A Stoic’s Guide to Overcoming Laziness in the Morning

For the past several years I’ve been studying the writings of Stoic philosophers. Marcus Aurelius, Seneca, Epictetus, and back and back. Stoicism isn't  a religion, but rather a way of life. While I don’t subscribe to everything in Stoicism, there’s no denying that there are some beautiful takeaways.

Recently, I came across these excerpts from Marcus Aurelius’ Meditations, which I originally heard about through Brain Pickings and Tim Ferriss. The words captured me, and I felt like sharing...

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?”
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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?
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You don’t love yourself enough. Or you’d love your nature too, and what it demands of you.”

In other words, our humanity dictates that after we sleep, we are biologically oriented to rise and get to work on behalf of humanity. To ignore this is to ignore your humanity. To delay practicing your art, getting to work on your great task in life is to live a confined life.


When I don’t want to wake up (which happens more often than I’m like to share, heh), I think of these words and the defining characteristic of my humanity. And I feel excitement in my belly to be a part of that bigger purpose. What do you think?