The Swedish philosophy of Lagom, pronounced “lar-gohm”, is often linked to lifestyles and finances, but can it be linked to learning as well?
In her book, Lagom: The Swedish Secret of Living Well, Stockholm based author and photographer Lola Akinmade Åkerström describes the philosophy as a way to sum up the Swedish psyche and a reason why Sweden is one of the happiest countries in the world, after ranking seventh place in the World Happiness Report 2019.
“The Lagom mindset naturally dislikes stress and so, it does its best to reduce it. For example, getting rid of things (less is more), work-life (balance), relationships (trust) or situations (harmony in society) that bring unnecessary stress. Having too much or too little causes stress, so Lagom tries to find its balance between both,” says Åkerström.
But how can university students apply this Swedish philosophy to their academic progression?
In an interview with Forbes earlier this year, Åkerström acknowledged that Lagom can be applied to different scenarios and everyday situations.
“Working too much is an antithesis of Lagom so a very quick way of applying the concept at work is to take regular breaks. In Sweden, taking a break with coffee and maybe a sweet treat with colleagues even has a name – Fika. It helps you recalibrate your day, so you’re not working too much,” she says.
As the Lagom mindset invests in planning, meetings and consensus in a flat-organisational structure, students can use this as a possible strategy during group projects at university or during an internship.
A way to strike balance, Lagom can reduce the heavy burdens of a hectic lecture schedule and ensure that students spend an equal amount of time working on their social life at university.
“It’s often described as “not too little, not too much, just right”, but Lagom is a lot more complex and nuanced than that simple definition. It permeates Swedish society and language so profoundly, from work and family to home decor, food, taking care of the environment, finances, and more,” Åkerström adds.
Learn the ways of Lagom, the Swedish life philosophy meaning ‘just enough.’ At the very core of it is striking a healthy balance with the world around us, without having to change too much nor deny ourselves anything. pic.twitter.com/hGTvFCfG0J
— Fully Booked (@_FullyBooked) March 9, 2019
Once you have mastered Lagom during university life, it could be a useful philosophy to take forward into future professional settings as it enables you to take important breaks from the screen and to preserve a work-life balance.
A philosophy without a rule book, applying Lagom to your daily life might equate to regular nature walks, creating study and social schedules or meditation; it’s really up to you!
And by treating Lagom as an anchor for learning, not just for university studies, but for social settings and professional environments, you may find yourself straying away from situations that trigger excessive stress and sticking to productive and healthy learning habits instead.