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Two for You — take two minutes to live and lead with intention

Episode 1.4

Do you have a cultural concept that is part of your or your community’s identity? Perhaps it’s a term that isn’t quite translatable but you know what it is when you see it. In this episode, we explore the Finnish concept of sisu.



Note: Two for You written transcripts are generated using a combination of speech recognition software and human transcribers, and may contain errors. Please check the corresponding audio before referencing content in print.

[Denise] Hello and welcome to this month's episode of Two for You.

[Lori] In this episode we are going to travel to Finland to learn about the concept of Sisu.

[Denise] OK, spell Sisu.

[Lori] S-I-S-U. And Sisu is that extreme - when we have to face extreme adversity - it's your determination and your courage and your resoluteness that - in the new future, new ideas - is possible.

[Denise] OK.

[Lori] So it's really an action mindset and that's a key aspect that researcher Emilia Lahti talks about. It's your being able to see beyond limitations that you're currently facing and you do something to shape your future. So you take action around that.

[Denise] Oh, I like that. Can you give me an example, like in your own life, how you practiced or called on Sisu?

[Lori] Yeah, so when I think about Sisu, I think about triathlon and doing Half Ironman and thinking about like running or biking and pushing yourself to different limits and when you're really physically tired and mentally you having these blocks. You want to kind of quit and you're pushing yourself through the pain and you think, I can do this. I can get the other end. So I think about that as, at least, moments that are cultivating Sisu in my life. She also talks about thinking about that and reflecting on those moments as ways to kind of recall it in other aspects of your life as well or thinking about historical moments or people in history who you can think of who had to just kind of push through adversity and to cultivate that to grow Sisu for yourself.

[Denise] Great, so in this next month before our next episode I challenge you to cultivate your Sisu so you can call on it at the time you need it most. Thanks! 

Authors: Lori Rothstein and Denise Stromme, former Extension educators

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