For me, Finnishness is probably mostly about behaviour and the way we think about everything without even realizing it.
To my experience, Finns are used to too good. We have amazing system yet everyone feels bad about it. Working with Americans, for example, I’ve realized how little we praise everything – I wish we knew more about the ‘fake it ’till you make it’ way of talking about everything. Finnishness is sadly about not knowing how to respect things – neither good or bad ones. I’ve learned form other cultures that even if something wasn’t 100% perfect, you can be proud of it and happy with it. You can say to others ‘I love you’ as a greeting just to make them happy. And I believe saying those things make them real eventually.
What’s awesome about our thinking is that we don’t even realize how good we want to make everything. We are reliable and we always want to improve everything – this is something I used to take for granted but later realized that this is totally not happening everywhere. Finns want to make everything as effectively as possible and the idea is always to do everything the best way we could. We question bad behaviors and systems and keep fixing them all the time. We’re always mastering everything – which is even a problem somethimes. We’re so good at optimizing we don’t even have work for everyone.
For me, Finnishness is the will to make everything always better with the downside of never seeing what we actualy got done. On some rare occasions, luckily.
Luckily sometimes, like when Finland turned 100 years old, we spend time reminding ourselves of all the good in Finland.