Sisu

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A recent study aimed to fill in that gap, and offer a more precise language for discussing the term. While examining sisu within the psychological framework, it sought to render it less elusive as a construct by giving it an easily citable definition rooted within the field of positive psychology. Sisu as a psychological power potential was introduced for the first time in the 3rd World Congress on Positive Psychology in Los Angeles on 29 June 2013. In the study, sisu is described as a psychological key competence which enables extraordinary action to overcome a mentally or physically challenging situation. Sisu also contributes to what has been named the action mindset; a consistent, courageous approach toward challenges which at first seem to exceed our capacities. A related on-line survey (conducted between March and May 2013) tracked the cultural representations of sisu among contemporary Finns (and Finnish Americans) and revealed that sisu is still deeply valued, and that there is public interest for cultivating this strength capacity as well. All in all, the study received 1,060 responses. Among the main findings was the perception of sisu as a reserve of power, which enables extraordinary action to overcome mentally or physically challenging situations (rather than being the ability to pursue long-term goals and be persistent). To elaborate on the function of sisu: it is a powerful psychological potential which enables the individual to tap into mental strength beyond their pre-conceived resources. Wielding sisu in the face of adversity helps individuals push through what first seemed like the boundaries of their mental or physical capacities. Furthermore, sisu is an action mindset which equips the individual to choose to take on challenges beyond their observed capacities. It provides the final empowering push when we would otherwise hesitate to act. Sisu can be conceptualized as taking action against the odds. Additionally, even though 53% of the respondents believed some people innately have more sisu, a majority of 83% of the respondents believed that sisu is a flexible quality which can be cultivated through conscious practice (rather than a being a fixed quality), and the majority of respondents were interested in developing this capacity.