For me personally one of the most distinctive characteristics of a Finn is honesty. In Finland dishonesty is considered shameful, and when doing business or even just in our daily lives, we take a lot of pride in being honest. That is one of the few traits of a conventional Finn I recognize in myself. While being abroad or at home, I would almost consider it a personal insult if someone were for example to try and trick me into paying too much money for something. The Finnish saying “rehellisyys maan perii” (literal translation: honesty inherits the land), insinuates that honesty is a trait that will eventually bring success or good fortune, and if one were to cheat, nothing good were to follow in the end. Finnish people have a strong sense of conscience which dictates quite heavily how our society works. We have rules and laws for everything, and even if they might not always seem reasonable, Finns have a lot of respect for authorities.
Another trait often used to describe Finns is Sisu, which means that undefined something that makes us push through in difficult situations. Perhaps it has something to do with our geographical location and therefore cold winters and long nights, or perhaps it is that our country is quite sparsely inhabited, but Finns have resilient natures. In practice it means that we do not give up, but do whatever is required from us. “Läpi harmaan kiven” (literally: through the grey rock) is another saying that describes the mindset quite well. It has sort of a “mind over matter” meaning, achieving something against all odds. We take pride in being able to stand with our own two feet, surviving. Sometimes this can cause trouble since Finns might have difficulties asking for help even when they should, since we take so much pride in coping alone, with pure sisu.