Mike Slaats

How to thrive like a Roman Emperor (my most important lesson!)

marcus aurelius

We’re almost at the end of 2021, and, what a hectic year it was, right? I mean, on the one hand, we’re still stuck in the things that are going on right now in the world, and we miss traveling, hanging out with friends, going to parties, and socializing like we did before. But on the other hand, to me at least, it was a great year in terms of business.

I don’t know in what degree this is true but I feel like, during these times where we have limited resources and time, and we get challenged the most, we get the chance to even focus more on the things that matter: the people that are dear to us and, in my case, focusing on my business as well and I’m feeling, business-wise, more productive than ever before.

Focus on what matters most

And so, I think, maybe part of what is going on right now, no matter your opinion about it, that’s a whole other discussion, but I think right now, the best thing and probably the only thing you can do, is to focus on what matters most to you in order to grow your business and to grow as a human-being. Marcus Aurelius, the great Roman Empire, always said: “The Obstacle is the Way” (book recommendation here!).

What he meant was that you have to find the positive in every situation, because no matter how worse things look or sound, there’s always something to learn and if you’re able to find it and take advantage of it, you will become stronger than before. It’s that simple.

How to deal with 2021 and get yourself ready for 2022?

Now, I’m not someone that really plans my year ahead, I don’t believe necessarily in a new year with new goals as in a new start, I’m more of a daily and weekly goal setting kinda guy, but I came across a quote that might be just the right one for you right now and so I wanted to share it here:

“Your entire life can really change in a year. You just gotta love yourself enough to know you deserve more, be brave enough to demand more, and be disciplined enough to actually work for more.”


So, if you look at these 3 things:

  • Love yourself to deserve more
  • Be brave enough to demand more, and
  • Disciplined enough to work for more

I think it really comes down to accepting that things will change, and you can’t always do something about it, it’s not always your fault, and even if it is, accept your mistake, learn from it, and demand that you’re going to use this experience in becoming a better you.

Final thought

Just keep in mind, there’s always a way, there are always opportunities around us, no matter how worse the situation we’re in, you just gotta accept that the obstacle is the way and the obstacle isn’t always a bad thing because it can and will bring you new opportunities in life.

One book that really changed my life this way is: The Obstacle is the Way by Ryan Holiday. Absolutely must-read!