5 Danish traits you should embrace to improve your life

Black Friday in Copenhagen, Denmark. The city is bustling. Crowds on the main shopping streets. In the shops too. Yet, it is quiet. You cannot hear a lot of noise in the city. Nor the crowds are very loud. Everything is in a relaxed orderHygge you would call it although they reserve this term for more cosy personal gatherings at home. So, what’s wrong? Or should we rather say what is right?

Well, it’s the Danes! Unlike Hamlet’s quote that there is something rotten in Denmark, the Danes are quite the opposite. Of course, all people on Earth have their pros and cons. But the Danes’ pros are what make them live a rather balanced life.

No, hygge has almost become a cliche about Denmark. We love hygge but we will not elaborate more on it. We will talk about the real Danish traits that you can appreciate. These are the ones that make Danes live happily overall.

But you know, it’s the total sum at the end of the day that matters: balancing the good things with the bad ones. The Danes are not into extremes: not too much unhappiness but not too much happiness either. Modesty is the word.

  1. Respect. The Danes are so respectful of other people’s privacy. This is sometimes taken to the extremes though but the result is a positive one. No meddling with other people’s lives and wasting your and their time with worthless things, like gossip or conspiracy. That leads us to #2.
  2. Straightforwardness. The Danes cut to the point. They hate too much talking for no reason. They get straight to the point and express themselves rigorously.
  3. Openness & honesty. The Danes rarely hide their opinion. They like to express themselves openly and present things as they are, even if they seem to be against them.
  4. Punctuality. Time is man’s most precious resource. They don’t like to waste it. Appointments are what they mean. You say at 19.00, you meet at 19.00, not later but not much earlier either. Oh! And things like meetings must last the minimum necessary time. Productivity matters.
  5. Humour. They say that the birthplace of sarcasm is Denmark. People use humour a lot and often towards becoming sarcastic. But they get sarcastic towards themselves too. No need to be ashamed of things. Throw some self-sarcasm and no one will take anything so seriously.

What is it that makes these traits so important?

Look! There are some fundamental Nordic values that lie beneath these very Danish traits. They are common in most Nordic societies today and have their roots either in the Law of Jante or the local culture.

Is there a reason to copy-paste these traits? Well, yes. Because they free resources. Remember? We said that time is the most valuable asset one has. Imagine being honest, to the point and punctual. How much time can you save from things that are potentially not important, which you can now invest in your own life?  A loooot!

And it is also about trust. People know what other people feel or believe. There is nothing to hide or worry about. All cards are face up on the table. This builds trust because you know that others are what they seem and you have no reasons to feel bothered or threatened. Trust makes the need for control vanish. And again you get resources freed (time and energy) to focus on your personal goals. 

And if things get tough, say “pyt” like the Danes, let go of all the negativity and move forward, in a positive way!