Sisu — the Finnish concept of resilience

Sisu in Finnish doesn’t have a direct translation in English but refers to a mix of courage, resilience, grit and tenacity. Children grow up with this mindset and attitude and it’s the same attitude that has forged the identity of Finland.

In Finland it’s always cold! It gets cold and colder with just a few weeks where temperatures around 25 degrees centigrade.

Even in harsh conditions children go out to play not necessary with winter gear. They commonly say to kids that a bit of rain or cold won’t kill you! If you go to Helsinki Many Finns engage in winter in ice swimming. If you go to Helsinki you can try Allas Sea Pool or Löyly which is a pool in the Baltic sea with the water less than 10 degrees. After a good hot sauna, you can try staying in the pool for a couple minutes maximum. You realize that with every minute time stretches.

The classic example of Finnish “sisu” is the country’s repulsion of the Soviet Union military during the Winter War in 1939. Even though the Soviets had three times more soldiers and 30 times more aircraft and 100 times more tanks when they invaded Finland, the Finnish army managed to outsmart and deter the Soviet army in brutal winter temperatures and darkness.

The Fins also find their optimism and nurture themselves by spending a lot of time in nature hunting for wild berries or just for nature walks.

I strongly recommend reading the book the Art of Sisu if this post caught your attention!

Finish concept of Resilience:

Resilience = mental toughness by fighting cold + strength by connecting to nature

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