or magic pill but I’m not even sure we’d take it if we could. Because as we’re taught in Ethics of Our Fathers, “According to the effort is the reward”. Despite our wishes and fantasies, we enjoy the effort because it makes the reward all the more sweet.