Mark Zuckerberg’s Harvard Speech is a Manifesto for All Millennials On Finding Meaning & Purpose

The art of being alive for millennials is to live a meaningful life.

Harvard University celebrates Commencement 2017. The honor and gowns, including Zuckerberg’s gown, are carefully lined up in Massachusetts Hall awaiting their recipients. Stephanie Mitchell/Harvard Staff Photographer
“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.” — Mark Zuckerberg, Harvard Commencement 2017.

I have to release a secret from the book I have been documenting about millennials, called the Art of Being Alive. While it might hurt my sales (when eventually published)– since you would already know the entirety of it with what I am about to share, I think it is totally worth telling you:

The art of being alive for a millennial is living a life of meaning and purpose. From over one hundred interviews I conducted about what makes people feel alive and how young people are living meaningfully, the number one answer which is the major revelation discovered from this book project remains “Engaging in a task or project that is greater than self. Something towards the greater good!”

In his commencement speech as the youngest person ever to give one at Harvard university, Mark Zuckerberg literally wrote the manifesto for every millennial that is a change-maker [which is every millennial]. If you know a millennial, speak to them for five minutes and you will know that what they care about is “Social good, greater good causes, global impact and meaningfulness”.

For the full transcript on this Zuckerberg’s speech, read up here.

Here are some of my favorite quotes from his speech:

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.
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.
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 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.
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Tags: Art of being alive, Facebook, Harvard, Mark Zuckerberg, Meaningfulness, millennials, purpose, TAN Academia

Originally published at on May 27, 2017.