ICYMI: 5 Takeaways from Zuckerberg’s Commencement Speech

Mark Zuckerberg at Harvard Commencement

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


This year, the ever-esteemed Harvard commencement was especially memorable as Facebook founder, and Harvard almost-grad (until yesterday, that is) Mark Zuckerberg, took the stage. Arguably the most pronounced entrepreneur of our time, Zuckerberg addressed the class of 2017 in a moving speech that prompts this new generation of graduates to think about the power we all have to create purpose.


ICYMI, here are 5 things we at IM Boston think are worth noting:

1. Our generational goal is not to seek individual purpose, but to strive towards achieving global 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.”       

Finding your role and playing it (especially after graduating from Harvard) is very important—but what’s more important in this day and age, is that everyone everywhere can attain this same sense of purpose, or reason for being. How, you ask? This is up to you, and me, to decide.

2. Change starts at home


“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.”


Although the goal is global impact, change starts right here, within our own communities. Global change happens neither overnight, nor in one step. Progress is a process that starts at home.

3. Stop assuming someone else will do the job


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.”


Today in our (often overwhelming) technologically-progressive world, it is especially easy to kick back and forget that we are all vital to societal progression; each and every one of us has the power to make a difference—be it big or small. One of our goals then, according to Zuckerberg, is to change that “someone else” into you or me.


4. Luck is real, and some of us don’t get lucky


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.”


Never look away when privilege acknowledges itself; yesterday Mark Zuckerberg reminded us that contrary to popular belief, a dream is not all it takes. The way is paved more so for some than others—and recognizing this, is a major part of making it.

5. You gotta get up and try—AND fail


An entrepreneurial culture thrives when it’s easy to try lots of new ideas…Even Beyonce had to make hundreds of songs to get Halo.The greatest successes come from having the freedom to fail.” (Facebook.com)


Trying is important—but so too, is failing. Being misunderstood is inevitable, and backlash is only proof of the power of your ideas.  What’s important is that you take the first step; don’t give up on your “Halo” in progress.





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