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The dangerous game of the Law of Jante…
This is something I’m sure everyone has heard about, or felt strongly sometimes or often. But here’s how the law of Jante goes:
1. You’re not to think you are anything special.
2. You’re not to think you are as good as us.
3. You’re not to think you are smarter than us.
4. You’re not to convince yourself that you are better than us.
5. You’re not to think you know more than us.
6. You’re not to think you are more important than us.
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.
You’re not to think you are anything special...
Why shouldn’t I? I am something special. I am UNIQUE in my own way, just like everyone else. If you’re working or struggling towards a goal, reach your goal and realise your dream – shouldn’t you then be able to believe you are something? Who decides you’re not?
You’re not to think you are as good as us…
Who is “US”? I’m just as good as everyone else! I’m good enough and just fine the way I am.
You’re not to think you are smarter than us.
Smarter? Hmmm, everyone isn’t as smart about all the same things, but some people are smarter about certain things. That’s surely why people choose different educations and directions in life? Everyone can’t be the same, and that’s a good thing! But it doesn’t mean people are stupid, everyone can’t be rocket scientists.
You’re not to convince yourself that you are better than us…
I don’t think Petter Northug Jr has to convince himself he’s better at skiing than others – he knows. Everyone expects that he’ll win! God forbid if he loses! We love to hate Petter Northug. When you work so hard and focussed towards a goal, isn’t it then right to accept that people are better than yourself. Can’t we allow others success? It’s called jealousy! This is true in many other cases too. Is it so bad to be good at something? Or to be the best at something? Isn’t it typical Norwegian to be great?
You’re not to think you know more than us…
Know more? Yes in everything there will be someone that knows more than you – and yes, maybe in some cases this person is YOU! We humans are made so we are better at some things and worse at others. Maybe even tragically bad at some things. So what – we have to accept this is how it is. We are exactly as good as we’re meant to be! But you have to be able to allow other’s to be better than us. It is a very good trait to allow others something!
You’re not to think you are more important than us…
What is this bullshit about us not being this or that! Can’t everyone just think about what is right and wrong instead. There is nothing wrong with some people taking a bit more space than others in this world. It’s a good thing. Imagine if everyone was the same… Everyone liked the same things, the same clothes, the same school, the same workplace etc. Then we’d turn into robots, and in my head this sounds terribly boring! I like the thought that we’re all so different, everyone makes their own choices and dare to make their own decisions. Without worrying about what the guy next door would thing. What he thinks doesn’t matter – we have to dare to follow our dreams and take more risks. You don’t have to “walk over dead bodies” to get there. Again – common sense and respect for each other.
You’re not to think you are good at anything…
Is this as far as we’ve gotten in 2013? Everyone is good at something. We humans are so different that for the society to work it is really important that all roles are filled. No highly paid executive should even be at work if no-one was at home washing, cooking and looking after the house. This is something a lot of people forget! No-one is more important than others. Everyone is a piece of the puzzle, so what is important is mutual RESPECT. We can’t forget that. Not everyone remembers this when they are “climbing the ladder”, that at some point they were further down. The douchebag act doesn’t have to come out just because you’re on top!
You’re not to laugh at us…
Laughing is good for your health. A good laugh makes you live longer! Laughing is really good for you. But there is a big difference between laughing WITH someone and laughing AT them! Too many people forget this. A golden rule is to USE YOUR HEAD!!! Think about what feels right and what doesn’t – it’s usually correct… The human body is unique like that, don’t ignore your gut feeling, it’s normally right.
You’re not to think anyone cares about you…
Everyone has someone that cares about them. Be it family, friends or colleagues. Someone cares! Maybe the neighbour cares, someone at the supermarket or someone admiring you for what you’re doing or plainly loves you. Us Norwegians aren’t good enough at showing emotions. We are too worried about what everyone thinks and believes. Stop that. Don’t spend energy and time thinking about what everyone else is thinking and believing. Do what’s right for you! Then your life will be so much better, and you will feel much better too. This usually comes with age and experience. But then us that are a bit older have to take responsibility and show the kids today that it’s OK to care about others! To show respect and understanding for other people… That’s just good manners.
You’re not to think you can teach us anything…
Everyone can teach someone SOMETHING. We are so lucky that we partake in the school of life where we learn new things every day. We get new experiences to keep building on. With this others coming after us can learn from our mistakes. If we can help others to find the right direction by using our own experiences and guide them as good as we can – that’s an amazing thing. What a feeling it is to help others with your own experiences. Imagine making a difference for others – that is what I do and I’m proud of it!
Small advice from a “crohn princess” having experienced the Law of Jante too close for comfort.
On your way towards your goal you will always find someone that doesn’t believe in you and trying to make you believe you are worthless. There will always be someone that is jealous trying to make things difficult for you because they are bitter for not following their own dreams. The more success you have, the more “haters” you’ll get. Choose to take it as a compliment, do become frustrated and even angry, but use that energy to fuel you towards reaching your own goals. Remember this is not your problem but theirs – take it with a smile and remember they are wrong and you never give up!
-make a difference –
Don’t be alone in the world – take care of your pack! 🙂