“..millions of volunteers immunized children around the world against polio. And millions of more people built the Hoover dam and other great projects. And now it’s our generation’s turn to do great things. I know, you’re probably thinking: I don’t know how to build a dam. I don’t know how to get a million people involved in anything.
Well, let me tell you a secret: no one does when they begin. Ideas don’t come out fully formed. They only become clear as you work on them. You just have to get started.
If I had to know everything about connecting people before I got started, I never would have built Facebook.
Movies and pop culture just get this all wrong. The idea of a single Eureka! moment is a dangerous lie. It makes us feel inadequate because we feel like we haven’t had ours yet. And it prevents people with seeds of good ideas from ever getting started in the first place. Oh, and you know what else movies get wrong about innovation? No one writes math formulas on glass, okay? Alright, that’s not a thing, okay.
It’s really good to be idealistic. But be prepared to be misunderstood. Anyone working on a big vision is gonna get called crazy, even if you end up right. Anyone taking on a complex problem is gonna get blamed for not fully understanding it, even though it’s impossible to know everything upfront. Anyone taking initiative will always get criticized for moving too fast, because there’s always someone who wants to slow you down.
In our society, we often don’t take on big things because we’re so afraid of making mistakes that we ignore all the things wrong today if we do nothing. The reality is, anything we do today is gonna have some issues in the future. But that can’t stop us from getting started.
So what are we waiting for? It is time for our generation-defining, great works.”
25052017 Harvard Commencement
(From Harvard University)