How to be a force for good in a world turned upside down by the unprecedented covid-19 pandemic. For those who have lost family members and friends, or have had to battle through illness, loss of jobs and careers, entire industries have been decimated. How do you keep a crushing loss from crushing you? How do you dig deep and tap into hidden reserves of inner strength you never knew you had? I first heard the word sisu in 2006 - while reading for an executive masters degree in sport management- from a classmate from Finland but to be honest, at that time I didn't give sisu any particular study. According to Wikipedia Sisu is a Finnish concept described as stoic determination, the tenacity of purpose, grit, bravery, resilience, and hardiness and is held by Finns themselves to express their national character.
It derives from the Finnish root word sisus meaning 'inner' or 'inside'. It's a cultural construct that dates back hundreds of years is age-old and is said to define the character of the citizens of the small nordic country of Finland.
According to various Google search references -Emilia Lahti has devoted her life to promoting understanding of the concept of sisu. She asked herself after going through extremely difficult times herself- How do humans persevere in the face of extreme adversity? Being from Finland, she recalled the Finnish concept of Sisu and started exploring it. Sisu refers to extraordinary determination and resoluteness in the face of extreme adversity. It is said to be a life philosophy that can strengthen one's resolve when tackling extremely challenging tasks or tasks that might seem to be beyond one's capacity.
Lahti posits that “A person with an action mindset will (1) sign up for a seemingly impossible task (2), stand up for what is right despite potential harm or even danger (3), persevere against all possible odds, and (4) hold on to the slimmest thread of hope and start anew from scratch”.
Sisu as a concept of positive psychology is said to be closely related to grit, or passion and perseverance over a long periods.
Covid-19 is the biggest threat seen in this lifetime to both global healthcare systems and our economy. In the search for a way of coping and a structure of how to rise above covid -19 adversities, the Finnish mindset and concept of Sisu are worth exploring and learning more about. Dr Safeeya Mohammed, the chief executive officer (CEO) of SISU Global Wellness introduced to Trinidad and Tobago the concept of SISU and developed a holistic wellness, well being, resilience and mindfulness programme that embodies and embraces positive sisu. In these difficult times embracing your inner sisu may make a positive difference.
For further information, SISU Global Wellness is on Facebook.
Last week in my remarks during the historic virtual 26th TTOC annual awards ceremony. Two sentences referenced Finland originated word, Finnish cultural construct and mentality. Therefore, the proper acknowledgement was afforded to the origin of the word sisu. References to the word resilience were made by all presenters. The TTOC has not undertaken any obligation to promote, or credit third parties individually or commercially within its marquee event.
In 2021, if we want to reach the peak of our powers we have to adapt the no fear factor. Your dreams are only as big as your vision so strive for being the best version of yourself. Ignore the doubters. If you have a dream don't let anyone tell you that you can't do it. You have to have a single-minded focus on achieving your dreams.
Covid-19 or no covid-19 back yourself, go big, go brave, go all in and Be a game-changer.
"I use to love to hear the anthem play, go onto the podium and see your flag raised, I loved all of that." - Roger Gibbon.
The views expressed by the writer are not necessarily those of the TTOC or TTCGA.