Some Stoic Philosophy to Kickstart Your Day

October 24, 2017

book and cup

It's difficult to get out of bed in the morning. Every new day comes with a new set of tedium, annoyances, and anxieties to encounter that makes sleeping in seem much more attractive.

Sometimes finding meaning in waking up is a much more effective motivator in getting up than a shot of caffeine or a splash of cold water to the face. Each of has a purpose in this world that cannot happen if we don't get of of bed first.

The Roman emperor and stoic philosopher Marcus Aurelius was full of productive, virtuous musings in his personal Meditations. Among tons of useful pieces of advice on maintaining a strong, levelheaded posture in life, his writing contains some compelling thoughts on how to get yourself out of bed in the morning:

At dawn, when you have trouble getting out of bed, tell yourself, "I have to go to work  as a human being. What do I have to complain of, if I'm going to do what I was born for - the things I was brought into the world to do? Or is this what I was created for? To huddle under the blankets and stay warm?

But it's nicer here...

So you were born to feel "nice?" Instead of doing things and experiencing them? Don't you see the plants, the birds, the ants and spiders and bees going about their individual tasks, putting the world in order, as best they can? And you're not willing to do your job as a human being? Why aren't you running to do what your nature demands

—But we have to sleep sometime...

Agreed. But nature set a limit on that—as it did on eating and drinking. And you're over the limit. You've had more than enough of that. But not of working. There you're still below your quota. People who love what they do wear themselves down doing it, they even forget to wash or eat. When they're really possessed by what they do, they'd rather stop eating and sleeping than give up practicing their arts.

- Marcus Aurelius, Meditations




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