LAGOM, A SWEDISH WAY OF LIFE
We’ve all heard of the question “Is the glass half full or half empty?”. For the Swedes it’s none of those. The glass is simply…lagom. Lagom is the most important Swedish word you will ever learn, but what is “lagom”? Lagom builds on the concept of minimalism and finding joy in your possessions. The word itself means just right. It also means just enough, sufficient, the correct amount. If you want to bring a touch of Swedish life into your world, lagom is a great way to do it. In fact, it seems Swedes are so good at adhering to lagom, they have taken the concept to extremes. Swedes are lagom loud, lagom friendly, and lagom intrusive — all according to standards developed over generations. And some believe it all started because of those crazy cold winters. For many Swedes, it is a word that is used every day, several times a day. It’s so easy to use and goes with so many things. It’s in the very DNA of Swedes. The word lagom is said to come from folk etymology and a special phrase used by the Vikings: “Laget om!”. These two words mean “around to the group” and it's said that this was used when describing just how much mead one should drink when passing the bowl around the group. A Viking took a sip of mead and yelled “Laget om!” and passed it to the next Viking. Making sure everyone got a sip. This etymology is commonly accepted to be right but in reality the word lagom derives from the old Swedish word l"aghum", meaning according to law. Although some parallels are made with the Law of Jante and the common set of rules about how much one should have of something. Again, things go back to the greater good for the whole group which is something that is applied to the Swedish society as a whole.
Nowadays people tend to move away from lagom more and more though and many Swedes are no longer afraid of being more than lagom, because what is so wrong with wanting a little bit more?
We say, as long as no one gets hurt, go do your thing, be more than lagom!