It’s good to know that even one of the most powerful men in the world struggled getting out of bed the morning!

Today is a Monday, so I thought it would be timely to touch on the issue of getting out of bed; not just leaving it until the last possible minute before you have to rush to work, but with purpose and drive… maybe even with a desire to get to work!

Marcus Aurelius was the Roman Emperor from AD 161 until his death in AD 180. He is known as the last of five ‘good Emperors’ and is also a key stoic philosopher. Rather than sharing his ideas though lectures and writing, Marcus applied his knowledge of Stoicism to aid him in making key decisions as an Emperor. He would regularly write notes in his battlefield tent, not just as a form of meditation and reflection, but as a guide – based on experiences and ideas – to help him in the future. These notes were later compiled into a book called ‘Meditations’.

One of his diary entries shows the conversations he would have with himself every time he wanted to sleep in. It is almost comical in the way it plays out and is easy to relate to in our modern world:

“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 in 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.

(Marcus Aurelius)


So, next time you have difficulty finding the strength to get out of bed on a Monday morning, try some of the arguments presented by Marcus. Maybe even come up with your own reasons to overcome the struggle and keep them by your bed.

After all, is huddling under the blankets what you were made for?


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