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Mark Zuckerberg’s 3 Keys to Creating a ‘Sense of Purpose’

Facebook’s CEO shares his game plan for pushing humanity forward

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg touched on a myriad of topics in his Harvard commencement speech on Thursday afternoon — including undocumented immigration and the threat automatization poses to workers — but his main focus was on the importance of creating a “sense of purpose.”

To that end, Zuckerberg highlighted three key areas:

“Big Meaningful Projects”
Zuck referenced the Hoover Dam, the moon landing, and finding a polio vaccine as examples of “big meaningful projects” that helped propel society forward, before adding “now, it’s our turn to do great things.”

The best way to tackle ambitious ideas? Simply by starting on them. “Ideas don’t come out fully formed,” Zuckerberg said, adding that waiting for a single “eureka” moment is foolish; instead, start your project, and both challenges and new opportunities will spring from it naturally.

Stopping climate change, curing diseases, and modernizing how we vote were three projects Zuckerberg said we should work towards.

“Redefining our Idea of Equality”
Defining “a new social contract,” where everyone has a chance to pursue their entrepreneurial side, will be vital. Zuckerberg referenced his ability to take the idea for Facebook and make billions off of it in the last decade, while scores of other students are hampered by crippling student loan debt. This isn’t the best recipe for creating purpose. These burdens force people to bypass a more complex — but potentially lucrative — idea, in favor of finding a solution to their immediate needs.

To foster a better environment for success, Zuck highlighted the potential need for a universal basic income, or finding affordable childcare for parents.

“Building Communities”
Creating stable communities with shared values and common goals is imperative, Zuckerberg continued. And despite the internet connecting people across the world, he said changes needed to come at the local level and grow outward.

“This is the struggle of our time; the forces of freedom, openness and global community, against the forces of authoritarianism, isolationism and nationalism,” Zuckerberg explained. “Forces for the flow of knowledge, trade and immigration, against those that would slow them down.”

Align on the facets that promote a worldwide community, and we’ll have more people with a stake in the game, he argued.

Harness these three aspects, and you’ll foster an environment where more people find a sense of purpose — according to this tech billionaire at least.