Sisu: how to embrace the Finnish concept of inner strength and determination when the world feels in crisis

Sisu: how to embrace the Finnish concept of inner strength and determination when the world feels in crisis

Happiness means different things to different people.

And happiness means different things in different cultures.

So, although we all need to work out our own definition of and way to happiness, we can learn from others!

And this article is all about learning from the Finns …

As the five-time consecutive happiest country in the world, it’s clear that there’s plenty we should be looking toward Finland for.

Not only is it consistently praised by international bodies for its extensive welfare benefits, low levels of corruption and well-functioning democracy, it’s renowned for its sense of no-nonsense mental resolve.

We’ve long been fascinated by concepts such as Norway’s koselig and friluftsliv and Denmark’s hygge to help us to bring some much-needed clarity and calmness into our lives.

At a time when it feels like everything is in crisis – the climate, the cost of living, the political system, women’s safety – it feels harder and harder to cling to the notion that everything will be OK in the end.

Two years of the pandemic left our mental reserves so drained that it’s been a hard slog to rebuild them, particularly as we battle the very real impact of life after lockdown.

Therefore, there seems no time more apt than the present to discover the Finnish concept of sisu.

What is sisu?

Though the word is untranslatable, anglicised interpretations range from inner strength, determination, guts, courage and willpower.

In Sisu: The Finnish Art Of Courage, author Joanna Nylund explains that it can also imply “stoic determination, hardiness, bravery, tenacity and resilience”.

According to This Is Finland, etymologically, “sisu” comes from a Finnish root word that implies ‘inner’ or ‘inside’, explaining why it’s so often associated with internal motivation and discipline. As the New York Times termed it in 1940: “Sisu – a word that explains Finland.”

Put simply, it can be summed up as a sense of “stick-with-it-ness” in difficult times, something we are struggling with to some extent right now.

“You could say that sisu is energy, determination in the face of adversities that are more demanding than usual”

How to embrace sisu in your everyday life

While Finland was fighting a war in the brutal cold of winter when the concept was first picked up by The Times, in her book, Nylund says that the mindset can be applied to more common obstacles in every part of life…

… keep reading the full & original article HERE