The best thing that’s ever happened to me

-Vi Reser Alltid

When I was 8 years old my family moved to a fancy part of a mid-sized Swedish city, Västerås, not very far from the capital, Stockholm. There I became bullied for my northern accent, cheap clothes and mental state (my big brother drowned before my eyes the same summer we moved, my parents got divorced [toxically], and I had a slight autism spectrum issue).

It took some time, but being bullied was the best thing that ever happened to me. It didn’t kill me, it made me stronger. With time I became impervious to just about everything, extremely resilient and calm, which helped forge a successful career in finance.

As the 40 ensuing years passed by, I often reflected over my luck in life. Everything seemed to go my way. Sure, I had a few minor setbacks, but I always quickly bounced back up a lot higher than before. Every single year was better than the year before – and they were pretty good from the start.

For example, when I was 18, I dated an incredibly pretty girl, and I received something akin to a small Nobel Prize in mathematics and physics for being the best performing student in middle Sweden over three years, and I was admitted to Sweden’s most prestigious University. From there, everything improved each year in an accelerated fashion: materially, relationship-wise, my subjective experience and so on.

I have very good reasons to assume my particular life configuration, including physical health, brain chemistry, cultural and socio-economic starting point etc., makes me perceive every year as better than the preceding years.

So, whenever I encounter a setback of any kind, I kind of expect a reward in due time. Everything that happens to me is simply regarded as a harbinger of bliss. Which brings us up to date.

Retiring in 2014 definitely was a genius move, the best thing that ever happened to me up till then. Now that retirement is drawing to a close. As fed up as I was with finance in 2014, just as excited I am today about both sharing my knowledge (through the Swedish course in fundamental equity valuation: Finanskursen) and practicing it again as a professional hedge fund manager. You’ll get the details about my getting back to work during the first quarter of 2020.

Per Ardua Ad Astra

However, that wasn’t what I set out to share today, but the following. By midsummer of 2019 by life kept setting new all time highs at a frantic pace. I almost expected to be diagnosed with a brain tumour, like John Travolta in “Phenomenon” (1996). In June I went as far as to say, the last five years, and in particular the last 5 months, have been so good to me, life could throw anything my way, including death, and I still would consider the total package a great deal.

And, boy, did I get what I asked for! Considering my gruelling experiences the last 5 months after that, i.e., since the day after midsummer, which started with my dog passing away, I’m expecting some major breakthroughs coming my way in due course.

Everything I’ve gone through in my life has ultimately proven to be the best thing that’s ever happened to me – perhaps not causally, but with uncanny synchronicity. So, why should my experiences with pain, loneliness and hearthache this fall be any different? Given what I know to be true about my history and my constitution, these experiences are bound to morph from hellish torture into the best things that’s ever happened to me. 

What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, and I’m still kicking.

Here’s to looking forward immensely to getting to know in which way the twists and turns of summer and fall of 2019 were the best things that ever happened to me, objectively, materially, relationship-wise, perceptionally etc.

Remember, we’re always travelling (Vi Reser Alltid — my motto in Swedish), and that’s a good thing. Being static is being dead.



  1. Sorry to hear about your loss. Pets are family.
    I hope you enjoy working again. I could never go back. The relationships seem fulfilling at the time, but they are not real. It is just politics and games to all but a select few.

  2. Retired, ha ha, like a junkie is “cured”. I knew it all along – you’ve been analyzing and predicting markets ever since you “retired”. You’re addicted to your hobby; happily for you it isn’t yachting or pedophilia.

    Is the book still coming?

  3. It has been quite a while since I commented on the blog that first time Mike cernovich talked about this hot shot hedge fund manager that liked his work.

    What a fantastic take on life you have Mikael!

    My condolences on your hardships and my delights on how you are using these moments in a positive manner always expecting and anticipating success. You are really living man.

    Thats my small qualm with stoicism it’s a bit neutral when things can be fun and exciting. The pain suffered the lessons learned they shape you for future improvements to come because you take them in that way. It’s a real delight to see

    I did also see a few of your random YouTube videos as well even if i could not understand the Swedish phrased ones haha

    Wishing you the best in your return to work, wishing you a life full of vigor, well lived and experienced with some good served along the way too.


    • Thanks man, it is comforting that my experiences have some kind of worth out there in the real world. Agree on stoicism, but I think much of the philosophy is misunderstood. You’re not supposed to be apathetic when enduring pain, but not trying to flee either, but to bathe in the sensation.

  4. Mr. Syding,
    I’m a recent big fan of your blog. I like you’re approach to education and building a career, the whole “5+5” thing. As a biochemistry student, the amount of innovations that are being done are mind boggling and the technology is growing at exponential rates. Anyway, I want to say thank you. I took your advice and subscribed to a bunch of science podcast and started watching a bunch of Ted Talks and it’s given me an idea of what I want to achieve and how I need to achieve it.
    I’m sorry to hear about your dog. Our pets are our family. I hope the pain eases soon.

  5. Hey Mikael,

    I’ve been following your blog for a couple of years now and think that your blog is fucking awesome :)
    This is the first time Ive been active on the comments section and that is to give you my condolences for Ronja. Im really sorry about that.

    Sending you some love from India!

  6. Any chance we could get an update on what you’re reading at the moment?
    The quantum thief trilogy was awesome (even though I could hardly understand what was going on for the first two books 😅😅)

  7. Pain + reflection = Progress
    Thus spoke Ray Dalio!
    And whatever happens, you have to love it. That is Nietzsche’s amor fati for you!
    Glad you are breaking homeostasis, and get back to work. But don’t stop writing, for God’s sake!

  8. Pingback: Emotional re-set

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