In Finland, “sisu” is a concept that, while it can’t be strictly translated into English, roughly corresponds to a combination of bravery, resilience, grit, and determination. My guest today will help us unpack it further, and offers advice on how everyone can live life with more sisu.
Her name is Joanna Nylund and she’s the author of Sisu: The Finnish Art of Courage. Joanna explains what sisu is and how it was exemplified in the David and Goliath story of the Finns facing down the Russians during the Winter War. We then talk about what it is about Finland that birthed the quality of sisu and ways to develop it even if you’re not Finnish, including embracing discomfort, getting out despite the weather, and seeking silence and solitude as a way to develop inner strength. We also talk about the Finnish practice of retreating to a rustic cabin in the summer to reacquaint oneself with simplicity, manual labor, and nature. We end our conversation with the sisu way of communication, and how to foster sisu in children.
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- What is sisu? How long has the word been around?
- How the Winter War of 1939 exemplifies this concept
- Does sisu contribute to Finland’s place among the world’s “happiest” countries?
- How Finns embrace discomfort to cultivate sisu
- Embracing the contrasts of life
- The cabin culture of Finland
- How does silence cultivate sisu?
- What’s the sisu way to communicate?
- What can parents learn about fostering this sort of resilience in our children?
Resources/Articles/People Mentioned in Podcast
- Got Sisu?
- Don’t Take Your Marching Orders From Your Belly
- On Becoming Antifragile
- 9 Ways to Become More Courageous
- How to Increase Your Courage and Bravery
- Operation Barbarossa
- A Primer on Hygge
- 8 Things to Help You Get More Hygge
- Weird and Wonderful Ways to Get Comfortable Being Uncomfortable
- How I Learned to Be Comfortable With Being Uncomfortable
- The Hard Way
- You May Be Strong . . . But Are You Tough?
- How Saunas Can Help Save Your Body, Mind, and Spirit
- The Spiritual Disciplines: Solitude and Silence
- Joanna’s book Silence
- How to Raise Free Range Kids
Connect With Joanna
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