We caught up with fellow nomad Max Bergander, and discussed the importance of staying true to who you are, and how you can help others do the same.
We celebrate uniqueness and those paving their own paths here at the Nation of Nmds, and so do you. Why does this approach resonate with you?
I’m truly passionate about people in general, and well-being in particular. I believe that everybody has a right to be whoever they want to be, and that society actually benefits from a broader range of personalities, ideas, and unique characteristics. I believe in a society where people feel respected, seen, and included for who they are.
In my own life, I eventually came to a point where I got tired of how you are “supposed” to act. As a competitive football player, I was fed up with the stereotypes that came with it, and the macho culture surrounding the sport. I knew I wasn’t alone in my reasoning, this was killing people’s love for the game, and affecting their psyche every time they had to put on a (figurative) mask to fit in.
From there you took action. What was that like?
I wanted to be a part of the solution, and help others see things from a different perspective. That was when I quit the sport and started traveling the country to give lectures on the importance of letting people be who they are. From youth clubs to international companies, I wanted to give people the tools to create environments that allowed people to be themselves and feel secure. Changing the culture is work too, and when done right it allows everyone to operate better and happier.
How did people respond?
The reactions were honestly amazing. I was a bit nervous about how people would respond, which is to be expected, but it was almost entirely positive reactions. In hindsight that isn’t strange, because nobody truly wants to have to pretend to be someone they’re not.
Making such a drastic change, even if it’s simply deciding to be true to yourself, is scary to many. Do you have any advice for people who are thinking about, or longing for, significant change?
For me, it came from within, and eventually got to the point where I couldn’t ignore it. Looking at myself in the mirror and seeing that I was a part of a culture, and a way of behaving, that I didn’t believe in or could get behind. My desire to become a part of the solution to a problem that I for a time helped create, became so powerful that I couldn’t ignore it. That’s when I knew I was ready to make a change for the better.
Trusting yourself and your values can be difficult, especially if it goes against what you’ve learned or seen. But know that you can really and genuinely make a difference if you try. Ask yourself what you think is important, what you like and care, and what you would prefer to change in your life, and then make a plan to tackle whatever you discover. That’s a pretty good start.
Lastly, where do you find inspiration and support to live the life you’re living?
I am proud to say that my mother and my father are my inspiration in so many ways. They have showed me that you really can make a difference if you believe and put the effort in. They faced plenty of adversity in their lives, and learning perseverance through them was incredible.