The Student News Site of Sonoma State University

Sonoma State Star

The Student News Site of Sonoma State University

Sonoma State Star

The Student News Site of Sonoma State University

Sonoma State Star

Breaking society’s norms

Recently, I put a new quote on my wall that I wake up to every morning saying “In order to be irreplaceable, one must always be different.” This quote means more to me than is said on the surface.  I believe it’s my constant reminder that I do not need to conform to the social norms—live how everyone else is choosing—and that I have the power to make my own choices on how I want to live my life.

Jay Meistrich, former employee of Microsoft and CEO of the app, inspired me to think and live outside the lines of society just as he did. 

A year ago he sold all of his belongings, left San Francisco and traveled to 20 countries. He ended up saving money compared to living in his apartment in San Francisco and achieved more than he had in the past.  

The majority of people are not traveling because they can’t afford it or lack the courage to act.  When in reality, this is just a concept we have built into our brains that we cannot afford it, and Meistrich proves through his experience that it is possible.  

“I can’t afford not to travel. I’m bootstrapping a company and living in San Francisco was draining my savings,” said Meistrich in an article published in Entrepreneur magazine, explaining how he can afford to travel so much. 

At this moment he is living in Bali where his cost of living is $1,200 a month, when in San Francisco his cost of living was close to $5,000 a month.  His new nomadic lifestyle of living from Stockholm to Budapest not only was saving him money, he said, but also was increasing his perspective and productivity. 

He proves through his success that the nine-to-five social norm for the working class limits productivity. He created the app called that he continues to work on while he lives and experiences these new countries.

What Meistrich has done with being able to maintain his business and income is a new possibility for my generation that was not possible 10 or 20 years ago.  With our advances in technology makes these opportunities now available for people to realistically achieve.

Even from my own experience when I worked at an internship this summer in an office, going there day after day, I wondered how others or I would be truly happy with this lifestyle.  Being stuck in an office during all daylight hours would not only leave me bored but burned out. 

I truly believe that this nomadic lifestyle that Meistrich adopted shows courage to take a path that is rare but it paid off for him to have a life where he learned from worldly experience.  

By going to the same office on a daily basis staring into the same screen with the same surroundings does not offer any new inspiration.  

How can anyone expect anything new to happen if they repeat the same routine? Working while you are traveling to new places offers adventure where you can use knowledge from the world to keep you inspired.  

Meistrich worked while he was traveling and found that it made him exponentially more productive and not nearly as burned out.  He was more focused while working which gave him more time to expand his worldly knowledge and be able to see the world. 

He has been able to travel the world not as a vacation, but a lifestyle. Through this nomadic lifestyle he is able to continue to go farther than he was ever able to by staying in one place.  

Traveling expanded his mind and creativity by experiencing new places, cultures and people.  Instead of always knowing where his week would take place in San Francisco, he is able to go explore one-day at a time to use all the different places as inspiration.  

For the people that do have courage to go outside of social norms, I admire them.  It’s certainly not easy to go one way when you are constantly told that it will not work or that you should be living a different way. 

 But, what I got most out of his experience is that each person holds the power to make whatever choices they want in their life.  

The boundaries society creates are not there if we are looking with the right perspective.  You have to be brave enough to truly go with your heart. 

If we were meant to stay in one place our whole lives we would have roots instead of feet.

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