What is sisu, or the Finnish art of courage?

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Success often depends on how we approach a problem, how we view it. Every struggle is an experience that helps us in our next attempts, not a shame if we lose. Nothing happens without a cause, and every failure is nothing more than just another lesson. Learn about sisu, or the Finnish art of courage.

What does it even mean?

Sisu is a kind of philosophy of life originating in Finland, often linked to the path to happiness. Maybe this is because in Scandinavian countries the level of happiness of their inhabitants is very impossibly high compared to European standards. What is life like in Finland?

Small pleasures

Living close to nature, according to the principles of ecology, but also focusing on small things that could bring us happiness, simple activities such as developing our hobbies, little surprises during the day. Above all, Sisu teaches us to look at the world through rose-colored glasses – not focusing on failures, but the beauty of everyday life. Learning to live.


According to sisu, to begin to control one’s inner self, one must first and foremost control fear. We ourselves need to find ways to manage the effects of stress, reduce nervousness and anxiety about the various pains of everyday life. Simply letting go of unnecessary anxieties that will only lead us to health problems rather than dealing with the trouble. Let’s observe ourselves for ways that could help us get ourselves under control. When we are attacked by unpleasant emotions, we do not give in to them, but try to control them, not allowing panic or cowardice. The mind says you can’t do anything? This is not true! Focus on positive emotions and reactions, don’t let negative thoughts develop in you.


Finns focus on achieving happiness through small pleasures, but they don’t close themselves off to the world. In moments of trouble or conflict, it is important to face them head on, having the courage to take risks. If something needs to be fought for or defended, one must not back down. We live in harmony with ourselves.

Persistence, stubbornness and patience

It takes a lot of time, work and patience to achieve a goal. Control will not be gained immediately. This is also inherent in the concept of sisu – no aggression, anger or frustration, a slow path towards happiness and courage. Sometimes we have to wait to win, we don’t get everything right away. Never let up before the finish line!

Photo: Hendrik Morkel/Unsplash

Fight, don’t run away

Don’t run away from problems because sooner or later they will catch up with you anyway. Redirect your energy to facing them, gaining valuable experience, learning about yourself. Problems always exist, small and big ones. The trick is to learn how to solve them. Not all of them we will be able to overcome with pride, but they will be a good lesson for the next ones. Later we will gain the perfect tools to solve various conflicts easier and faster, we will become stronger. Better.

Our own strategies

Every day we learn something new, we explore and conquer the world. Step by step let us build our own strategies, so let us not be afraid of our imperfections, let us not be ashamed of them. Let it be our motivation for continuous change, work on ourselves. Sad memories don’t have to come to us in moments of weakness, we can fight them, don’t let them poison our mind and consequently our life. Let the Finnish philosophy be our inspiration to improve ourselves.

Respect first of all

One more thing is important for Finns – respect, first of all to themselves, but also to others. People are social individuals, they cannot live alone and Finns understand that, therefore, in order for us to feel good, we should also take care of our community, the environment around us. To help and support and above all to respect.

The art of courage or just living?

Sisu is nothing else but a philosophy of being reconciled with oneself, courage to face adversities, but also to understand oneself and one’s own reactions, to learn to live. Not everything always goes our way. However, in order not to lose motivation, it is enough to translate a few things well, think. It is not for nothing that they say that everything is in our head, so let’s start from there.

Photo: Olivier Darny/Pexels

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