It’s 3 a.m. and I’m awake. Ordinarily I’d be asleep but right now I’m awake and I don’t like it. Strangely this happens at least once every couple of weeks for me. I just wake up early. No real rhyme or reason, it just happens.

At one time in my life, this used to bug me. I would look at the clock and think, “oh no, I must get back to sleep or I’ll be so tired in the morning.” And then I’d spend the next hour or two willing myself to go back to sleep: tossing and turning, demanding that I slip back into unconsciousness; huffing and puffing that I wasn’t sleeping. I’d even check the clock every 10 minutes to see if I’d slept.

But the reality was, and still is, the more that I demand something of myself, the less likely I am to achieve that goal — and that really is the principle of living an unhappy life.

Sure I want to go back to sleep. I would even really, really, really, prefer to be sleeping right now, but I’m not. So, instead of lying there, beating myself up for waking when I “absolutely shouldn’t have,” I get up. I grab a drink, get something to eat and power up my laptop.

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