I spend my time generally between two places and I have come to notice something significant in my personal and professional (coaching) life. Winter, especially late winter in (Copenhagen) Denmark is harsh. This is in great contrast to my home in San Diego, California (USA) where the Sun is shining or at least it is bright most days, people are out and about in the winter months exercising, taking classes and visibly energetic. Back here in Denmark, a beautiful little country in which to visit or live, I should add, the winter is challenging.

By late winter it has been months of weather that is cold, windy, icy, snowy, rainy, grey, devoid of sunshine most days and daylight has been in very short supply. People smile very little. It seems there is more political infighting in the government, more fighting between the police and the youth/alternative lifestyle groups, and more proposals of laws against youth or “outsiders” in winter. People rarely smile. The weather promotes quick walking with one’s face down, pushing against the rain or snow being blown at you. A lot of beer and alcohol is consumed in order to feel good. People’s faces look sometimes tired but mostly blank. In the media and among people with whom you converse, it is not uncommon to hear about depression and stress. It is as though the life has been sucked out of people for a few months.

Not uncommonly, in the circles in which I move, I therefore stand out. Why? Because I smile – in fact I smile so much it is the expression on my face when I am not conscious of it because I am smiling inside. I am a “morning person” and do my best work and have my best energy in the morning until early afternoon. I also have had life circumstances and a spiritual journey that has made me grateful for each day I awaken with the ability to appreciate and enjoy everything from awakening in a cozy bed, being able to take a hot shower and put on a change of clothing to having the energy and ability to walk to a train, take notes in a meeting, spend time chatting with someone I encounter or exercising at the gym. My days are good. I achieve much of what I want to achieve in life. Friends and acquaintances here comment on my attitude and energy, amazed about it.

When I have a meeting with people, or teach or coach someone, this same attitude pervades our interaction. I consciously bring this energy, this EMOTION to our relationship, to our time together. It is my effective weapon against what in Denmark is called Janteloven or Jante’s Law/The Law of Jante.

The term, Janteloven, was coined in the work of Danish author Axel Sandemose in 1933 in a novel entitled “A Fugitive Crosses His Tracks”. In the story, the main character commits a murder when he is a young man, and the conformist values of his hometown of Jante are viewed as responsible for the murder. It is determined that the values of his community destroyed the individualistic spirit of his boyhood. Although Sandmose himself did not insist these laws were exclusively Danish, they have come to be associated with Danish and general Nordic values.

Janteloven is generally understood as a metaphor that epitomizes the negative values of group mentality. It has been interpreted as a set of laws that discourages “individuality, individual achievement, novelty of thought and action, spontaneity, variety and competition….encourages sameness, insidious deceitfulness, jealousy, mediocrity, and complacency”.

Janteloven has 10 commandments:

  • You shall not think that you are special.

  • You shall not think that you are of the same standing as us.

  • You shall not think that you are smarter than us.

  • Don’t fancy yourself as being better than us.

  • You shall not think that you know more than us.

  • You shall not think that you are more important than us.

  • You shall not think that you are good at anything.

  • You shall not laugh at us.

  • You shall not think that anyone cares about you.

  • You shall not think that you can teach us anything.

In a very real way, this is a soul-killing life philosophy that deadens the spirit, wipes the smile off your face and is deeply immersed in low-level negative emotions such as depression, worry and fear. It promotes jealousy and resentment about other people, their achievements and their positive attitude.

Ultimately, this Janteloven attitude results in being left behind in relationships, careers and society in general. It leads to failure. It is not a viable solution in the modern world for creating fruitful personal relationships, families or careers.

When you embrace a Janteloven attitude you embrace a lie.

The truth is this: You can do anything, have anything, be anything you put your mind to set about achieving. The fuel you need to make it work is EMOTION. Not only that, it needs to be a high level emotion – gratitude, happiness, joy, hope, love. Depression, worry, fear and anxiety will not bring you a positive achievement. You will get what you don’t want – because you focused mentally on it and put the emotions of fear, worry, anxiety and depression behind it.

When you do not achieve a goal, take a look at the structure of your life and what you are holding in your mind and the emotions behind it. Typically you find you have been mired in worry, depression, and fear. The result is not achieving a goal. It is then time to kick yourself into high gear and get back on track with what is true – and that is the Law of Attraction. Remind yourself that your will attract whatever you focus on and invest with emotion, whatever that may be. I have embraced the lie that says you cannot have, do or be what you desire. As soon as this is realized it is time to release it and get back on track.

So the process is straight-forward. Be clear about what you want. Focus on it with not only your mind, but your emotions. Direct your emotions. As musician Joan Armatrading says, “light up”. Be grateful. Be joyful. Be excited. Be motivated. Be insistent. See yourself achieving your goal/having what you want and get happy about it. That vision is important. Focus is powerful. Stay focused on that outcome – because where you place your focus is where you will find yourself in the end. Seize every opportunity and be willing to take risks to create opportunity – all with your goal clearly in mind. Expect to receive what your desire.

The Universe listens to what goes through your head and is powered by your emotions. Your emotions make your thought “scream” out what you want and in response the Universe. Without judgment, gives you what you are so strongly focusing on with your thoughts and emotions. That means your best move, if you want to achieve your vision, is to plug into positive, high-level emotions and put them behind your vision.

You will manifest what you desire.

About the Author:

L. Barrett Powell is a coach and cultural trainer/consultant with a background in journalism, theology and counseling. Barrett’s focus is on Law of Attraction coaching, and working with individuals and inter-cultural organizations as a coach, coordinator and trainer. You can reach her by email at lbpdkcoaching@gmail.com