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Johan Bakke

Time to break the law of Jante?

Ungefärlig lästid: 2 minuter

Obviously, the law of Jante is not a real law – it’s not established by any parliament!

The law of Jante is an imaginary law that the majority of the citizens in the Nordic countries, especially Sweden, Norway and Denmark follow and the reason why so few people really gets anywhere in their life.

The law of Jante is a code of conduct that portrays doing things out of the ordinary, being overtly personally ambitious, or not conforming, as unworthy and inappropriate.

The law were first formulated in the form of the ten rules of Jante Law by the Norwegian author Aksel Sandemose, in his satirical novel A Fugitive Crosses His Tracks (En flyktning krysser sitt spor, 1933), but I think the attitudes themselves can be older.

The ten rules state:

  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.

I have violated the law of Jante for many years. I do it all the time when I promote my music. According to the law of Jante, you must not believe that you are special. Why should you promote something if you don’t think it is special?

Now I have really broken the law when I have changed my entire website to English. According to the law of Jante, I would not have any website at all. Why do I write in English? Am I so stupid so I think people outside Sweden would be interested in what I do?

The law of Jante says you should not believe you are special and that you can not claim and show off your positive abilities. The law of Jante does not say that someone else is not allowed to show off and highlight your positive abilities. According to the law of Jante, it is quite ok to promote an artist if it is not the artist himself who promotes!

The problem here is this:
If I don’t promote my work. How can anyone else then see my work, get some kind of interest and start to promote it?

I’m not going to following the law of Jante anymore. I have spent almost 42 years in a life where Jante has ruled, now it’s time for me to make a real effort to go beyond Jante’s rules.

The only thing that could adversely affect me is jealousy and fear from people around me…

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