In Scandinavia we have an unofficial law that governs our behavior and is one of those norms that dictate our life.
The law of Jante
1. Thou shalt not believe thou art something.
2. Thou shalt not believe thou art as good as we.
3. Thou shalt not believe thou art more wise than we.
4. Thou shalt not fancy thyself better than we.
5. Thou shalt not believe thou knowest more than we.
6. Thou shalt not believe thou art greater than we.
7. Thou shalt not believe thou amountest to anything.
8. Thou shalt not laugh at us.
9. Thou shalt not believe that anyone is concerned with thee.
10. Thou shalt not believe thou canst teach us anything.
How long will this thought pattern govern the mind-set of the Scandinavian people in our “global village”?
In Sweden we also have a word that ties in with the Law of Jante. It’s the word “lagom” which means “just enough”, “optimal amount”, “not too much, not too little”. Using this word in our everyday discussions emphasizes the need to not stick out and be special but instead behave in a “lagom” way.