Last week, I came across Mark Zuckerberg’s trending video as Harvard’s guest speaker in this year’s graduation rites. Spent half an hour watching it in one go and was massively impressed. Steve Jobs’ 2005 Stanford speech is the benchmark that made a huge and lasting effect in my life (and I still live by its principle to this day). Yet, Mark’s practical, yet meaningful ‘millennial wisdom’ isn’t far behind.
I’ve read the transcript and lifted some excerpt, which are my 10 reasons why his address will be one for the books. Not to mention the reality that his thoughts will truly resonate to our generation.
1. It's relevant now.
‘Finding your purpose isn’t enough. The challenge for our generation is creating a world where everyone has a sense of purpose.’
I’m guilty of being socially aware, believing in fair principles and living positive values to personally grow and inspire others – but indifferent and apathetic at times. He’s right, millennials aren’t only individually smart and discerning that we end up focusing too much in finding and working on our own purpose, but forgetting that it’s worthless if it’s not fueling others’. Time to break silos and start collaboration – it’s our key to again reconnecting such a fragmented world.
2. It's idealistic, yet real.
‘In a survey asking millennials around the world what defines our identity, the most popular answer wasn’t nationality, religion or ethnicity, it was “citizen of the world”.’
Through Facebook, he made the world more open and connected. Unifying people while keeping their individuality to foster deeper understanding and respect through one platform is a tough gig and a huge feat. Before 2004 (when Facebook started), it was only an idealistic idea, yet fast forward to now, it’s part of our daily reality. Hence, as ‘citizens of the new world’, we are challenged to come together to build our future reality based on what we think is ideal.
3. It's not superficial.
‘Ideas don’t come out fully formed. They only become clear as you work on them. You just have to get started.’
This thought would keep us grounded and encourage us to not lose heart if we seem directionless or can’t get our ducks in a row. As we’re time-sensitive and would always want everything in a heartbeat, he reminds us the values of patience and perseverance. Not everything in life has a short cut and it’s actually better to take the long and scenic route sometimes. We simply need to start working while keep our eye on the goal.
4. It's inspiring, yet challenging.
‘A change in the world that seems so clear you’re sure someone else will do it. But they won’t. You will.’
We tend to pull back, doubt ourselves and result to ‘impossibility’ if we have an idea that seems bigger than ourselves. Not only rooted from lack of confidence and courage, but perhaps due to procrastination and not knowing how to start. Though preoccupied with practical day to day tasks, making time for big, strategic life projects is necessary – who knows, this might just be your next big break.
5. It's defying backward beliefs.
‘Right now our society is way over-indexed on rewarding success and we don’t do nearly enough to make it easy for everyone to take lots of shots.’
I remember one of my teachers giving credit for effort and not just for the right answer. We grew up on a social norm where success has one definition (and sadly, always linked to material wealth or power) and efforts are left unrecognized. I agree, it’s time to shatter this uninspiring standard and incentivize all to fearlessly take a chance. Doing so might naturally clean how ‘success’ is achieved, as I also morally believe that ‘the end doesn’t justify the means’.
6. It's practical and progressive.
‘When more people can turn their dreams into something great, we’re all better for it.’
Very logical and feeds in to the simple truth about ‘cause and effect’ and that everyone’s interconnected. This kind of forward thinking should inspire all to help each other work towards self-actualization than fulfilling selfish motivations driven by ego and materialism. Easier said than done you’d say, read #3 again and remind yourself that not everything’s supposed to be easy.
7. It's honest and sincere.
‘It’s good to be idealistic. But be prepared to be misunderstood. Anyone working on a big vision will get called crazy, even if you end up right. Anyone working on a complex problem will get blamed for not fully understanding the challenge, even though it’s impossible to know everything upfront. Anyone taking initiative will get criticized for moving too fast, because there’s always someone who wants to slow you down.’
Definitely a favorite part (probably because I see myself on it) as it gives you that push, yet prepares you to face the hard challenges that you can’t escape. Unfortunately, for whatever reason (ignorance, pride, lack of understanding, ego and envy to name a few), haters will always hate. And we shouldn’t let them affect our productivity and direction. It’s fulfilling and liberating to take the high road and be the bigger person as simple kindness always wins and pays off.
8. It's universal.
‘Purpose is that sense that we are part of something bigger than ourselves, that we are needed, that we have something better ahead to work for. Purpose is what creates true happiness.’
He oversimplified the answer to our daily pursuit on how to have that smile and peace of mind before we sleep at night. And this insight cuts across all cultures, demographics and social classes. True, there will be unique and varying manifestations of what happiness truly is, yet I agree that at this day and age, they’re all rooted on that universal sense of purpose.
9. It's what we need to hear.
‘This is the struggle of our time. The forces of freedom, openness and global community against the forces of authoritarianism, isolationism and nationalism. This is not a battle of nations, it’s a battle of ideas.’
It sounds very politically driven, yet it’s the reality that we need to understand as we see and accept everything that’s happening in the world today. There’s commonality to various traces that aim to divide, conquer, monopolize power and overshadow harmony and togetherness. As naturally good and peace loving beings, we need to awaken that consciousness and remember the difference that we can all make to defeat the divisiveness idealism.
10. It's what we should do.
‘I hope you find the courage to make your life a blessing.’
It’s my new ‘Stay hungry. Stay foolish’ and I think you should follow suit. Don’t get me wrong, it doesn’t mean that we should surrender our passion and pursuit for greatness over finding and living life’s real purpose. Yet, I see it as a recalibration to what will fuel us to do better as one global community. As we bring our individual goals to life, it’s high time to use them to make others achieve theirs too. And it’ll take courage to do so, but will be worth it in the long run as we’ll see each other as each other’s blessings. If so, what else will we ask for?
Thoughts? Leave a comment.
WHY MARK ZUCKERBERG'S HARVARD SPEECH
IS ONE FOR THE BOOKS
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