Find your inner strength with Sisu

Author: Caroline Brandelious   Date Posted:20 October 2019 

Find your inner strength with Sisu


When all your strength is gone and the finish line out of your sight, when the possible turns into impossible and you think this is it, I can’t do it, when you find yourself in tough challenges and you need that extra strength and bravery, “Sisu” is the help you need. Sisu is the Finnish concept of bravery, determination and resilience. 

Emilia Lathi is a Finnish researcher and public speaker with a Ph.D. in the topic of Sisu. She belives everyone can take on the meaning and philosophy around Sisu. While there is no singular English word synonymous with Sisu, it can be described as the strength we have inside ourselves that go beyond normal capabilities. This second gear pushes us through difficult situations and allows us to prevail in the face of extreme adversity. 

Sisu goes a long way back in Finnish history and has helped shape the nation and who they are. Sisu has the ability to bring out that extra power you didn’t know you had and be that second wind of strength you would need through challenging times. Which is applicable to anyone in the world. 

The Finnish mountaineer Veikka Gustavsson is a national symbol for Sisu. He became the first Finn to climb Mount Everest in 1993 without supplementary oxygen. He also climbed 14 other mountains over 8000 meters without any supplementary oxygen. His performance and almost impossible achievements became the definition of Finnish Sisu. He also named a mountain in Antartica to Sisu and he’s first son got the name Sisu. 

You might think you have to climb the highest mountains in minus 40 degrees to bring out the Sisu in you, but you don’t. We all have mountains around us daily that we have to climb whether or not they are real or symbolic. Sisu is something you can bring out whenever your brain is stopping you, telling you that you can’t do it. Sisu will give you that bit of mental strength you need to push trough. 

It can sound very inspiring to take on this whole Sisu-mentality, but it also has its drawbacks. Emilia Lathi believes that Sisu also stands for stubbornness and to solve problems without any help. This can lead to a silence that breaks you and creates an inner stress you hide from others. It’s important to take on Sisu combined with compassion. Then good things will happen. 

Next time you find yourself in a challenging situations, when all your physical and mental strength is gone and you need that second boost of strength, to push you through, think of Sisu and all that energy and bravery that comes with a long lived Finnish culture. Plant it in your head and heart, let it take over where perseverance ends, bring out the Sisu in you! 


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