A few days ago, Mark Zuckerberg delivered a commencement speech to the Harvard graduates, class 2017. It was an inspirational, sincere and rich speech.
Many hints of this speech are interesting and relevant, two more than others.
First of all, the sense of purpose. Having a purpose in life is crucial, it directs us and leads us when we might be in trouble. However, hardly ever is a purpose individualist. We usually aim at a scope that has advantages for us, and for those around. That contributes to creating a more just society, in accordance to our vision of justice.
The purpose is also a sense of community. Zuckerberg explains this broad vision telling the story of the visit President JFK paid to the NASA space center. He saw a janitor carrying a broom and he walked over and asked what he was doing. The janitor responded: “Mr. President, I’m helping put a man on the moon”.
Every one of us has the duty to pursue their purpose, contributing to a bigger result. Change is made of small steps, we do not necessarily need to walk alone. Each of us is called to make his part in it.
The generation of young people today is often frustrated, and is called to do everything as quick as possible. However, good results barely arrive this fast, but never without commitment, sacrifice and hard work.
Zuckerberg keeps telling about his meetings with children in juvenile detention and opioid addicts, who told him their lives could have turned out differently if they just had something to do, an after school program or somewhere to go. A purpose, then.
What is the purpose we want to adopt for our life? What are we up to for achieving it?
Another important fact about Zuckerberg’s speech regards failure. What we will most probably do, sooner or later in life, will be to accept failure, or at least being misunderstood, or considered as crazy or visionary. It is still worth it.
We need to work jointly on creating a net, an ecosystem, able do set cushions to fall back onto for people who experience failure, especially as entrepreneurs.
This connected generation, our university kids, is not backed by the solid ground their parents, or grandparents, had before. They are ready to risk, to accept the challenge, much more than my generation would have been up to at their age.
We need to hone them with the right tools, to create with them the opportunity for growth that will let them flourish. And encouraging them to make their life, as Zuckerberg wished in closing his speech, a blessing.