For most of us, getting out of bed in the morning is not the easiest part of the day. When you are tucked in under warm and soft sheets, you probably don’t feel like stepping on the cold floor and getting active. Even though you know you should. Don’t worry: Marcus Aurelius has the answer we are all seeking.
Just this morning, I did not feel like getting up at all. It’s a cold and breezy day, full of work, with lots to worry about. Honestly, I preferred to stay in bed and enjoy the rest, warmth and comfort there. But then I remembered a quote from Marcus Aurelius.
“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?’” (Meditations, 5.1)
That’s right: we are not made to hide in the comfort of our bed. We are meant to make an impact on the world. Every day. Instead of lying in bed, we can get better and do better. Think about that next time you’re trying to postpone getting up in the morning.
‘But it’s nicer here…’, you say. This is Marcus: “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 as 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?”
We have a job to do. We have a place in this world. We have duties to fulfil, as human beings. Think about the tasks that are awaiting you today – not with dread, but with joy. You can have an impact today. You can help others or develop yourself. You can make the world a better place. But first, you have to get up and active.
So wait no longer. Get up and do what you are meant to do. Every day is a chance to change for the better and make a contribution to the world. Then why are you even thinking about sleeping in? Why are you not rushing to get things done? You only live once: make every moment count.
Direct Action: think about this next time you’re hesitant to get out of bed: ‘I’m going to do what I was born for. I was not made to lie in bed all day, but to actively improve myself and others. I have a job to do’.