Harvard dropout Mark Zuckerberg — also the leader of this world's biggest social network — told newly minted Harvard grads on Thursday, May 25, to go out into life and make a difference, with purpose.
Zuckerberg notably dropped out of Harvard University over a decade ago to pursue a dream. That dream has become Facebook, one of the biggest tech firms in the world. Though he didn't graduate from Harvard, the university has now bestowed him an honorary degree.
Mark Zuckerberg's Path To Purpose
"Today I want to talk about purpose," he said.
Zuckerberg noted that finding simply one's purpose is an insufficient endeavor.
"The challenge for our generation is to create a world where everyone has a sense of purpose."
Zuckerberg said that finding purpose is a critical goal, especially in an era of constant and rapid development. He's right. For one, the rise of automation spells decreased opportunity for jobs — important positions once held by people before us, those who have paved the way for all our current technology to arrive.
Zuckerberg outlined a plan through which everyone may find their purpose. Rather than focusing on the opportunities that lay ahead the Harvard grads, Zuckerberg urged them to create ones for those who are less fortunate.
Additionally, instead of shying away from the challenges and issues the underprivileged face amid emerging technology, Zuckerberg said that they must be addressed directly.
"A lot of people are feeling disconnected and depressed, and are trying to fill a void in their lives," he said.
Big Projects Where Many People Can Participate
According to Zuckerberg, the first way for everyone to have a sense of purpose is to get involved in big projects where many people can participate in. Hundreds of thousands of people all worked together to send the first man on the moon, and millions contributed to immunizing children against polio. This strength in numbers concept should be applied in present-day challenges, said Zuckerberg.
Equal Opportunities For All
The second way for everyone to find their purpose is to make sure all people gain equal opportunities to succeed through various means, including financial donations, or even lending one's time. Zuckerberg thinks "when more people can turn their dreams into something great, we're all better for it."
The third way for everyone to find their purpose is one Zuckerberg knows a lot about. In fact, he created a tool for it. That's building community.
"Progress now requires coming together not just as cities or nations, but also as a global community."
But perhaps the most crucial part of his speech was Zuckerberg's maturing perspective on building a better community, especially with regard to how that type of progress can be made. His own manifesto for Facebook, which made the headlines earlier this year, already offer one answer — deeper connection through Facebook.
That said, Zuckerberg never mentioned specific parts of the app he built during his speech. Perhaps Zuckerberg knows that a tool can only be as great as the people who use it. Facebook definitely has room for improvement, to be clear, particular on content moderation. But at the end of the day, it's up to us whether we're willing to foster a sense of inclusion, opportunity, community, and most importantly — purpose.
You can watch Zuckerberg's full speech below. If you have any thoughts about his vision of a world where everyone has a purpose, feel free to sound off in the comments section below!