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.

I learned a new word last night — Sisu. Suzy and I decided two follow a fiend’s recommendation and we watched The Reluctant Traveler with Eugene Levy. The first episode was set in Finland, actually Lapland where Levy goes dog sledding, ice fishing, and ice pond floating to name a few. Can’t say it’s as good as Mash or Ted Lasso, but the scenery was fantastic and Levy’s search for the understanding of Sisu was entertaining.

Determination is an under-appreciated attribute, but i’ve seen it overcome deficiencies in sports, school, work, politics, and life in general.

I’m fascinated with the idea of a national character. The subject dominated my meditation this morning. What would you say our national character was? What should it be?

Sisu is a good start.


About the author

Webb Hubbell is the former Associate Attorney General of The United States. His novels, When Men Betray, Ginger Snaps, A Game of Inches, The Eighteenth Green, and The East End are published by Beaufort Books and are available online or at your local bookstore. When Men Betray won one of the IndieFab awards for best novel in 2014. Ginger Snaps and The Eighteenth Green won the IPPY Awards Gold Medal for best suspense/thriller. His latest, “Light of Day” will be on the bookstands soon.


  1. I think I would say our national character is drifting to too far toward soulless. In the past did a good bit of study about the soul and basically it is who you really are-not who you want to be, pretend to be or how you see yourself.
    As I consider my grandparents, parents. myself, my children and my grandchildren, there seems to be a distinct reduction in character in regard to readily identifiable characteristics that I would attribute to soul. Will have to think a little more to identify the soecifics.

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