“On those mornings you struggle with getting up, keep this thought in mind — I am awakening to the work of a human being. Why then am I annoyed that I am going to do what I’m made for, the very things for which I was put into this world? Or was I made for this, to snuggle under the covers and keep warm? It’s so pleasurable. Were you then made for pleasure? In short, to be coddled or to exert yourself?”MARCUS AURELIUS, MEDITATIONS, 5.1
Everyone struggles to get up in the morning, even emperors. Apparently they also contemplate whether to “snuggle under the covers”, but I think that’s a little bit of artistic license on the part of a translator there.
But the truth is that humans were made to be active, to move about and do things, not to snooze. Have you ever noticed how you just feel better after a day of moving around, compared to how you feel after a day of lying around? That’s because our bodies were not designed to be inactive and lazy.
And snoozing on our duties might feel good in the moment, but it’s not what our minds or souls were designed for either. We feel more fulfilled when we’re getting things done and completing work.
As people who are studying stoicism and trying to do what is good and right, we have dedicated ourselves to more — and we have to answer that call. For the greater stoic good of helping ourselves, helping others, we have to do real work toward that.
The Effect of Hitting the Snooze Button
Or… you could hit the snooze button, and do it tomorrow. And just stay focused on what’s immediately pleasurable instead of doing the work that will bring you real joy.
We know how this feels. It feels crummy.
It eats at you, even though you’re snuggled under the warm, delicious covers. The feeling eats at you, and it won’t let you rest. Because you’re not being true to yourself, you’re not fulfilling your promise to yourself. And your true self won’t let you forget it.
Compare these two things: a frosty beer at the end of a day when you didn’t really do anything vs. a frosty beer at the end of the day when you completed some hard tasks and knocked off your entire to-do list. In the latter scenario, the beer just tastes better. It’s more fulfilling. You feel like you’ve earned it. Your self will allow you to enjoy it more.
Next time you think about snoozing, consider which choice will actually make you feel better. Hint: it’s the choice where you get up and get going, and know that you did everything you could today.