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Morning Motivation

Alexei Muravsky

I am a night owl and therefore tend to have difficulty with getting up early in the morning. This is due to a combination of late nights and inertia. To overcome this challenge and appear in more morning classes I keep one thought in mind. In fact I read it every morning to remind myself of what I need to get done that day to get me closer to the opportunities I want to experience. The thought goes like this:

At break of day, when you are reluctant to get up, have this thought ready to mind:

‘I am getting up for a man’s work. Do I still then resent it, if I am going out to do what I was born for, the purpose for which I was brought into the world? Or was I created to wrap myself in blankets and keep warm?’

‘But this is more pleasant.’

Were you then born for pleasure – all for feeling, not for action? Can you not see plants, birds, ants, spiders, bees all doing their own work, each helping in their own way to order the world? And then you do not want to do the work of a human being – you do not hurry to the demands of your own nature.

‘But one needs rest too.’

One does indeed: I agree. But nature has set limits to this too, just as it has to eating and drinking, and yet you go beyond these limits, beyond what you need. Not in your actions, though, not any longer: here you stay below your capability.

The point is that you do not love yourself – otherwise you would love both your own nature and her purpose for you. Other men love their own pursuit and absorb themselves in its performance to the exclusion of bath and food: but you have less regard for your own nature than the smith has for metal-work, the dancer for his dancing, the money-grubber for his money, the exhibitionist for his little moment of fame. Yet these people, when impassioned, give up food and sleep for the promotion of their pursuits: and you think social action less important less worthy of effort?
— Marcus Aurelius, Meditations, Book 5

An absence of motivation to get up in the morning can point to other problems in your life. Following a vocation that doesn’t truly speak to you can lead you to depression and an inclination to stay in bed for longer hours. However, once you truly understand and follow the pursuits that are closest to your heart getting out of bed in the morning will be an easier task to accomplish. It will cease to be the hardest part of your day. If laziness does set it in, in the morning, then just look to the wise and realize that they had to overcome the same problem when chasing their dreams. You are not alone; emperors experienced similar battles long before you had to struggle with them. They are conquerable.