When my children go to bed in the evening I tell them four things: dream, believe, work hard and succeed. It’s a funny little habit that we have kept up over the years.

I don’t really remember how it all started, but part of it must have come from something I read. The other part probably comes from pure gut feelings and values.

I grew up in a typical middle-class family with loving parents, who were always very encouraging. They allowed my brother and me to follow our dreams. They believed in us. I was rather wild in my youth, so in that sense my parents’ patience and belief was admirable.

They also made sure that we always worked hard. They never forced us into certain career paths. For us, happiness was to try to be the best that you can be within your own limits. I never planned to become a politician.

As a matter of fact we were an apolitical family. When I was a kid I wanted to be a professional ice hockey player.

My Dad is a talent scout in the sport, so he must have realised that I didn’t have enough talent. No matter how hard I worked or believed, I was not going to realise my dream of playing in the NHL.

Although the same went for golf – a pro career was not in the cards for me – I did work hard enough to win a small golf scholarship to study at Furman University in the US. For me, it was a game changer. I fell in love with learning and have not looked back since. I then went into academia, the civil service and finally politics.

When I tour schools around the country, I tell our youngsters to listen to their hearts, work hard and pursue their dreams. I tell them to fight cynicism because it limits your capacity to learn new things. Curiosity is a virtue.

I believe that humans are inherently good and that we all want to make this world a better place. This holds true for
the great majority of people that I meet in Finland and around the world.

The paradox is that people who go into politics often begin with an ideal of improving the world. Some manage to keep this vision clear throughout their careers. Others don’t.

My job is a daily fight against cynicism. In politics there are some people who lose the dream. They become blinded by power and lose their sense of striving for the common good.

I have been in politics for 11 years, a quarter of my life. I am an eternal optimist. During the toughest moments many things have kept me going. One of them is that evening moment when I try to follow in my parents’ footsteps and tell my children to dream, believe, work hard and succeed.

  1. Hannu Maki
    28.03.2015 18.52

    How true. I left Finland on the same day as I graduated in Business Economics from Oulu University. Against all the odds I built my own successful consultancy business here in the UK by dreaming, believing and working hard. It worked for me so I can work for anyone.

    After taking a break from work I started playing golf and with same determination, as I approached my business, I became a PGA qualified golf coach at the age of 55 having only started playing golf at the age of 50. It’s all in your head.

    Now at the age of 61 I have started yet again a new business and look forward to dreaming, believing and working hard to succeed.

  2. Leena Zittling
    28.03.2015 18.53

    Thank you for this very inspiring text!

    I wanna share with you one of my famous quote by Dr Wayne Dyer:
    ” I choose to be strong by being soft and pliable rather than inflexible, brittle, and hard.”

    We are supporting your work here at Klaukkala region and we hope you can continue your good work in the next government:)

  3. Kevin Smith
    28.03.2015 21.02

    Mr. Stubb/Mr. Prime Minister, you are such a breath of fresh air. I am 54 and have come to a point in my life in which I no longer feel that the government of my birth country represents or cares about the people who unthinkingly vote for them. I have become extremely cynical and don’t want to be. Because I have watched Finland for many years, I and my wife (who is much younger than I am) have decided to apply for study in your marvelous country and hope to ultimately make our tiny contributions to Finnish society as citizens. I want to be proud of the people with whom I live and respect the country in which I live. Despite a plurality of political voices Finns are an astonishingly progressive people and that’s what I consider myself to be, too. A former teacher, I am in awe of what your country has accomplished will continue to accomplish in education. Maybe we can be part of it: my Chinese wife is capable of teaching Mandarin and I am qualified, attests the FNBE, to teach Music at the upper secondary and university levels. I am also working with the proper people to determine my qualifications as a potential Cantor for the ELCF. So we are intending to arrive able to offer our skills where they might be useful (and we are learning Finnish!). I just hope that in the next twelve months the radical right in the disunited states isn’t able to do even more social and economic damage or we might have to ask for asylum! Seriously, though, I wish you success in the elections and I hope someday to meet you and express my appreciation in person.

  4. penny minkkinen
    29.03.2015 07.58

    This article struck a chord… it is good sound advice, absolutely agree with your philosophy of dream, believe, work hard, succeed… it worked for us in a variety of very different businesses and we have encouraged our daughters to think the same, independent, way. Excellent advice for any young person.

  5. Sini Hagman
    29.03.2015 10.31

    Hyvä kirjoitus! Hyvin kirjoitettu! Ajatusympyrä sulkeutui.. Jatka valitsemallasi tiellä.
    Voimia ja kaikkea hyvää toivotan.

  6. Jarkko Järvelin
    09.04.2015 08.08

    Katsoin juuri HSTV:n haastattelusi. Jatka samalla linjallasi! Pitkän päälle se johtaa hyvään tulokseen.

    T:jarkko j

  7. pekka rusanen
    12.04.2015 06.26

    Mitä tarkoittaa vaalisloukani >> työnkautta ? Minä ymärtäisin ensiksi luodaan ne työpaikat ja sitten mennään työhön sinne työpaikkaan ? Onko tämä kokoomuksen tarkoitus tän sloukanin ”työnkautta” tiimoilta ? Viimevaaleissaa löysin kokoomuksen ja tuon vaalisloukani on nyt laittanut mietimään uutta puoluetta , olen oikeastaan eksyksissäkin että mitä äänestäisin . Tuon vaalisloukanin voisi selventää , sillä tavalla kokoomus voisi saada minun ääneni ja paljon muidenkin ääniä .

  8. Sampsa Riikonen
    13.11.2015 16.58

    Aivan .. Fantastinen kirjoitus! 🙂