It’s easy to be tempted to stay under the covers when your alarm clock rings and hit the snooze button three times. It’s easy to remain under cover throughout the day, too—even throughout your whole life. That’s why you have to fall asleep with the intention to really “mean it” when you get out of bed.
Sleep when you sleep. Dream when you dream. When your eyes open in the morning, hit the ground with purpose.
Some people believe they don’t have a purpose. They’re wrong. Life just isn’t structured that way. Every one of us will have opportunities today to express ourselves, to listen to others in a real way, to offer others a kind word, to advance projects that are meaningful to us, to read a book that inspires us, to take a walk outside and really breathe.
Is there resistance to self-expression? You bet there is. It’s everywhere around you, and it’s inside you, too. So, it makes sense to have a little fire in your belly from the moment your eyes open each morning. The words of the great psychologist, philosopher and historian William James come to mind:
If this life is not a real fight, in which something is eternally gained for the universe by success, it is no better than a game of private theatricals from which one may withdraw at will. But it feels like a real fight.
By the way, you’re fighting against more than resistance around you and inside you. You’re fighting against more than fatigue. You’re fighting against evil, too. I know that sounds pretty stark, but it’s true. And you can fight it with heartfelt facts about the world as you see it, with love for others and with a refusal to quietly slip into the dark night of tyranny that beckons of late. Speak your mind. Stand up for what you believe in. Tell others to do the same.
More great words come to mind—these from philosopher John Stuart Mill:
The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.
Even the commitment to search for your true purpose in life can be enough to get you out of bed like you mean it. Searching is an active process. So, too, is simply being aware of hints that will whisper to you about your purpose. Those may come in the form of comments from friends about your gifts or in the form of a question that forms inside your mind:
I wonder what would happen if . . .
I wonder if I could . . .
I wonder why I haven’t . . .
Every day is a new lifetime, if you choose to look at it that way. Try—really try—to lean into every one of them. It isn’t easy. That’s the point.
Dr. Keith Ablow
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