Micael Widell's blog

Micael Widell

Hello! I am Micael Widell, based in Stockholm. I am CTO and co-founder of Fyndiq, Swedish one stop bargain shop on the web. This blog is mainly about entrepreneurship and my life in general.

Other places where you can find me: LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, Spotify, Facebook and Readmill.

The Secret - 50% bullshit, 50% brilliance

The premise of the film called The Secret is that you just have to visualize your goals very clearly every day, and then they will automagically materialize. The explanation model they use is some kind of new age pseudoscience interpretation of quantum physics, which has lead to a lot of ridicule of the film.

I watched the film a few years ago, but I think have always used this way of planning my life. I visualize very concretely where I want to be a few years from now, and so far most of it has become true. Then it is probably mostly pure luck, hard work, or a mixture of both that got me there. I do not believe in the explanations they give in the film.

So why does it seem to work?

For me, when I visualize a goal I have very clearly every day, it starts to change something in me after a while. I start to connect my own identity with the goal. When it has come that far, I will experience anxiety and a feeling that something is wrong if I am not actively working towards it. After a couple of years of "brainwashing" myself by visualizing it, I will have a very hard time not working my ass off to get there. That anxiety will get stronger and stronger, and I will work harder and harder. All that hard work and dedication compounded over time will make me reach the goal. That's my theory at least.

So I recommend everyone to see the movie, and to start doing what they suggest, but I would not believe in their explanations of why it (may) work :)

How to deal with assholes

There are lots of hard problems in this life. Problems that everyone must find their own way of dealing with. One such problem is all the assholes around us. Assholes exist in all lines of business, all ages, all social groups.

What is an asshole then, you might ask?

An asshole is a person who treats other people unfairly or disrespectfully. Often by misuse of power or privilege. The asshole takes advantage of or just plainly messes around with other people. A lot of times they don't even realize that they are doing it. An asshole could be the bully in school who is much stronger than you. It could also be your boss, who has power over your current work environment.

I have found most ways of dealing with assholes that involve trying to interact with them will only make it worse. An asshole is an asshole. Even if you "win" you are a loser because you spent valuable time and energy dealing with an asshole.

My way of dealing with assholes is to always try to cut my contact with them, if I don't have to deal with them in some way. This may sound simple enough, if not for the second part of the last sentence.

To be able to ignore and cut contact with all assholes, you will soon discover that you need to be a truly independent person. Basically, you must be able to cut contact with anyone in your life and be able to get on with it without being hindered.

The only way to get to that kind of independence is to rule over your own life. That means a lot of things mentally, but maybe first and foremost it means that you have to be the ruler of your work and income situation.

So this brings me to my point with this blog post... which is that starting your own company and becoming an entrepreneur with total control over your own destiny, is actually also one of the best ways ever to be able to deal with assholes! Your life will be so much better without them :)

The things not taught in school

It is funny that most of the knowledge I need in my daily life as an entrepreneur is stuff that I had to learn myself because it was never taught or even mentioned in school. Not only did I have to learn this stuff myself – before that I first had to learn that this stuff actually is important.

  • Salesmanship
  • Networking with people
  • Programming
  • Negotiations
  • Marketing
  • Stepping outside your comfort zone
  • Making a living without a "job"

I totally understand that things like learning languages, math and history are immensely important and should be prioritized. But so are the things above. If anything, knowing the importance of these things is important.

People are told all through their upbringing by parents and school that the only possible path in life is to get a good education and then a good job in order to get a good life. One of the main reasons so few people are inclined to think of trying entrepreneurship as a possible way of life, is because they do not see it as a possible way of life.

What if we created a new subject in school called entrepreneurship?

Orient kids about it, so that they know that "yes, some people do this, it is a great way of life, and I can do it too". Not all of the kids would become entrepreneurs, but that is fine. These skills are useful no matter what you do. And even if you are not using sales or marketing tactics yourself, it is quite useful to know when somebody else is using them against you.

I think this new subject would benefit the society of today greatly.

The story of Fyndiq's API

I did a talk the other day at Internetdagarna, on the Nordic APIs track. I talk a little about Fyndiq's API, how it has evolved and what we have learned from building our B2B API.

The Flinch

Today I read the short and free e-book The Flinch by Julien Smith, which I stumbled upon a couple of weeks ago.

The book describes a very important concept when it comes to self improvement. I would say that making a habit out of going against the flinch is one of the deepest and most important habit changes you can make.

So what is the flinch? To me it is that little threshold of resistance that you feel right before you are to do something that you know that you should do, but don't feel comfortable doing. That bump of resistance you feel when you are about to go outside your comfort zone.

It could be going out for a run. The flinch tells you to stay inside and maybe plan to go for a run tomorrow instead. It could be quitting your job to fulfill you dream to start a business. Many people have this dream but they let themselves be stopped by the flinch. It could be striking up a conversation with a stranger on a five hour bus ride – you know that the ride will be very boring if you don't, but the flinch holds you back. It could be saying yes to holding a speech in front of a group of people, even though you know you will be very nervous.

I have fought the flinch for several years. In the beginning it was not very often I would win. But after years of gradual habit change I can now frequently use it to my advantage the way the book suggests. As soon as I feel the flinch I use that energy inside me to go against it. Developing this habit – to feel encouragement and excitement about going slightly outside my comfort zone every day has changed my life so incredibly much, and I am very thankful for that. Just knowing that "this is just the flinch, I will feel fantastic when I walk right through it" makes it so much easier.

This is still something I need to continue working on. Today I win over the flinch in maybe 60% of the cases. I want to get nearer 100%. But I am very happy that I have not only learned about its importance myself, I have now also found a good text on it by somebody else who discovered it.

Read the e-book (PDF here) and try for yourself.