In other words, whatever we have (both practically & spiritually) is exactly what we need to accomplish whatever Hashem expects us to accomplish.
It often doesn't feel that way, but this is the spiritual reality.
Therefore, explains Rav Dessler:
"A person's happiness in this world depends on the way
he uses the instruments he is given."
For example, let's say Hashem allots a person large amounts of money & success in business.
What if that person becomes very tense about all the business & money? Or what if his success goes to his head, making him greedy for more & feeling superior to those less successful than him?
Such people often suffer physical ailments (headaches, stomach problems, high blood pressure, heart issues, etc.). They feel impatient & disdainful toward their employees & close family members.
All this causes them to look for ways to relieve the pressure: drugs (prescription or illegal), smoking, drinking, affairs, overeating, meaningless travel & adventure, unethical behavior, and more.
They aren't happy.
Despite how they appear on the outside, they actually aren't doing so well spiritually, emotionally, or physically.
The Me'am Lo'ez (Shoftim 6:6) presents a chilling story to illustrate this dynamic taken to an extreme...
The Weakness in the Iron Door
Instead, he strove to secure his future by amassing treasuries of silver & gold & precious gems on land, combined with fleets of ships on the sea.
This gave him the feeling of a safety net: "If my treasuries are robbed, I still have my ships. If my ships sink, I still have my treasuries. I will never go hungry. I will never lack anything I need."
Yet to his mind, even that security wasn't secure enough.
He ordered an iron door custom-made for his treasury.
It bore a lock only he could open.
Every day, this wealthy man entered his treasury to ensure nothing had been stolen.
At this point, we see how his obsession reached the point of absurdity: With such security measures in place, how could anyone steal from his treasury?
And isn't it enough to inspect it for breaches from the outside—why on earth would he need to go in & inspect everything on a daily basis?
And even if someone somehow found some way to steal, how much could be stolen from the vast amount?
Gold & silver weigh a lot; you can't carry much at a time.
Even such a detailed inspection of the treasury once a week would be more than unnecessary. A daily inspection goes beyond all rationale.
One day, after he entered inside the treasury, the door unexpectedly closed & locked behind him, trapping him inside.
Despite screaming for help, plus beating on the walls & door, no one outside could hear him because of the thickness of the walls & door.
For all his efforts to secure himself against hunger, he indeed went hungry—surrounded by his treasure-trove of wealth.
At one point, his family & friends started to wonder where he'd gone.
After searching everywhere, they finally realized he might be in his treasury.
Knocking on the thick iron door brought no answering knocks or cries (as far as they could hear, anyway).
In desperation, they brought expert blacksmiths who, after much time & great difficulty, managed to break open the door.
But it was too late.
They found the fantastically wealthy man...lying dead on the floor.
His obsession with safeguarding himself against hunger and lack brought about the exact hunger & lack he strove to avoid.
"But I Know Wealthy People who Give Tons of Tzedakah, but STILL Stress Out & Don't Enjoy Much Contentment. So What's Up with That?"
This increases his spiritual satisfaction.
By caring so much about others, he also makes himself a better person.
His generosity toward his fellows also causes Hashem to love him even more.
Yet it's true that even very generous wealthy people often don't achieve this level of contentment.
This is probably at least partly because they, like most of us, swing back & forth regarding the use of their individual "instruments."
Generous tzedakah is one aspect of using one's "instruments" for spiritual advancement.
However, many successful business magnates still put too much faith in their own efforts & business acumen to both keep & create more money, plus they may also overindulge the material desires of themselves & their family.
So while generosity with wealth garners tremendous merits for wealthy donors, applying Torah values to every aspect of life creates true benefit & happiness, as the following stories illustrate...
"We Don't Need It."
"We don't need it," replied her father.
The woman emphasized how much they all enjoyed the home in which they lived; it was a pleasant & spacious home.
But it wasn't more than they needed.
And she related this with obvious pride in her father's integrity.
After chatting with her several times, she impressed me as an emotionally healthy young woman who received a healthy upbringing and remained close to & fond of her parents & siblings, in addition to dealing with her own husband & children with a cheerful attitude.
And probably her ability to live cheerfully in a small Israeli apartment while raising small children during the first 5 years of her marriage derived from her father's attitude toward material possessions.
He Who is Happy in His Portion—HE is the Wealthy One
But his generosity wasn't confined to Holland.
In the early 1890s, he bought 10 houses within the Old City of Yerushalayim to enable the impoverished Jews to live within them rent-free, greatly alleviating their oppressive living expenses.
In addition, he bought 12,000 square amot of land outside the Old City to assist Jewish expansion outside the Old City. This allowed for the potential construction of several hundred units, of which R' Ratzerdorfer paid for the first 10 houses (including the first 3 years rent-free), plus a shul.
To this day, this neighborhood is known as Nachalat Tzvi, after its benefactor.
R' Ratzerdorfer also created a fund to support the aliyah of talmidei chachamim to Eretz Yisrael, plus another fund which provided the Shabbat needs for 10 families headed by talmidei chachamim.
During one particularly harsh year, R' Ratzerdorfer sent Rav Sonnenfeld 1000 gold napoleons for distribution among the poor of Yerushalayim (which Rav Sonnenfeld distributed among all groups equally).
Despite his incredible wealth, R' Ratzerdorfer refused to stay in a comfortable hotel when he visited Eretz Yisrael.
Instead, he chose the hospitality of Rav Sonnenfeld's simple home among the poor of Yerushalayim. (This meant inconsistent heating, muddy walks to minyan, outhouses, water pumped from a well, self-service without a household staff, and other serious inconveniences—a far cry from that to which the wealthy Dutch man was accustomed.)
At one point, to the perplexity of those familiar with his generosity, R' Ratzerdorfer lost his wealth.
When asked how such a financial disaster could happen to such a magnanimous God-fearing Jew, Rav Sonnenfeld explained that the only sin he found in R' Ratzerdorfer was that R' Ratzerdorfer gave more than the 20% of his capital allowed by halacha.
After losing his wealth, R' Ratzerdorfer again visited Yerushalayim, where the kollel administration exerted strenuous efforts to return the amount of money he originally spent to build those first 10 houses in Nachalat Tzvi.
The kollel administration meant for this money to enable R' Ratzerdorfer to rebuild his business.
Initially, R' Ratzerdorfer accepted this money with warmth & gratitude.
Yet before he returned to Holland, R' Ratzerdorfer returned to the kollel administration & handed back the entire amount.
"I am donating the entire sum," he announced joyfully, "to be used to build ANOTHER row of homes in our neighborhood!"
Because R' Ratzerdorfer used his "instruments" for spiritual advancement, he raised himself to the level that he did not need the comforts of a hotel in his preference for the atmosphere of a tzaddik.
And he even remained a happy & content person without wealth, to the point that when the kollel administration attempted to help him rebuild his wealth, his greatest joy was re-donating the money to build more homes for Yerushalayim's expanding Jewish community.
This explains why tzaddikim are so content with their lives (regardless of their lack or abundance of health or wealth):
They use their allotted "instruments" for spiritual advancement which, as Rav Dessler notes, enables a person to find satisfaction in the physical & material world too.
However, whatever "instruments" we do possess (including the most materialistic "instruments") can be used for our spiritual advancement.
As shown above, the potential is definitely there.