Jante Law approach… a journey to “happiness”

Being humble and respecting each others is the common ground for the Nordic people. The acceptable rules to behave are summarized in 10 unwritten rules named the Jante Law. However, these unwritten rules were actually part of a real book…

In 1933, Axel S. wrote this code of conduct of how people need to behave in their lives as mentioned below:

  1. You’re not to think you are anything special.
  2. You’re not to think you are as good as we are.
  3. You’re not to think you are smarter than we are.
  4. You’re not to imagine yourself better than we are.
  5. You’re not to think you know more than we do.
  6. You’re not to think you are more important than we are.
  7. You’re not to think you are good at anything.
  8. You’re not to laugh at us.
  9. You’re not to think anyone cares about you.
  10. You’re not to think you can teach us anything.

Very simple rules that Nordic people acknowledge and live accordingly. The only thing that you have to do is to memorize and here you go…

Not so simple, for all of us that are born and raised outside Scandinavia. Our education system is built on excellence and how we can prove ourselves better than the others…

“Probably”, we can reach happiness without reaching excellence. For me, this does not necessarily mean to have low expectations, but to be able to respect and to cooperate…

Almost 100 years ago, Nordic nations set the “rules” and demanded happiness. Let’s us read the jante law and reflect: maybe it will take us shorter…

8 thoughts on “Jante Law approach… a journey to “happiness”

  1. “You’re not to think you are smarter than we are.
    You’re not to think you are good at anything”

    Why don’t I take a shortcut and kill myself already 🙂


      1. I also find it interesting, genuinely interesting, that what apparently started as satire for small-town life came to be taken not only seriously but as a life-defining-wisdom -in no less than four countries, with a combined population (today) of more than 25million people.

        Maybe that was the 1930s equivalent of going viral!


      2. The unwritten set of rules of « Jante Law » play an important role in the creation of the equalitarian Nordic societies and set the fundamental of respect, cooperation and trust. Nordic culture is reflected in the Nordic business and employees are closer to work life balance which is a far fetched dream for other cultures.


  2. Very educational approach!! And when i think how we were as children… We’re very far from Nordic philosophy which i sense that it is very correct !! Thank you Apostolos for reminding how wrong we are and where we want to be!!

    Liked by 1 person

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