Mark Zuckerberg just graduated with an honorary Doctor of Law degree from his alma mater, Harvard University, where it all began, and jokingly said, “If I get through this speech, I actually finish something at Harvard”.
In his powerful speech, Zuckerberg has accurately addressed the social problems in the present society as someone who was born in the same generation as us, but his opinions on the new era inequality have been an eye opener to many.
“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. JK 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.”
Zuckerberg has also been stressing on creating a purpose not just for ourselves, but also for others, but the problem is, not all of us can afford to move forward to meet with our purposes without a sense of security. Some of us can’t afford the liability to fail. It was not because we are afraid to take risks. In fact, this generation’s millennials have been exposing ourselves with the radioactivity of challenges every single day. But, we are afraid that we didn’t succeed with our plan to chase our dreams based on our purpose, we have nothing left to rely on. This era is no longer an inspirational movie where people can give their all to run for what they want to achieve and only depend on their lucky stars and fiery aspirations to get there. Now, there is so much gain yet there is so much to lose, and sometimes, the things that we have to lose means much more to some people that the things that they want to have. It might be their only savings to feed mouths at home — it might be their time where they should do things that will benefit them in the present than the uncertain future.
Somehow, this sense of inequality sure is a questionable one when we have been moving lengthy steps year to year especially the innovation of technology but not all of us can be blessed with the same opportunity to spread our wings. I have to agree with Zuckerberg — there is definitely something wrong with the system when he can leave college and become wealthy in a decade, and us, the privileged kids that can afford to only worry about our grades but there are still some, no, millions, as stated by Zuckerberg, that can’t afford to pay off their student loans that shut their door for a better life.
This is why the concept of giving is emphasized in the society to make an impact. This is not new because we have seen millions of volunteers go to refugee camps to provide food and build schools. We have seen many powerful movements on social media that successfully help and improve many lives. Most of us may see it as an act of kindness, but it means more than that. By giving, we have actually stabilized equality in the society. We opened doors for people to finally to be able to bravely brace the risks and move forward, and nothing can stop them anymore. They can finally be secured and know that they have a cushion to fall back on when their plan doesn’t succeed, and can freely brainstorm for a plan B. We can not only let people have a sense of purpose but actually live with it.
As a millennial, I would like to thank Mark Zuckerberg for this inspiring graduation speech that has aspired the graduates that hear his speech, and the rest of us around the world. It is our time to take action, our time to share abundant opportunities with others so that they will fly the same flight as us. We live in a world-changing community if everyone is given the same chance to play out their purpose. We are capable of erasing ‘if’s and replace it with concrete ‘can’s. We can.
Don’t stop giving.