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What Is Sisu? Harnessing the Finnish Art of Courage for Life

In this enlightening episode of “Passion Struck,” I explore the question, “What Is Sisu?” Is it just a word or something more—a philosophy of life? I delve into the extraordinary influence of Sisu on both individuals and society as a whole. I stress the significance of embracing Sisu and its pivotal role in fostering personal growth, resilient communities, and a unified world.

Drawing inspiration from Finland’s indomitable spirit, Sisu, I delve into the profound emotional and societal implications of cultivating Sisu in our lives. I reflect on the concept of Sisu and its monumental significance in our social and emotional well-being.

The Role of Action-Oriented Mindset

An action-oriented mindset doesn’t happen overnight—it’s cultivated over time with consistent effort and purposeful thinking. Like muscle memory from working out at the gym repeatedly until lifting weights becomes second nature. So, too, is developing an ‘action-first’ mentality through daily practice and patience.

In essence, embracing Sisu leads us towards cultivating such a mentality where we proactively take charge of our lives rather than passively react to circumstances. It’s like switching from being a chess piece on the board, at the mercy of other players’ moves, to becoming the player who strategizes and controls the game.

Want to learn the 12 philosophies that the most successful people use to create a limitless life? Pre-order John R. Miles’s new book, Passion Struck, which will be released on February 6, 2024.

“Sisu represents an indomitable spirit or resilience that doesn’t just endure, but thrives even when the odds are insurmountable.

John R. Miles

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Hear the secrets and philosophy of the World’s GREATEST high achievers every Tuesday and Thursday, and tune in each week for an inspirational Momentum Friday solo message.

Listen to the episode on Apple PodcastsSpotifyPodcast AddictPocket CastsStitcherCastboxGoogle PodcastsListen NotesAmazon Music, or on your favorite podcast platform. You can watch the interview on YouTube below.

And in case you didn’t already know it, John R. Miles (@John_R_Miles) takes your comments and questions for Momentum Friday right here every week! If you want him to answer your question, register your feedback, or tell your story on one of

our upcoming weekly Momentum Friday episodes, drop us a line at [email protected]. Now, let’s dive in!

What Is Sisu? Embracing the Finnish Power of Resilience and Courage

In this captivating episode of the Passion Struck Podcast, we set out on a journey to explore the enigmatic world of “Sisu.” But what is Sisu? It’s not just a word; it’s a profound Finnish concept that defines courage, resilience, determination, and unwavering tenacity in the face of adversity.

We venture deep into the essence of Sisu, discovering how this powerful mindset can potentially transform individuals and entire societies. Sisu is more than just a buzzword; it’s an unwavering force that equips us with the strength to stand firm in the most challenging circumstances.

As we traverse the landscape of Sisu, we’ll unveil its transformative nature, likened to staring down the most daunting of challenges with relentless determination. It’s not just about surviving adversity; it’s a philosophy ingrained in Finnish culture that can unlock personal growth, pave the way for professional success, and nurture profound connections in our relationships.

In this journey of discovery, we’ll draw inspiration from the profound insights of philosopher and psychologist William James: “The greatest weapon against stress is our ability to choose one thought over another.”

So, come along and join us on this illuminating expedition into the realm of Sisu. Prepare to be inspired, gain invaluable insights, and empower yourself with the wisdom to embrace this Finnish superpower and infuse it into your daily life.

In this episode, you will uncover the following:

  1. The essence of “Sisu” and its paramount significance when facing life’s challenges.
  2. The profound impact of Sisu on personal well-being and its ripple effect throughout society.
  3. Stirring stories that illustrate the indomitable spirit of Sisu, showcasing its exceptional influence.
  4. Practical guidance on embodying Sisu and harnessing its formidable power in your everyday existence.
  5. The significance of incorporating Sisu into our collective journey towards a world characterized by resilience, courage, and tenacity.

This episode casts a brilliant light on the captivating concept of Sisu, underscoring the importance of adopting this courageous mindset in our lives and communities. It serves as a call to action, urging us all to unlock Sisu’s boundless potential and thrive in the face of adversity, as the Finns have for centuries.

Passion Struck Podcast
Passion Struck Podcast
362 | What Is Sisu? Harnessing the Finnish Art of Courage For Life | Passion Struck with John R. Miles

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Starter Packs

Motivational quote said by John R. Miles during his Sisu episode on The Passion Struck Podcast

New to the show? These Starter Packs are collections of our most popular episodes grouped by topic, and we now have them also on Spotify. You can also browse starter packs for existing listeners to find your old favorites. Every week, John interviews everyday heroes from all walks of life. Learn how to subscribe to the show and never miss a new episode and topic.

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Unpacking Sisu: “The Finnish Art of Courage”

In this episode, we embark on a journey into the world of ‘Sisu,’ a concept illuminated by the book “SISU: The Finnish Art of Courage” by author Joanna Nylund.

Sisu encapsulates the Finnish philosophy of courage, resilience, grit, tenacity, and unwavering perseverance. This ancient Finnish word reflects a unique psychological competence, enabling extraordinary action in times of adversity coupled with honesty, integrity, and humility.

Joanna Nylund’s book delves into how cultivating Sisu can transform your life.

SISU the Finnish Art of Courage by Joanna Nylund for the Passion Struck recommended books

It describes an attitude that allows you to:

  • Face life’s challenges with unwavering courage and determination.
  • Enhance your overall well-being and find your focus.
  • Communicate confidently and resolve conflicts effectively.
  • Cultivate the endurance to achieve your fitness goals.
  • Raise kind and resilient children.
  • Act with integrity and stand up for what you believe in.

Real-Life Stories of Exemplifying Sisu:

Moving beyond theory, let’s delve into some real-life examples featured in the book. After all, there’s no better way to grasp a concept than seeing it live out loud.

Esa Saarinen, philosopher extraordinaire, uses his infectious enthusiasm to inspire others toward positive change (talk about putting words into action.). His philosophy shows us that sisu is about survival and flourishing.

Risto Isomäki, a writer and environmental activist, showcases the sisu spirit by tirelessly fighting for climate justice. His efforts remind us that sometimes, standing up for your beliefs requires more courage than climbing Everest.

How the Combination of Sisu and Being Passion Struck Lead to Holistic Growth

Sisu and Passion Struck may originate from different cultures and languages, but their cores have striking similarities. Both encapsulate a profound depth of determination, resilience, and unwavering commitment to one’s purpose. Let’s delve into their harmonious dance and how they jointly guide the journey of personal evolution.

1. Lighting the Inner Flame: Every journey to becoming passion-struck begins with an ember—an intrinsic drive waiting to be kindled. Sisu is the breath that fans this ember, transforming it into a roaring flame. It reinforces the innate hunger that passion-struck individuals possess, urging them to break boundaries and achieve their heart’s deepest desires.

2. Navigating the Path with Resilience: Being passion-struck means forging ahead with zeal, even when the trail gets steep. Here, sisu acts as the steadfast companion, reinforcing the message that no challenge is insurmountable. This blend of unwavering passion and gritty resilience ensures that even amidst storms, the journey continues.

3. The Courage of Authentic Expression: To be truly passion struck, one must wear their heart on their sleeve, revealing their genuine self, with its dreams, vulnerabilities, and aspirations. Sisu complements this by offering the bravery to stay true to oneself, even when faced with adversity or skepticism. Together, they champion the cause of genuine self-expression.

4. Growth Through Adversity: Both sisu and being a passion-struck advocate for the transformative power of challenges. They view hurdles not as hindrances but as catalysts for growth. Adversity becomes an arena where passion is honed and Sisu’s strength shines brilliantly, molding individuals who survive and thrive.

5. Building Deeper Bonds: Becoming passion struck extends beyond personal ambition—it’s about forming profound connections with others and the world. Similarly, sisu promotes unity, emphasizing collective endurance and shared victories. Together, they foster a world where passion is not a solitary pursuit but a communal celebration.

In Conclusion, Sisu and being passion-struck are more than mere terms; they represent a symbiotic relationship where passion and resilience feed off each other. Both beckon individuals to not just dream but to fervently pursue those dreams undeterred by challenges. As you reflect on their intertwined essence, ask yourself: How can harnessing the combined strength of sisu and being passion-struck propel you toward your destiny?

Resources From The Show “What Is Sisu? Harnessing the Finnish Art of Courage for Life”

Please note that some of the links on this page (books, movies, music, etc.) lead to affiliate programs for which The Passion Struck podcast receives compensation. It’s just one of the ways we keep the lights on around here. Thank you so much for being so supportive!

Transcript from the episode:

  1. “The Nordic Theory of Everything: In Search of a Better Life” by Anu Partanen, which explores Nordic culture and values including Sisu.
  2. American Psychological Association (APA) – Resources on resilience and coping:
  3. Greater Good Magazine – Science-based articles on well-being and resilience:
  4. Explore this New York Times article on why mattering is vital.
  5. Psychology Today – Articles on mental health, resilience, and personal growth:
  6. Sign up for our newsletter to receive regular updates on new episodes, guest interviews, and exclusive content designed to help you become the best version of yourself.
  7. Follow us on social media (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter) to join our passionate community and stay connected with like-minded individuals seeking personal growth and inspiration.
  8. Share this episode with your friends, family, and colleagues who could benefit from learning how to break free from the savior complex. Spread the power of personal growth and helping others by first potentializing from within.
  9. Leave a review on your favorite podcast platform, such as Apple Podcasts or Spotify, to let us know how this episode resonated with you and to help others
  10. Want to learn the 12 philosophies that the most successful people use to create a limitless life? Pre-order John R. Miles’s new book, Passion Struck, which will be released on February 6, 2024.

My solo episode on 8 Practical Steps For How You Thrive Through Tough Times:

Watch my interview with Louie Schwartzberg On The Incredible Journey Of Gratitude:

Catch my interview with Dr. John Delony On The 6 Wise Choices To Build A Non-Anxious Life:

My solo episode on How Life Lessons From Sailing Lead To Success And Growth:

About John R. Miles

Passion Struck album cover with John R. Miles episode 362 on What Is Sisu?; Finland's Powerhouse of Resilience

John R. Miles is an internationally acclaimed authority on the dynamics of intentional behavior change, leadership, personal mastery, and veteran support. As the visionary founder and CEO of PASSION STRUCK®, a renowned media conglomerate, he commands a substantial social media presence and garners tens of millions of annual views across his captivating podcasts and YouTube channels. The “Passion Struck with John R. Miles” podcast has achieved record-breaking success, consistently ranking as the foremost alternative health podcast on iTunes. Additionally, John is on the verge of unveiling his eagerly anticipated book, “Passion Struck,” scheduled for publication in early 2024.

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Passion Struck aspires to speak to the humanity of people in a way that makes them want to better, live better, and impact the world.


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