Sisu: The Ultimate Mental Toughness
The Soviet Union raged war on Finland on November 30, 1939. It was the taste of World War II. The Soviets had a multitude of armouries and it all started when they dropped over 350 bombs on Finland that claimed the lives of many civilians. The Soviet Union had over 450,000 soldiers, over 6,000 armoured tanks and almost 4,000 aircraft. This number is far more than the Finnish. The Soviet soldiers are almost 4 to 1 of the Finland soldiers. The armoury is like 20 to 1 and there is nothing left for the Finland soldiers to win the war.
This was the winter war. The question is not if the Finland will lose armies; it is about if any of them will survive. They were surrounded by Soviet soldiers and they were left to use the only concept they know, called SISU.
Sisu is a Finnish concept described as stoic determination, tenacity of purpose, grit, bravery, resilience, and hardiness and is held by Finns themselves to express their national character.
Sisu is the tenacity to develop a serious mental toughness in the middle of no solution. When there is no hope, it is the ability to stand up and fight. There was no other thing left for the Finnish soldiers than to use the SISU.
By the time the war ended, the Finnish had lost over 70,000 soldiers, but this is nothing compared to the over 323,000 soldiers the Soviet union lost. Finland fought with 300,000 Soldiers and Soviet Union went into the war with 900,000 soldiers, but Finland won. The war ended in 1940 when the peace agreement was signed.
Grit is the close word to Sisu, but Sisu is more than grit. It is a crazy mental toughness that makes you face anything irrespective of the odds. Perseverance that is unbreakable.
In psychology, grit is a positive, non-cognitive trait based on an individual’s perseverance of effort combined with the passion for a particular long-term goal or end state.
Sometimes in life, we face insurmountable obstacles and sometimes lead to failures. How we react measures the amount of Sisu within us. The ability to know that failure is just an event and everything can get back in shape and better is imperative.
If we dare for something great, we will face a moment where our power and physical abilities will fade out. Sometimes we fail multiple times, and this will call the power within us. The amount of Sisu we have in us determines how we react to the failure.
When you are in the middle of failures, tap in your Sisu.
We all need to develop great mental toughness to achieve all our aims.