Last December 1st, the CEO of Facebook and one of the richest men in the world, Mark Zuckerberg, published a letter addressed to his daughter, Max, that caught everybody’s attention. The letter that he and his wife, Priscilla Chan wrote maybe addressed to their daughter, but we all know that that was for everyone else too. The letter came at the most opportune time when almost all of us were busy minding our own lives, living for the present and forgetting the importance of leaving a legacy for future generations.
The letter was veracious and at the same time poignant that will make us think about the future and the urgency of doing something good not only for ourselves but for our posterity. It made us rethink our stance and disposition in life and made us question ourselves on the contribution we’ve done to the community. Aside from these, the letter has taught me so many things I overlooked, things I didn’t pay much attention to and things that a lot of us can benefit from.
1. Prevention is as good as the cure.
“Consider disease. Today we spend about 50 times more as a society treating people who are sick than we invest in research so you won’t get sick in the first place.”
Not only that our society needs to focus on curing diseases but also the society needs to exert extra effort in finding ways to prevent diseases. Some might argue that this is easier said than done, but Mark believes that through research and studies, this is indeed, achievable.
2. Access to internet is indispensable.
“People often think of the internet as just for entertainment or communication. But for the majority of people in the world, the internet can be a lifeline.”
I remember the times when I was in primary school and the first half of my secondary school, when our projects and research were done with limited newspaper clips, encyclopedias and books available at the library. I wouldn’t have thought that studying could be more accessible with just a click of the hand, it is still unfathomable how fast technology has evolved and make things easier for everyone else.
If everyone has access to internet, there is no excuse to be dumb, to be ignorant, to not reach one’s potential, to not develop one’s ability and capability, and to not be aware of solutions to whatever problem one is facing.
3. Health is wealth.
“Technology can’t solve problems by itself. Building a better world starts with building strong and healthy communities.”
One cannot reach his full potential if one’s health is compromise. No matter how hard and how persevered one person is, if that person is not given medicine for his sickness, cure for his disease and access to his healthcare, hard work and perseverance are futile acts.
4. Everything starts from home.
“If you have an unhealthy childhood, it’s difficult to reach your full potential.”
Research doesn’t need to tell us that a child’s development starts from a very young age and from home he grows up in and family he grows up with. The way a parent treats his child can attribute greatly to his attitude and mental health. If one grows up on a hostile environment, there is a big chance that that child cannot reach his full potential and would often result to a rebellious youth and a bitter adult.
5. The importance of connecting people and building strong communities.
“We will give 99% of our Facebook shares — currently about $45 billion — during our lives to advance this mission. We know this is a small contribution compared to all the resources and talents of those already working on these issues. But we want to do what we can, working alongside many others.”
You may have the resources to contribute to society but if you do not have the community to help you, the success of it would be unlikely. It is important to reach out to people who have access to make things done, to communicate with leaders of the community and to share ideas with the think tank of an organization. In short, sheer will alone is not enough, it takes a whole community to achieve goals.
6. Optimism and Patience work hand in hand.
“We must make long term investments over 25, 50 or even 100 years. The greatest challenges require very long time horizons and cannot be solved by short term thinking.”
The missions and goals of Mr. and Mrs Zuckerberg are not to be achieved sooner than later, but they are positive that all of these are achievable with the help of everyone.
There will be bumps along the way, that are expected, but that doesn’t merit one person to surrender.
It is not only facebook that we have to thank for Mr. Zuckerberg, but also, him serving as an inspiration. His humility and compassion for everyone’s welfare should be the standard on how we live our lives. We all have our own heroes, he may not be on your list but all I can say is that, Mr. Zuckerberg is a person worthy of emulation. We will never be as rich as him in this lifetime, or the next, but we can be as compassionate and as caring as he is in our simple ways.