Why You Need To Know About Sisu

What is Sisu and why do I need to know about it? Well aside from becoming one of the biggest buzzwords to enter the realm of self-help in 2018, it is a concept with more relevance today than ever before. Sisu (pronounced sis-uh) is a Finnish word, whose literal translation is guts, meaning resilience or inner strength, and relates to how we handle the struggles that life throws at us. It isn’t something you’re expected to have 24/7, but rather something you conjure up from within when you feel you’ve come to the limit of your capabilities; reaching within, pushing yourself far beyond what you first thought yourself capable of. The concept of Sisu has been around for centuries, cementing its place as the word that defined the Finnish nation.

So What Does it Involve?

The key elements to building sisu are focusing, setting realistic goals (and sticking to them) and effective communication, with yourself as much as with others.

Focus on You

Focusing isn’t just about avoiding distractions or focusing on a single task. To build greater resistance and sisu, you need to focus on yourself, take time out from everything else for yourself. Step away from the distractions and listen to yourself, without external noise it is easier to hear your thoughts. How do you feel at that moment? Is there something bothering you that you hadn’t consciously acknowledged? Stopping to allow yourself to feel and think unhindered can aid you in working through things or give you time to process things you hadn’t had the time to previously.

Focus on Nature

Nature is frequently overlooked when it comes to self-care, we talk about taking walks or getting outside but often don’t look at why it’s so important to do. Being in nature is shown to have a grounding effect, taking time out to sit and listen to the sounds, sights, and smells of nature, blowing away mental cobwebs. It doesn’t have to involve hiking or camping, if you have an outside space you can sit in, you can still focus on the nature around you.

Setting Goals

Setting goals is easy in theory, but often we overthink, giving ourselves challenges that set us up to fail. Goals should be realistic, losing 2 stone in a fortnight would be considered unrealistic for many, as is running a marathon when you’re still new to running. Ensure that your goal is a challenge, but attainable. Set mini-goals or milestones to help you track your progress, acknowledge what you need to do to attain those goals and when you succeed allow yourself to enjoy your success.


Good communication starts with listening, listen to what is being said to you, put away distractions such as phones and be involved in the conversation. Ask questions and pay attention to the answers, this is known as active listening. Show respect, especially if there is a disagreement that needs working through. Take on board what they have to say before saying your part, don’t be in a rush to speak before truly hearing what they have to say. Be as honest as is possible in the situation and be clear in what you have to say when you respond. In many instances arguments or the breakdown of relationships come from poor communication and misunderstandings.

Take the time, strive for a better life, build your sisu,

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