Winter War

I hate to admit it but I spent a good hunk of Saturday afternoon eating ridgie potato chips, drinking diet Pepsi and playing Panda Pop on my iPad. Ambition? Motivation? Drive? Whatever you may want to call it? No, no, no and no. The veggie beef soup I had promised myself I was going to make was finally ready at 9 pm. That was fine with me. I was full of chips, anyway!

I had two reports – a long ‘un and a short ‘un – I needed to write. I must have found myself doing other things and put myself back on task two dozen times!

I finally got some interest in doing something productive Sunday afternoon. The real world was less than 24 hours in the future. I needed to get moving or I would be behind the proverbial 8 ball!

All this made me think of motivation. What is it? Why do we have it now but not later (or vice versa)? How do we cultivate it?

In true fashion I went looking for one thing and ended up with several, other, absolutely fascinating things that may be, at best, tangential to what is supposed to be my topic. You remember my topic: age-related macular degeneration; right?

First thing I found was the 1939 Winter War between the USSR and the Finns. I had never heard of it before but I was glad to discover it. I love history and I love stories about people with heart and endurance. David and Goliath sort of stuff.  In the winter of 1939 the Soviets decided they wanted Finland. They invaded in force without warning or formal declaration of war (unless you count leveling Helsinki with aerial bombardment as a warning! Bad form.)

The Finns were outnumbered and outgunned. Badly. Like 3:1 badly. Still they fought on in the dark and sub-zero temperatures. They had no other choice. They were children of the North and had been so for endless generations. The North is a hard taskmaster and she had taught her children to fight on in the face of ‘hopeless’ odds and appalling conditions. That was the way it was done.

According to James Clear in his essay on ‘sisu’, the Finns lost 70,000 people. The Soviets lost 323,000. The USSR sued for peace in the spring of 1940. The Finns had won. (Sisu is “a word that has no direct translation, but it refers to the idea of continuing to act even in the face of repeated failures and extreme odds.”)

Sisu is not easy to translate according to Clear. It sounds as if it is a cussed stubbornness. It is being too ‘stubborn’ and too ‘dumb’ to realize you are fighting a lost cause and ‘should’ give in. Emilia Lahti, a Finn herself, says sisu is all about facing challenges with valor and determination.  Sort of like taking the reins in your teeth and riding into the fray with guns blazing. Sisu appears to be the stuff of legend.

What does this have to do with blowing off an afternoon with a video game and snack food? Not much. I would suspect everyone of those Finns had had lazy days with zero motivation. No sense feeling guilty.

What does sisu have to do with AMD? Probably a bit more. Those normal, everyday Finnish people were suddenly faced with a dilemma that was neither normal nor everyday. They decided to fight. They reached into their souls and became equals to the Nordic heroes of legend. They became warriors. Not a bad trick when faced with an epic challenge.

Draw your own parallels. AMD is not 900,000 Soviet soldiers on your doorstep but it may be your Winter War. How do you want to be remembered?

Next: Charmed Life

Home

Ratings

  • Rate this
  • Summary
Current Average Ratings
Overall quality
Avg: 5.00/5
Applies to topic
Avg: 5.00/5
Helpful to me
Avg: 5.00/5
Winter War
Total Avg Rating: 5.00 out of 5 with based on 1 rating(s)
Overall quality
Applies to topic
Helpful to me