Reb Abba Pliskin related in the name of Reb Meir Simcha Chein that three things are guaranteed to have an impact: Chassidus, mashkeh (alcohol), and money. Chassidus makes you refined, mashkeh makes you inebriated, and money makes you crazy.
Thus, if one of these things did not have its effect, this demonstrates only one thing—that the person didn’t have enough: He didn’t drink enough, or didn’t amass enough money, or didn’t internalize enough Chassidus.
What I like about this aphorism is that it flies in the face of the modern trend to complicate everything. To be sure, there are many truly complex, multifaceted issues that require much study and investigation for one to truly grasp, and such issues are often oversimplified by less discerning people. However, the opposite is also true: Not every issue is complex, and sometimes in pursuing our intellectually-driven desire for sophistication we stray from the truth and reject the simple and straightforward, but true answer.
More conventional wisdom dictates that if you’ve tried a certain approach and it hasn’t worked, it’s time to change your approach, and this is indeed often the case ... but not always. The evil inclination is very crafty. Sometimes this argument is itself a ploy to distract the person from the task that he ought to be doing. The true cause of the person’s failures is his personal weakness and lack of diligence, but he lacks the integrity to admit this. Thus, in an effort to save face and conceal his embarrassing shortcomings, he blames outside causes.
When a doctor prescribes that medicine on a certain schedule, it will only work when taken exactly at the proper time, according to the prescribed dosage, and so on. Likewise, Chassidus is the medicine prescribed by the expert spiritual doctors of our time, the Rebbeim. Studying Chassidus and following the ways of Chassidus in a serious way is intensely demanding, but when pursued with perseverance, it is infinitely rewarding. Put simply, it works. Therefore, if a person shirks his duties and therefore lacks the inspiration needed to press on in these dark times, this aphorism underlines the fact that he only has himself to blame.