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What is Sisu and Why is Everyone Talking About It?

What is Sisu and Why is Everyone Talking About It?

Sisu is the hottest term out there that means ‘strength’ or ‘perseverance.’ Even when a tasks seems hopeless or crazy, there is always the concept of ‘sisu’ to remind you that no matter what life brings, there is a way past the struggles and challenges. Find out why people are talking about this not-so-new Finnish word and learn how to implement it in your own life.


The word sisu originates from ‘sisus,’ meaning ‘guts’ or ‘intestines’ in Finnish. Looking deeper, it is about more than someone’s innards, it is about a special thing reserved for challenging moments. If you think about the Olympic spirit, and what helps to propel athletes to push through immense pain and difficulty to win a medal, that is sisu. Sisu is also:

  • Energy
  • Determination
  • Inner fire
  • Facing adversity

Survival and success are about facing those moments we have go through personally and pulling inward for the strength to reach past what we believe our capabilities are in that moment. There is a hidden force that allows you to continue even when you thought you couldn’t. That ‘second wind,’ of inner strength is what sisu is really all about.

Pushing Past

When you think about sisu, picture yourself trying to climb a mountain. If you are going to train and push yourself, you will want to do whatever it takes to get to the peak. Some of the tips for being gritty enough to face your own mountain ordeal include:

  • Pushing yourself even further than you believe possible.
  • If you make a decision, stick with it to the end.
  • When faced with a challenge, think about how earlier generations coped. If you are uncomfortable, treat it like an experience

Even sisu can have downsides, when someone pushes too hard or becomes stubborn. With sisu, it helps to be reminded that there is a time to back down rather than silently endure in the midst of great challenges. It is not weakness to accept help. If you persevere too long, you could do great damage to yourself like burnout. Think about combining sisu with compassion both for yourself and others. There are comparable ways of thinking in other countries, but sisu has captured people’s thoughts because of its desire to pursue grit with grace. It is helps to remind yourself that you can keep pushing, and meet personal goals, but also know when to let go so you can accept help you need when you are truly struggling.

Don’t get caught up in concepts or language. Even if you feel strong, you may need help. You may be past the point of needing help because you kept pushing until you couldn’t any longer. It is okay to ask for help. That is where Serenity comes in. We support your journey to recovery wherever you come from and however you most need help. If you are struggling with addiction, call us 24/7 at our toll-free number: 866-294-9401