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Life, learning, Sisu and happiness

I have always believed that just to be born is a miracle. Life is precious and no one knows how much time we have here. Therefore we must make it count and live a good life. Happiness rarely comes with just positive thoughts and feelings, but we need to create the environment and circumstances for a good, fulfilling and happy life. This very often means hard work, perseverance, life-long learning, willingness to take risks, abilities to see adversities as opportunities, which may take you further in life.

You need passion, purpose and perseverance to succeed well in life. Otherwise you might give up too soon from achieving your targets and to live a full and meaningful life. Positivity and happiness does not mean just about being constantly smiling and happy about everything that happens to you, but the ability to see opportunities even during difficult times and the ability to turn hardships into challenges and stepping stones to a better quality of life.

Sisu is a Finnish word, which can not be translated with just one word. Sisu is integrity, courage, determination, willpower, perseverance, grit, extraordinary endurance in the face of adversity and never giving up-mentality. Finland has been the number one country in happiness for several years according to UN. However, Finns are not just in jolly mood all the time, but they are mainly happy with their quality of life in Finland. This means, that all Finns are given equal access to good education, social and health care services as well as there are plenty of opportunities for social mobility, because of equity in education and work. Finland is also considered a safe country to live in and we have plenty of nature to go to and relax: plenty of forests, lakes, islands, sea and Lapland, where everyone can go no matter if they are rich or poor.

For me personally happiness is being truly me and finding my own strengths, talent and passion, which is creative education. It gives me purpose and I find it meaningful to work with children and educators to create a better future not just for them, but for us all. I also enjoy being and working with authentic, real and honest people, who are willing to work hard and persevere towards their goals. It is enjoyable to see someone in their element and putting their talent into good use whether it is teaching, singing, business, sports or anything else. It fascinates me, how we can push ourselves and other people around us to become better at our unique talents and strengths. As a teacher and teacher trainer, I get to witness learning and successful moments often, which makes me truly happy. Happiness is not just getting all you want, but it is more about enjoying about the things you already have: wisdom, health, family, friends, meaningful work, nature… The list is endless.

I have the need to be the master of my own life. I enjoy what I do and I aim to put my talent into good use on a daily basis as well as further develop myself with time and effort. Whatever happens in life, we should never give up, stop discovering problems and figuring out new solutions. You can change directions and find another way, if you keep looking. Value yourself and never underestimate your power to change your life and influence other people’s lives too. Do not underachieve in life or waste your talent. Remember that you are worth a good and successful life and you can create an impact with your efforts. Surround yourself with people, who treat you with respect and lift you up. Dare to dream, dream big and take action. Work hard, but don’t forget to enjoy life too. Live and let live. Be nice to other people, live a good life and make the most of it.

Pursuit of happiness is deciding what you want to do with your life, choosing what makes you happy, taking chances and changing your life to fit your needs. Do not pretend to be anyone else, follow other people’s desires and dreams, but live your own authentic life. And find the Finnish Sisu within you to have the courage and strength to get to where you want to be and succeed with.

My main aim in life and as an educator is not just academically strong, but also happy and healthy children, who will find their own strength, sisu and talent to make the world a bit better place for us all. If the next generation has the capacity of being more informed and ethical global citizens, we have succeeded very well in life.

What’s your passion and purpose in life?

Pirjo Suhonen, the founder of ALO Finland.

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