Janteloven is a cultural term that literally means “The Jante Law” but it doesn’t have a direct translation to English. If one were to describe it, one could say it’s a principle which places importance on equality and egalitarianism while discouraging individuality and personal success or in other words, standing out. Janteloven is a Nordic phenomenon and also occurs in Danish by the same name, Swedish (jantelagen) and even Finnish (Janten laki). The term first appeared in Aksel Sandemose's book En flyktning krysser sitt spor (A fugitive crosses his tracks).
There are 10 specific rules to Janteloven:
- Don’t think you’re anything special.
- Don’t think you’re as good as us.
- Don’t think you’re smarter than us.
- Don’t convince yourself that you’re better than us.
- Don’t think you know more than us.
- Don’t think you are more important than us.
- Don’t think you are good at anything.
- Don’t laugh at us.
- Don’t think anyone cares about you.
- Don’t think you can teach us anything.
However, lots of people dismiss this and some have even made up their own rules, thus anti-Janteloven:
- You are exceptional.
- You are more worthy than anyone can measure.
- You can do something special.
- You have something to give to others.
- You have done something you can be proud of.
- You’ve got a bundle of unused resources.
- You are good at something.
- You can accept others.
- You’ve got the capability to understand and learn from others.
- There is someone who love you.
Which sounds better to you?