I believe the most valuable gift you can get is your life. It's something you own that no one else has. You have your mind, body and soul, your thoughts, dreams and purpose that are truly yours what no one can take away from you. Therefore, you get to choose how you see yourself, your life and this world. Frankly you have everything within you to live your life the fullest and create your happiness.
Yet this is easier said than done. Our human brains are wired to assume the worst so be alert for dancer and ready to fight or flight though we hardly encounter tigers anymore. Most professionals are not excited about their work, millions experience burnout and great deal of talents are resigning. Our work-life imbalance makes it harder to maintain our well-being which impacts our overall life quality and happiness. So, what can we do to thrive instead of struggle?
I see many opportunities.
I'm proudly a Finn. I've born and raised in the capital area of Finland, Helsinki, where I've received my education (for free) and experienced a 10-year marketing career enhancing brand and customer engagement in various fields before transitioning to the field of coaching. This 30+ year experience living in the world's happiest country (The Happiness Report 2018-2021) has given much and thought me a lot.
Since today, the 6th of December marks Finland's independence, I wanted to share some of my top insights and lessons from my home country that I believe are underrated and unused but which can increase our happiness and fulfillment when applied. There is a lot of magic in Finnish culture and spirit that even most Finns do not realize let alone use for the advantage of their own happiness and well-being. But these are not only for my fellow Finns - see which ones you'd adjust and apply to your lifestyle.
So, these are my selected key 5 lessons from the world's happiest nation. How do you see they can support creating your happy, healthy and fulfilling way of living and working?
1. Embrace your freedom and independence
Finland has a relatively relaxed way of living. We are hard working and want to use our time effectively. But what I mean by relaxed is how the Finnish culture tends to embrace more cooperation than competition. For example, since childhood personal qualities and interests are praised which boosts the sense of belonging and being loved.
Finding your path to freedom begins by accepting your true self, respecting your uniqueness, and allowing yourself to enjoy life on your terms — essential steps toward finding your innermost passions and bigger life purpose free from external expectations.
What can you do to embrace the choices you have?
2. Cultivate your 'sisu' spirit
Finns might not seem very optimistic at first, rather pessimistic introverts calculating the all the risks before taking action. Their empowering optimism appears in the stoic spirit of 'sisu'. Once Finns have made up their mind, nothing will stop them.
This perseverance helps Finns to pursue anything with strong determination — even in the most challenging conditions. Sisu encourages Finns to surpass any limits, grow careers they value and live
robust lives without sacrificing their needs and highest priorities. After building one's thriving identity and lifestyle, sisu empowers one to follow a bigger calling. Making a difference pursuing ones meaning and leaving a legacy often requires a lot of grit typical of sisu. Challenges are seen part of that journey and sisu spirit helps to overcome any obstacles along the way.
What thrives you to go that extra mile to pursue what is meaningful to you?
3. Enjoy being in solitude
The Finnish saying 'happiness does not come from searching for it, but living it' describes well where
the focus of happy life is: doing what you really want to be doing and enjoying it. For many Finns, this
includes being in nature from daily forest walks to hiking trips alone or with close friends.
There are numerous studies reporting the positive impact spending time in nature has on our well-being.
For Finns near and far to cities, it is natural to be surrounded by forests and lakes. So, many of their
common activities take place outdoors from sailing and fishing to biking and mushroom hunting. The fresh air, being active and being surrounded by nature helps to stay fit and recharge.
At home or in nature, Finns also feel cozy just spending time in solitude exploring their inner thoughts, reflecting and simply being. Practicing mindful being in the present moment cultivates joy — the only moment when we can truly enjoy anything, and everything.
When do you make time for yourself?
4. Invest in yourself
From an early age, all Finnish children have a personal education plan embracing their unique strengths and interests throughout their adulthood. With a life expectancy of 82 years, Finns have a lifetime to pursue their passions, invest in their exciting career growth paths and even educate themselves to a new profession at any age. So, lifelong learning and personal development are supported in many ways.
I used this opportunity by taking a study leave during my career. These master studies in business management, leadership and work well-being accompanied my coaching training. Learning and development keep our brain elastic which is also essential for fulfilling growth needs.
How will you invest in self-development that embraces your aspirations?
5. Master minimalism
The Finnish lifestyle has the same essence as its finest design, art and architecture: minimalism. The clean lines, natural materials and earthy tones express the ageless aesthetics typical to the design philosophy in Finland. Minimalism also creates room for healthy living. Like designing a living environment which values lightness, empty space, practicality and comfort, we can also arrange our other life priorities to boost well-being in the areas that matter most.
Having less clutter also allow room for new ideas and thoughts to come. So, let's take this Scandi-cool design ideology to free up mental space and improve our self-management skills. Embrace simplicity and use your resources where they matter the most regarding your bigger aims and purpose. Having less things on your table also free up your mental space which nurtures our natural creativity and problem-solving abilities. When we put aside the unnecessary, we can use our brain capacity on what brings us meaning and happiness.
What could you give away to have more room for your priorities?
Let me know how these ways can impact your career and life happiness!
Read more about my life and career growth journey embracing my independence and freedom - two of my top values.
When you want to progress your career fulfillment and work-life enjoyment, I'm happy to help you plan your next steps. You can ask for your free clarity call with me to get started.
Joyful Independence Day Finland! 💙