[演讲]扎克伯格在母校哈佛大学做演讲:毕业生要团结全人类

演讲者 | 扎克伯格      演讲时间 | 20170525(美国波士顿时间)      演讲地点 | 哈佛大学    


扎克伯格2017年哈佛大学毕业典礼演讲全文(由人人视频翻译本网略有编辑修改,后附英文全文):

我爱这个地方,感谢大家冒雨参加典礼,瓢泼大雨。我们要让大家不虚此行。Faust校长、校监委员会成员们,老师、校友、朋友、自豪的家长们、管理委员会的委员们以及全世界最伟大学校的毕业生们!

今天和你们待在一起我备感荣幸。因为说实话,你们完成了一个我永远无法办到的成就。等我做完这个演讲,这将是我第一次在哈佛大学完成的某件事。

2017的毕业班同学,祝贺你们!我本不可能是站在这里发表演讲的人,不仅仅因为我是一名辍学生,还因为其实我们是同一代人。我作为学生走在这个校园里,也就是不过十年前的事情。我们,学习过同样的知识。同样在EC10课堂上补觉。

尽管我们通过不同的方式来到这里,尤其那些来自Quad园区的同学本网注:The Quad以前是Radcliffe College的女生宿舍。Radcliffe从1879至1977年是哈佛的女性学院,1977年汇入哈佛,但今天我想和你们分享的是,我对我们这代人的一些想法,和我们正在合力建设的这个世界。

首先过去几天令我想起很多美好的回忆,你们当中多少人还确切记得,当初收到哈佛的录取通知邮件时在做什么?当时我正在玩《文明》游戏,然后我跑下楼找到我的父亲。不过他的反应很奇怪居然开始拍摄我打开邮件的过程

那个视频有可能拍到非常让人心碎的场面,但我发誓被哈佛录取,是最令我父母为我感到骄傲的事情。我妈妈点头了,你们知道我说的是什么。要是没录取,那可怎么办啊?

你们还记得在哈佛上的第一节课吗?我上的是计算机121,Harry Lewis老师超级棒。当时我要迟到了,于是抓了件T恤就套在身上。结果直到下午才发现我把它前后里外都穿反了。商标都露在前胸,然后我还纳闷怎么没人理我除了一个人, K.X. Jin他没有在意这些,他不在意。之后我们开始组队解决难题,现在他负责Facebook很大一块业务,这说明什么2017的毕业生们,这说明为什么你们应该对别人友善一些。

但是我在哈佛最美好的回忆,是我遇见了Priscilla(扎克伯格妻子)。当时我刚上线一个恶作剧网站Facemash然后管理委员会表示“要见我”。所有人都认为我要被赶走了。我爸妈来帮我打包行李,我朋友帮我搞了个告别派对,是谁竟然对我这么好。幸运的事情就在这里。Priscilla和她朋友一,来到了这个Party。我们在Pfoho Belltower的卫生间外排队时遇见了。接下来发生了一件永生难忘的浪漫事件。

我说:“我3天后就要被赶出学校了,所以我们得赶紧开始约会。”事实上,你们所有人都可以用这个套路。“我今天要被赶出学校了,我们得抓紧时间约会。”我没有被开除,我自愿退学了,Priscilla开始和我约会。你们知道,那部电影(电影《社交网络》) 演得好像Facemash对创造Facebook很重要似的,并非如此。但是没有Facemash的话,我遇不到Priscilla。

她是我生命中最重要的人。所以从这个角度说 Facemash是我人生中做出的最重要的一样东西。

在这里,我们开始结交一生的挚友,甚至有的以后会成为家人。这是为什么我对这里如此感激的原因,谢谢你,哈佛!

今天我想谈谈使命,但是我不是来给你们做一些程序化的宣言告诉你们如何发现使命的。我们是千禧一代,我们会出于直觉和本能发现使命。相反地,我站在这里要说的,是仅仅发现使命还不够。我们这代人面临的挑战,是创造一个人人都能有使命感的世界。

我最喜欢的一个故事,是约翰·F·肯尼迪访问美国宇航局太空中心时,看到了一个拿着扫帚的看门人,于是他走过去问这人在干什么。看门人回答说:“总统先生我也在为把一个人送上月球出力。使命让我们意识到,我们是更宏大事业的一部分。不能少了你们。你有个更好的为之奋斗的理由。使命能创造真正的快乐,今天你在这个特别重要的时刻毕业了。当你父母毕业的时候,使命很大程度上来自工作、教会、社群。但是今天,技术和自动化正在代替很多工作。社区成员人数也在下降,许多人感到沮丧感到自己被隔离开来了。同时也在努力填补空白,当我走过很多地方的时候。我曾和许多被拘留的阿片类药物成瘾的孩子们坐在一起,他们告诉我如果他们有事可做参加课后活动或者有地方可去,他们的人生会变得很不一样。我也遇到过很多工厂的工人,他们没法再从事之前从事的工作了。所以试图找到新的能做的事,为了保持社会的进步,我们身负挑战。不仅仅是创造新的工作,还要创造新的使命

我还记得在Kirkland House的小宿舍中,发布Facebook的那晚。我和我的朋友K.X.去了Noch,我记得我告诉他,我很开心能把哈佛的社群连接起来。但是有一天,有人会把整个世界都连接起来。我完全没有想到这个人会是我们。当时我们还只是大学生,对此还并不了解,所有这些大型技术公司都有资源。我只认为大公司才能做到,但是我对这个想法很确信。所有人都想和彼此连接,所以我们日复一日朝这个方向努力。

我知道你们中的很多人也会有类似的故事,你觉得很多人都在改变世界,然而他们并没有,而你会。但是,光有目标是不够的。你必须拥有心系他人的使命。我是从自己艰辛的创业中学到的,我从来没想过创造一个公司,我想要的是创造影响力。越来越多的人加入我们,我假设他们跟我关心的是同样的东西,所以我从来没解释过我到底希望建立什么。几年来,一些大公司想要收购我们。我拒绝了。我想知道是否能连接更多的人。我们正在建立第一个新闻流(News Feed),当时我想,如果它发布了,它可能会改变我们学习世界的方式。

几乎所有人都想让我把公司卖了,没有更高远的使命感,这个创业公司不可能梦想成真。

经过激烈的争论后,一位顾问跟我说,如果我不同意出售,我会后悔一辈子。一年左右的时间里我们关系很紧张,当时的管理层几乎都走了。这是我在Facebook时最艰难的时刻,我相信我们在做的东西,但是我也感到孤独。更糟糕的是,当时我觉得这是我的错。我在想是不是我错了,一个骗子,一个22岁的小孩,都不知道世界是怎么一回事。

而多年以后的今天,我开始明白,没有更高的使命事情就会变成这样。取决于我们,是否要确立更高的使命才能让我们一起前进。今天我想谈谈三种方法,来创造一个每个人都有使命感的世界。通过一起做有意义的项目;通过重新定义平等,使每个人都有追求使命的自由;通过在全世界建立社团。

首先,让我们来说说做有意义的项目。我们这一代将不得不面对数千万的工作被机器取代的情况,比如自动驾驶,但是我们能做的还有更多。每一代都有属于自己一代的伟业。

超过30万人的协同努力,让人类登上了月球——包括那个看门的人。数百万志愿者为世界各地的小儿麻痹症患者打疫苗。数以百万计的人为建立胡佛水坝和其他伟大的项目贡献了自己的力量。做这些项,目的并不仅仅是为人们提供工作。它们让整个国家感到自豪,我们是可以做伟大事情的。

现在轮到我们来做伟大的事了。我知道,你可能会想:我不知道如何建造大坝,或者如何让一百万人参与到某件事情中。但我想告诉你一个秘密:没有人从一开始就知道如何做。想法最开始的时候并不完全成型只有当你不断推进时,它才变得逐渐清晰。你需要开始努力。如果我要先了解清楚“如何连接人”再开始的话,那么我就不会建立Facebook。

或许电影和流行文化会误导大家,会有一些“啊!我明白了!”的时刻,但这其实是一个危险的谎言。这让我们觉得自己能力不足,还没有过自己的顿悟时刻。它会阻止人们把好想法投入实践。

你知道电影当中还有什么是对创新的误解吗?没有人会在玻璃上写数学公式不是什么“标志动作”。理想主义是好事,但你要做好被误解的准备。但凡为了更大愿景工作的人,都会被称为疯子,即使你最后是对的。任何面对复杂问题工作的人,都会被指责不了解一切,即使你不可能事先了解一切。任何开始一项事情的人,都会被批评动作太快。总是有人想让你减速下来。

在我们的社会里,我们并不经常做一些伟大的事,因为我们害怕犯错。如果我们什么都不做,我们就忽视了今天现有的错误。事实上,我们所做的任何事情将来都会有问题。但这不能阻止我们开始。那我们还在等什么呢?现在轮到我们这一代人定义“公共事务”的时候了。在地球摧毁之前,阻止气候变化,怎么样?让数百万人愿意参与制造和安装太阳能电池板。治愈所有疾病,好不好?通过志愿者跟踪他们的健康数据和分享他们的基因组。今天,我们可能要花在治疗病人的钱,是花在研究治疗方法让人类避免染上疾病的五十倍。这讲不通,我们可以解决这个问题。民主现代化如何让每个人都能在网上投票,好不好?还有,通过个性化教育让每个人都能学习,怎么样?这些成就在我们能力范围内是可以实现的。

让我们让每个人在我们社会中发挥其应有的作用来做这些事情,让我们做一些伟大的事情,不仅要创造进步,要创造使命

所以我们可以做的第一件事就是,创造一个每人都拥有使命感的世界。

第二件事是,重新定义平等,给每个人追求梦想的自由。

我们这一代人的父母,很多人在他们的职业生涯中都有稳定的工作。但是现在,我们这一代人都是企业家,无论我们是刚开始一些项目还是在寻找、或是已经扮演着这个角色。这都很棒,我们的企业家精神文化恰好是我们能取得如此多进步的原因

现在,当尝试很多新想法的时候,创业文化才会蓬勃发展。Facebook并不是我做的第一件事,我还做过游戏、聊天系统、学习工具和音乐播放器。我并不孤独, 因为J.K.罗琳在出版《哈利波特》之前被拒了12次,甚至碧昂丝也不得不写了数百首歌曲,才有了今天Halo这首歌。最大的成功源于有失败的自由。

但是今天,财富不均的程度伤害到了每个人。当你没有自由把你的想法付诸于成就一个历史性的企业的时候,我们就输了。现在,我们的社会在通往成功的路上有过多的引导,但这还足以让每个人都能在成功的路上更容易一些。

面对现实吧,我们的社会体系是有问题的,当我能够离开哈佛并在10年内赚取数十亿美元的时候,还有数百万学生无法偿还贷款,更不用说创业。

看,我认识很多企业家,但他们中没有一个人是因为创业可能会失败而放弃。但是我知道很多人不敢追求梦想,因为一旦他们失败,连缓冲都没有。

我们都知道,只有一个好想法或者努力工作去获得成功是远远不够的。幸运也是重要的因素。如果我必须努力挣钱养家而我不能花时间写代码,如果我不知道我会好好的“万一Facebook不能成功”,我今天都不会站在这里。扪心自想,我们都知道,我们是多么的幸运。

每一代人的成长都扩大了平等的定义。前几代人争取投票权和民权,于是他们争取到了有新政和大社会。现在到了我们为这一代人建立新的社会契约的时候了。

我们应该有一个不单根据GDP这样的经济指标来衡量进步的社会,而是一个根据多少人能找到有意义的角色的社会。我们应该探索普遍基本收入这样的观念,让每一个人都有“缓冲”来尝试新事物。我们会换很多次工作,这就要求我们得建立每个人都能负担得起的托儿所和不和就职公司挂钩的医疗保健,这样让人可以无负担地去上班。我们可能会犯错,所以我们需要一个束缚和污蔑更少的社会。随着技术的不断变化,我们要更多地关注于终身的继续教育。

是的,赋予每个人追求目标的自由,这并不是免费的。像我这样的人应当为此付费。你们中很多人会做得很好,你们应该这么做。

这也是为什么当初 Priscilla 和我启动了Chan Zuckerberg Initiative陈-扎克伯格倡议,并承诺要我们的财富去促进机会平等。这些是我们这代人的价值。“要不要这样做”从来都不是问题,唯一的问题是“什么时候去做”。

千禧一代已经是历史上最慈善的一代人之一了。千禧一代的美国人在一年中,平均4个人里就有3个人会捐款,平均10个人里就有7个人会为慈善募捐。

但这也不仅限于金钱。你也可以奉献你的时间。我在这里向你保证,如果你可以每一两周要花一个小时(去奉献和帮助),就会有一个人因此获得帮助,甚至实现他们以前不可能实现的目标。

或许你觉得这太花时间了。我曾经也这么认为。当Priscilla毕业于哈佛后,她成了一名老师,在她和我一起投身教育行业之前,她告诉我,我需要去教授一门课。我抱怨道:“好吧,可是我很忙啊,我得经营Facebook啊。”但是她坚持让我去教课,所以我就在当地的男童女童俱乐部教授了一门关于创业精神的中学课程。我教他们在产品开发和市场营销中应当吸取的教训,从他们身上,我学到了当自己的种族受到社会关注、或有家庭成员身陷囹圄时的感受。 我向他们分享了我读书时的故事,他们分享了对走进大学深造的渴望。五年来,我每个月都会和这些孩子一起共进一次晚餐。其中有一个孩子,为我与Priscilla的第一个宝宝在出生前,举办了宝宝洗礼派对。明年,这些孩子们都要上大学了。是的,他们每一个都要上大学了,而且他们都将骄傲地成为自己家族里第一名大学生。

花一点时间,去帮助其他人,这是我们每个人都可以做到的。让我们通过此举,让每个人都有实现人生目标的自由——不仅因为这样做是正确的,更是因为当人们可以把梦想变为伟大的现实时,我们每个人都会变得更好。

使命”不仅来自于工作。去实现“让每个人都有活使命感”的第三种方式是建立社区。

而当我们这一代人说“每个人”的时候,我们指的是——世界上的每一个人。

来做一个调查:你们有多少来自美国之外其他国家?举起手来!你们中有多少人是他们的朋友?看到了吗?我们出生于一个互联的世界。在最近一项调查中,世界各地的80后90后被要求选择自己认同的身份,最流行的答案不是国籍,宗教或种族,而是“世界公民”。这是一个标志性的事件。每一代人都扩大了我们认同的“自己人”。对我们来说,它现在涵盖了整个世界。

回顾往昔,历史的车轮总是青睐于更大基数的集体——从部落到城市到国家——来实现我们不能单独做的事情。我们认为现在最大的机会是全球性的我们可以成为终结贫穷和结束疾病的一代人。但同时我们也意识到我们面临的巨大挑战也需要全球性的协作。没有一个国家可以单独应对气候变化或预防全球大瘟疫

要想取得进步不能靠单个城市或国家,更是要团结全球社会。

但我们生活在一个不稳定的时期。有人被全球化所抛弃。如果我们对我们自己的生活感到困扰,那么很难在别的地方照顾别人,因为有内在的压力。

这是我们时代的斗争。有支持自由开放和国际交流反对威权主义孤立主义和民族主义势力的力量有支持知识流动,贸易和移民的力量,同时也有反对的势力。

这不是一场国家之间的斗争,而是一场思想的斗争。每个国家的人们都有支持和反对全球化的人。这不会在联合国决定。这将在每个地区发生。当我们足够的感觉到我们自己的使命和稳定感,我们可以开始关心其他人。最好的办法是开始建立当地的社群。我们都从我们的社群中获得意义。我们中有谁来自Eillot house?洛厄尔呢?我知道你们已经形成了社区,因为你们基本就跟亲兄弟似的。马瑟呢?就先说这些吧。

无论我们的社群是邻里社区还是运动小组,教堂或音乐团体。他们给我们归属感,我们属于的群体的一部分。我们不是一个人。社群给了我们扩大视野的力量。

这就是为什么这几十年来各类团体的会员人数下降了四分之一的事实多么需要引起注意这就意味着现在很多人都需要在别的地方寻找生活的使命。但是,我知道我们可以重建我们的社群,因为你们中许多人已经开始行动了。

我遇到了今天毕业的Agnes Igoye。你在哪里,Agnes?她在乌干达的冲突地区度过童年时期,现在她在训练数以千计的执法人员来保持社区的安全。

我遇到Kayla和Niha,也是今天毕业,他们发起了一个非营利组织,将患有疾病的人与社区内愿意帮助他们的人联系起来。

我遇到了David Razu Aznar,今天从肯尼迪政治学院毕业。David站起来让大家看看。 他是前墨西哥市的议员,他成功领导了一场运动,使墨西哥城成为第一个通过婚姻平等法案的拉丁美洲城市,甚至比旧金山还早。

这也是我自己的故事。一个宅在宿舍的学生,一次连接了一个社群,然后始终维护它,直到有一天我们连接了整个世界。

改变源于身边。甚至全球性的改变也是源自微小的事物——和我们一样的人。在我们这一代,我们的努力能否连接更多人和事,能否把握我们最大的机遇,都归结于这一点——你是否有能力搭建社群并且创造一个所有人都能有使命感的世界。

2017届的校友们,你们毕业于一个无比需求使命感的世界。而怎么创造它由你自己决定。

那么现在,你可能在想:我真的能做到吗?还记得我前面提到的我在Boys and Girls Club教授的课程吗?有一天下课后,我正和他们谈论大学,其中一个顶尖的学生举手说道他并不确定他是否可以上大学因为他是没有身份的。他完全不知道,大学会不会批准他入学!去年,在他过生日的时候,我带他去吃早餐。我想送给他一个礼物,所以我问他想要什么,然后他开始谈论他看到的正在挣扎于进入大学的学生,“你知道的,我其实就想要一本关于社会正义的书。”我被震撼了。这本该是个完全可以愤世嫉俗的年轻人。他不知道他所称之为家乡的他唯一知道的国家是否会拒绝他上大学的梦想。但他自己并不觉得遗憾。他甚至都没有想到自己。他有更宏大的使命感,他想要带着大家一起前进。由于现在所处的情况,我并不能说出他的名字,因为我不想把他置身于危险之中。但是,如果一个不知道自己未来会怎样的高中生都能为推动世界做出自己的贡献,那么我们也理应对这个世界做出我们的贡献!

在你们最后一次走出这些校门之前,当我们坐在这纪念教堂前的时候,我想起了一段祈祷,Mi Shebeirach,每当我面对挑战时我都会说的,每当我把女儿放进婴儿床里想象着她的未来都会唱到的。

是这样的一段话:“愿为我们千人祈福的力量之源,帮我们找到属于自己的勇气,使我们的生命成为祝福”(”May the source of strength, who blessed the ones before us, help us *find the courage* to make our lives a blessing.”)我希望你们也可以找到属于自己的勇气,让你们的生命成为祝福。

恭喜你们,2017届的同学们!祝你们好运!

 

Harvard Commencement 2017

President Faust, Board of Overseers, faculty, alumni, friends, proud parents, members of the ad board, and graduates of the greatest university in the world,

I’m honored to be with you today because, let’s face it, you accomplished something I never could. If I get through this speech, it’ll be the first time I actually finish something at Harvard. Class of 2017, congratulations!

I’m an unlikely speaker, not just because I dropped out, but because we’re technically in the same generation. We walked this yard less than a decade apart, studied the same ideas and slept through the same Ec10 lectures. We may have taken different paths to get here, especially if you came all the way from the Quad, but today I want to share what I’ve learned about our generation and the world we’re building together.

But first, the last couple of days have brought back a lot of good memories.

How many of you remember exactly what you were doing when you got that email telling you that you got into Harvard? I was playing “Civilization” and I ran downstairs, got my dad, and for some reason, his reaction was to video me opening the email. That could have been a really sad video. I swear getting into Harvard is still the thing my parents are most proud of me for.

What about your first lecture at Harvard? Mine was Computer Science 121 with the incredible Harry Lewis. I was late so I threw on a T-shirt and didn’t realize until afterwards it was inside out and backwards with my tag sticking out the front. I couldn’t figure out why no one would talk to me — except one guy, KX Jin, he just went with it. We ended up doing our problem sets together, and now he runs a big part of Facebook. And that, Class of 2017, is why you should be nice to people.

But my best memory from Harvard was meeting Priscilla. I had just launched this prank website, Facemash, and the ad board wanted to “see me.” Everyone thought I was going to get kicked out. My parents came to help me pack. My friends threw me a going away party. As luck would have it, Priscilla was at that party with her friend. We met in line for the bathroom in the Pfoho Belltower, and in what must be one of the all-time romantic lines, I said, “I’m going to get kicked out in three days, so we need to go on a date quickly.”

Actually, any of you graduating can use that line.

I didn’t end up getting kicked out — I did that to myself. Priscilla and I started dating. And, you know, that movie made it seem like Facemash was so important to creating Facebook. It wasn’t. But without Facemash I wouldn’t have met Priscilla, and she’s the most important person in my life, so you could say it was the most important thing I built in my time here.

We’ve all started lifelong friendships here, and some of us even families. That’s why I’m so grateful to this place. Thanks, Harvard.

Today I want to talk about purpose. But I’m not here to give you the standard commencement about finding your purpose. We’re millennials. We’ll try to do that instinctively. Instead, I’m here to tell you finding your purpose isn’t enough. The challenge for our generation is creating a world where everyone has a sense of purpose.

One of my favorite stories is when John F. Kennedy visited 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.”

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.

You’re graduating at a time when this is especially important. When our parents graduated, purpose reliably came from your job, your church, your community. But today, technology and automation are eliminating many jobs. Membership in communities is declining. Many people feel disconnected and depressed and are trying to fill a void.

As I’ve traveled around, I’ve sat with children in juvenile detention and opioid addicts, who told me their lives could have turned out differently if they just had something to do, an after-school program or somewhere to go. I’ve met factory workers who know their old jobs aren’t coming back and are trying to find their place.

To keep our society moving forward, we have a generational challenge — to not only create new jobs, but create a renewed sense of purpose.

I remember the night I launched Facebook from my little dorm in Kirkland House. I went to Noch’s with my friend KX. I remember telling him I was excited to connect the Harvard community, but one day someone would connect the whole world.

The thing is, it never even occurred to me that someone might be us. We were just college kids. We didn’t know anything about that. There were all these big technology companies with resources. I just assumed one of them would do it. But this idea was so clear to us — that all people want to connect. So we just kept moving forward, day by day.

I know a lot of you will have your own stories just like this. A change in the world that seems so clear you’re sure someone else will do it. But they won’t. You will.

But it’s not enough to have purpose yourself. You have to create a sense of purpose for others.

I found that out the hard way. You see, my hope was never to build a company, but to make an impact. And as all these people started joining us, I just assumed that’s what they cared about too, so I never explained what I hoped we’d build.

A couple years in, some big companies wanted to buy us. I didn’t want to sell. I wanted to see if we could connect more people. We were building the first News Feed, and I thought if we could just launch this, it could change how we learn about the world.

Nearly everyone else wanted to sell. Without a sense of higher purpose, this was the startup dream come true. It tore our company apart. After one tense argument, an adviser told me if I didn’t agree to sell, I would regret the decision for the rest of my life. Relationships were so frayed that within a year or so every single person on the management team was gone.

That was my hardest time leading Facebook. I believed in what we were doing, but I felt alone. And worse, it was my fault. I wondered if I was just wrong, an imposter, a 22-year-old kid who had no idea how the world worked.

Now, years later, I understand that is how things work with no sense of higher purpose. It’s up to us to create it so we can all keep moving forward together.

Today I want to talk about three ways to create a world where everyone has a sense of purpose: by taking on big meaningful projects together, by redefining equality so everyone has the freedom to pursue purpose, and by building community across the world.

First, let’s take on big meaningful projects.

Our generation will have to deal with tens of millions of jobs replaced by automation like self-driving cars and trucks. But we have the potential to do so much more together.

Every generation has its defining works. More than 300,000 people worked to put a man on the moon — including that janitor. Millions of volunteers immunized children around the world against polio. Millions of more people built the Hoover Dam and other great projects.

These projects didn’t just provide purpose for the people doing those jobs — they gave our whole country a sense of pride that we could do great things.

Now it’s our turn to do great things. I know, you’re probably thinking: I don’t know how to build a dam or get a million people involved in anything.

But let me tell you a secret: no one does when they begin. Ideas don’t come out fully formed. They only become clear as you work on them. You just have to get started.

If I had to understand everything about connecting people before I began, I never would have started Facebook.

Movies and pop culture get this all wrong. The idea of a single eureka moment is a dangerous lie. It makes us feel inadequate since we haven’t had ours. It prevents people with seeds of good ideas from getting started.

Oh, you know what else movies get wrong about innovation? No one writes math formulas on glass. That’s not a thing.

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.

In our society, we often don’t do big things because we’re so afraid of making mistakes that we ignore all the things wrong today if we do nothing. The reality is, anything we do will have issues in the future. But that can’t keep us from starting.

So what are we waiting for? It’s time for our generation-defining public works. How about stopping climate change before we destroy the planet and getting millions of people involved manufacturing and installing solar panels? How about curing all diseases and asking volunteers to track their health data and share their genomes? Today we spend 50 times more treating people who are sick than we spend finding cures so people don’t get sick in the first place. That makes no sense. We can fix this. How about modernizing democracy so everyone can vote online, and personalizing education so everyone can learn?

These achievements are within our reach. Let’s do them all in a way that gives everyone in our society a role. Let’s do big things, not only to create progress, but to create purpose.

So taking on big meaningful projects is the first thing we can do to create a world where everyone has a sense of purpose.

The second is redefining equality to give everyone the freedom they need to pursue purpose.

Many of our parents had stable jobs throughout their careers. Now we’re all entrepreneurial, whether we’re starting projects or finding or role. And that’s great. Our culture of entrepreneurship is how we create so much progress.

Now, an entrepreneurial culture thrives when it’s easy to try lots of new ideas. Facebook wasn’t the first thing I built. I also built games, chat systems, study tools, and music players. I’m not alone. J.K. Rowling got rejected 12 times before publishing “Harry Potter.” Even Beyonce had to make hundreds of songs to get “Halo.” The greatest successes come from having the freedom to fail.

But today, we have a level of wealth inequality that hurts everyone. When you don’t have the freedom to take your idea and turn it into a historic enterprise, we all lose. 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.

Let’s face it: There is something wrong with our system when I can leave here and make billions of dollars in 10 years while millions of students can’t afford to pay off their loans, let alone start a business.

Look, I know a lot of entrepreneurs, and I don’t know a single person who gave up on starting a business because they might not make enough money. But I know lots of people who haven’t pursued dreams because they didn’t have a cushion to fall back on if they failed.

We all know we don’t succeed just by having a good idea or working hard. We succeed by being lucky, too. If I had to support my family growing up instead of having time to code, if I didn’t know I’d be fine if Facebook didn’t work out, I wouldn’t be standing here today. If we’re honest, we all know how much luck we’ve had.

Every generation expands its definition of equality. Previous generations fought for the vote and civil rights. They had the New Deal and Great Society. Now it’s our time to define a new social contract for our generation.

We should have a society that measures progress not just by economic metrics like GDP, but by how many of us have a role we find meaningful. We should explore ideas like universal basic income to give everyone a cushion to try new things. We’re going to change jobs many times, so we need affordable childcare to get to work and healthcare that aren’t tied to one company. We’re all going to make mistakes, so we need a society that focuses less on locking us up or stigmatizing us. And as technology keeps changing, we need to focus more on continuous education throughout our lives.

And yes, giving everyone the freedom to pursue purpose isn’t free. People like me should pay for it. Many of you will do well, and you should, too.

That’s why Priscilla and I started the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative and committed our wealth to promoting equal opportunity. These are the values of our generation. It was never a question of if we were going to do this. The only question was when.

Millennials are already one of the most charitable generations in history. In one year, three of four US millennials made a donation, and seven out of 10 raised money for charity.

But it’s not just about money. You can also give time. I promise you, if you take an hour or two a week, that’s all it takes to give someone a hand, to help them reach their potential.

Maybe you think that’s too much time. I used to. When Priscilla graduated from Harvard, she became a teacher, and before she’d do education work with me, she told me I needed to teach a class. I complained: “Well, I’m kind of busy. I’m running this company.” But she insisted, so I taught a middle-school program on entrepreneurship at the local Boys and Girls Club.

I taught them lessons on product development and marketing, and they taught me what it’s like feeling targeted for your race and having a family member in prison. I shared stories from my time in school, and they shared their hope of one day going to college too. For five years now, I’ve been having dinner with those kids every month. One of them threw me and Priscilla our first baby shower. And next year they’re going to college. Every one of them. First in their families.

We can all make time to give someone a hand. Let’s give everyone the freedom to pursue their purpose — not only because it’s the right thing to do, but because when more people can turn their dreams into something great, we’re all better for it.

Purpose doesn’t only come from work. The third way we can create a sense of purpose for everyone is by building community. And when our generation says “everyone,” we mean everyone in the world.

Quick show of hands: How many of you are from another country? Now, how many of you are friends with one of these folks? Now we’re talking. We have grown up connected.

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.” That’s a big deal.

Every generation expands the circle of people we consider “one of us.” For us, it now encompasses the entire world.

We understand the great arc of human history bends toward people coming together in ever greater numbers — from tribes to cities to nations — to achieve things we couldn’t on our own.

We get that our greatest opportunities are now global — we can be the generation that ends poverty, that ends disease.

We get that our greatest challenges need global responses too — no country can fight climate change alone or prevent pandemics. Progress now requires coming together not just as cities or nations, but also as a global community.

But we live in an unstable time. There are people left behind by globalization across the world. It’s hard to care about people in other places if we don’t feel good about our lives here at home. There’s pressure to turn inward.

This is the struggle of our time. The forces of freedom, openness, and global community against the forces of authoritarianism, isolationism, and nationalism. Forces for the flow of knowledge, trade, and immigration against those who would slow them down. This is not a battle of nations; it’s a battle of ideas. There are people in every country for global connection and good people against it.

This isn’t going to be decided at the UN either. It’s going to happen at the local level when enough of us feel a sense of purpose and stability in our own lives that we can open up and start caring about everyone. The best way to do that is to start building local communities right now.

We all get meaning from our communities. Whether our communities are houses or sports teams, churches or music groups, they give us that sense we are part of something bigger, that we are not alone; they give us the strength to expand our horizons.

That’s why it’s so striking that for decades, membership in all kinds of groups has declined as much as one-quarter.

That’s a lot of people who now need to find purpose somewhere else.

But I know we can rebuild our communities and start new ones, because many of you already are.

I met Agnes Igoye, who’s graduating today. Where are you, Agnes? She spent her childhood navigating conflict zones in Uganda, and now she trains thousands of law-enforcement officers to keep communities safe.

I met Kayla Oakley and Niha Jain, graduating today, too. Stand up. Kayla and Niha started a nonprofit that connects people suffering from illnesses with people in their communities willing to help.

I met David Razu Aznar, graduating from the Kennedy School today. David, stand up. He’s a former city councilor who successfully led the battle to make Mexico City the first Latin American city to pass marriage equality — even before San Francisco.

This is my story, too. A student in a dorm room, connecting one community at a time, and keeping at it until one day we connect the whole world.

Change starts local. Even global changes start small, with people like us. In our generation, the struggle of whether we connect more, whether we achieve our biggest opportunities, comes down to this: your ability to build communities and create a world where every single person has a sense of purpose.

Class of 2017, you are graduating into a world that needs purpose. It’s up to you to create it.

Now, you may be thinking: Can I really do this?

Remember when I told you about that class I taught at the Boys and Girls Club? One day after class, I was talking to them about college, and one of my top students raised his hand and said he wasn’t sure he could go because he’s undocumented. He didn’t know if they’d let him in.

Last year, I took him out to breakfast for his birthday. I wanted to get him a present, so I asked him, and he started talking about students he saw struggling and said, “You know, I’d really just like a book on social justice.”

I was blown away. Here’s a young guy who has every reason to be cynical. He didn’t know if the country he calls home — the only one he’s known — would deny him his dream of going to college. But he wasn’t feeling sorry for himself. He wasn’t even thinking of himself. He has a greater sense of purpose, and he’s going to bring people along with him.

It says something about our current situation that I can’t even say his name because I don’t want to put him at risk.

But if a high-school senior who doesn’t know what the future holds can do his part to move the world forward, then we owe it to the world to do our part, too.

Before you walk out those gates one last time, as we sit in front of Memorial Church, I am reminded of a prayer, Mi Shebeirach, that I say whenever I face a challenge, that I sing to my daughter thinking about her future when I tuck her into bed. It goes:

“May the source of strength, who blessed the ones before us, help us find the courage to make our lives a blessing.”

I hope you find the courage to make your life a blessing.

Congratulations, Class of ’17! Good luck out there.

 

 

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