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Roman Bust“When you are drowsy in a morning, and find a reluctance to getting out of your bed, make this reflection with yourself: ‘I must rise to discharge the duties incumbent on me as a man. And shall I do with reluctance what I was born to do, and what I came into the world to do?’ What! Was I formed for no other purpose than to lie sunk in down, and indulge myself in a warm bed?’ ‘But a warm bed is comfortable and pleasant,’ you will say. Were you born then only to please yourself; and not for action, and the exertion of your faculties? Do you not see the very shrubs, the sparrows, the ants, the spiders, and the bees, all busied, and in their several stations cooperating to adorn the system of the universe?

And do you alone refuse to discharge the duties of man, instead of performing with alacrity the part allotted you by nature? ‘But some rest and relaxation,’ you will urge, ‘is necessary.’ — Very true; yet nature has prescribed bounds to this indulgence, as she also has to our eating and drinking.”


From Book Seven of Bill Clinton’s favorite book: The Meditations of Emperor Marcus Aurelius, which he penned while posted with the Roman legions in Central Europe between 170 and 180 CE.

More from M.A.:

Marcus Aurelius

Do Not Act As If You Were Going to Live Ten Thousand Years