The snooze bar is both the savior and the nemesis of so many of us. It allows us to sleep a few extra minutes (we hope it is just a few, though we often hit snooze so many times that we would have been better off setting our alarms for an hour later) while helping us to get to work or school on time. For some people, the snooze button means getting just enough sleep to feel rested, but still making it on time to a meeting with their probation officer. For others, the snooze bar is a great comfort: It says to them, “You get to stay in the cocoon of your bed for a little extra time — time just for you — before you have to haul yourself to a job that you hate.” And, for most of us, we just don’t feel like getting out of bed.
One way that humans differ from animals is that we have “mastered” (or trying to master) the “art of doing nothing”. What other mammals lie around instead of getting up in the morning? By instinct, animals get up quickly and get to their duties. Animals are not couch potatoes. It’s only humans who are capable of eating an entire bag of potato chips while binge-watching Netflix. Why are we like this?
While animals instinctively live out their purposes in life, unwavering like clockwork, it does not come natural to us human adults. We need to work and condition ourselves to be intellectually, spiritually, and emotionally attuned to living out our purposes. For us, having a reason to get up in the morning is a conscious choice and requires a deliberate effort. When we hit the snooze bar to the extent that it becomes our enemy, it’s likely because we don’t have much to look forward to during the day. For many of us, wallowing in bed is more pleasant than the grind of everyday living. Who, really, is excited to sit in traffic, only to arrive at a cubicle in an office park where we crunch data for a company that certainly will not take care of us when we’re old?
We need healthy excitement and purpose in life. We need goals and the passion to reach them. We need a sense of urgency. Without it, we can’t defeat the snooze button. The catch is that healthy excitement and purpose are not passive activities. We have to find them, or make them, for ourselves. We have to initiate and be proactive.