It is hard to translate the Finnish word 'sisu' into any other language. To 'have sisu' means to have guts and perseverance. To have a capacity to face difficult challenges and endure hard times. Also, it has an almost zen-like quality of acting with integrity, honesty and humility.

The exact meaning of sisu can be deeply personal: during this trip to northern Finland and Norway I asked people what sisu meant to them. One example I got was from a man who's father built the wooden family house by himself, over a long period of time. The wood was from trees he chopped in the forest with his own hands. Another answer was from a man having to cope with the death of his son. He didn't want to go forward anymore but had to, and somehow came over it. It took a great deal of sisu.

This inspired me to discover the concept of sisu. The Sámi people keeping their culture alive, the logger and his sawmill, and the annual roundup where families work around the clock to sort their reindeers: to me they are examples of sisu in everyday life.

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