Do you know what Sisu is?
Did you know that we Finns are born with an almost unfair advantage in different sports and also in business. In Finnish it’s called sisu and it is a bit difficult to explain. Perseverance might be the best English word but there is a lot more to sisu than perseverance. Words like stubborn, determination, to never complain, attitude, tenacious are other words used to explain sisu.
When I checked Google for the word I found several videos on Youtube on the subject. There was one that was really outstanding by Christoffer Weiss. I watched it 2 times and 1 more now when finishing this article. Here is the link to Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UhuPon0TO90
The start is a bit slow but keep watching….it will be interesting. A lot more interesting than my notes about it :-).
He talks about the fact(?) that it might be true that we Finns are not known for our marketing and branding skills. He compare some Swedish and Finnish brands and the Swedish ones are more known at least to his audience. It is probably true :-).
Then he is telling the story about his grandfather when he was in the second war war. He was badly injured and the army doctor had to make the though decision:
“This one is gone…”
Then the Finnish SISU kicked in: “NO, I AM NOT DONE YET!!”
He survived and lived with a prostheses years after. Ha had a lot of pain but his answer to the questions was: “There is always someone who’s got things worse than me”.
A wonderful attitude.
My own grandfather, Uno, was also in 3 wars. He never wanted to talk about the experience but I understood that the only way to understand, was to participate.
Uno also had a fantastic attitude to life. I hope that I have inherited some of his wisdom and that I can pass it to my sons and my grand children.
Is sisu something only Finns have. Certainly not. But I think it is a good tradition and maybe Finns talk about it more than in other countries. I live in Sweden now and I have lived in Norway for 2 years but in these countries there isn’t anything like sisu. Talking about the advantage in sports might not be true when looking at Norway’s success in winter sports. It seems that the Finnish sisu isn’t enough to beat the Norwegians in cross country skiing.
Actually I don’t know if there is something comparable in another country. Please let me know if you have an idea about something like sisu.
I want to finish this with the wonderful and inspiring words from Christoffer Weiss grandfather:
“We have a responsibility to not repeat actions that lead to conflict, to not repeat words that lead to hatred, to not repeat thoughts that lead to misunderstanding and separation, but live from a level of love, understanding, unity and humor.”
We all have it – sisu