“On those mornings you struggle with getting up, keep this thought in mind—I am awakening to the work of a human being. Why then am I annoyed that I am going to do what I’m made for, the very things for which I was put into this world? Or was I made for this, to snuggle under the covers and keep warm? It’s so pleasurable. Were you then made for pleasure? In short, to be coddled or to exert yourself?”
—Marcus Aurelius, Meditations, 5.1
Nobody likes Mondays so it’s comforting to think that even two thousand years ago the emperor of Rome (who was reportedly a bit of an insomniac) was giving himself a pep talk in order to summon up the willpower to throw the blankets off each morning and get out of bed. From the time we’re first sent off to school until we retire, we’re faced with that same struggle. It’d be nicer to shut our eyes and hit the snooze button a few more times. But we can’t.
Because we have a job to do. Not only do we have the calling we’ve dedicated ourselves to, but we have the larger cause that the Stoics speak about: the greater good. We cannot be of service to ourselves, to other people, or to the world unless we get up and get working—the earlier the better. So c’mon. Get in the shower, have your coffee, and get going.
This is an exclusive meditation from The Daily Stoic: 366 Meditations on Wisdom, Perseverance, and the Art of Living.