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Mark Zuckerberg: You’re not here to gain acceptance; you are here to fulfill purpose

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Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg PHOTO: Getty images


Geoffrey Albert said: “When you take charge of your life, there is no longer need to ask permission of other people or society at large. When you ask for permission, you give someone veto power over your life.” It is appalling how we have been programmed by societal expectations and other people’s opinion when we can actually re-programme ourselves to unleash our full potentials.

Stop waiting for something to happen or for someone to give you permission to do things; the need for permission is a barrier we create or an excuse we make to prevent ourselves from living the life we should have lived.

The only permission, validation and opinion that matter in our quest for greatness is our own. If you live on people’s acceptance, you would die from their rejection. So many dreams have died just because some people were always asking for permission, instead of following their conviction. Many dreams have been stifled and many latent potential perpetually buried just because some people were so much addicted to the opinion and permission of others.

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Have you ever heard of Jonas Salk, the man who dared polio? When he was born, polio was one of the great cripplers and killers in the world. Salk became obsessed with the idea of ending polio’s reign of terror.

At the University of Pittsburgh, he established a laboratory devoted solely to finding a vaccine. In 1952, over 57,000 people contracted the disease, and of these, over 3,300 died. Salk’s breakthrough came in 1953 when he developed the vaccine using dead polio virus cells to help the body’s immune system antibodies to fight off live virus cells. The serum worked well in animals, but many questioned whether dead polio virus cells should be injected into human beings.

In the midst of people’s doubt, he held on to his belief and to prove his confidence in the new vaccine, Salk injected himself and his children over the objections of government doctors who urged a longer period of animal testing.

He declared that there was no time to waste and moved beyond the permission of experts. Many decades after, his decision was acclaimed one of the most redeeming medical decisions of the century.

The biggest mindset shift you need is to live a fulfilling life and to stop asking for permission. When you give too much power to others’ opinions over your life, it could undermine your ability to ultimately succeed in life. Seeking validation from others invalidates you.

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Mark Zuckerberg’s route to stardom started in Harvard when he invented FaceMash in his dormitory. Back in his dormitory in Harvard, the young Zuckerberg dreamt of connecting the social life of Harvard community through his idea of FaceMash.

The initiative became wildly popular, but was later shut down by the school administration after it was deemed inappropriate. The school authority felt FaceMash was causing a considerable distraction to Harvard’s community. They saw it as distraction, but little Mark saw it as a disruption. Harvard administration was not amused by an idea that was making the school more social rather than more academic.

Zuckerberg faced a disciplinary committee and was asked to choose between Harvard or FaceMash. He was summarily asked by the school authority to choose between staying in Harvard and pursuing the idea of FaceMash.

You and I can actually guess his choice, as he eventually dropped out from Harvard and FaceMash metamorphose into Facebook. Today, Facebook has over one billion active users. Zuckerberg probably has more influence on information technology than any person alive.

In November 2019, his personal wealth was estimated to be $70.8 billion, making him the fourth richest and youngest billionaire ever.

In his electrifying poem that has held the world spellbound for ages, Robert Frost shared one of the most amazing quotes that I have always fallen back on in times of critical decision making. He said: “Two roads diverged in a wood, and I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.”

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I want to reach out to as many that have been talked out of their passion and those that have neglected their dreams for a lesser life: You don’t need permission to follow your dreams, you don’t need permission to pursue your passion and you don’t need permission to follow unconventional paths. Hold tenaciously to your inner belief and stop attaching your life to people’s opinion.

Henry David Thoreau said: “If one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams and endeavours to live a life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.”

Facebook was born because Zuckerberg did not ask for Harvard’s permission. Make no apologies for following your heart. A man on a mission needs no permission.

Ralph Marston said: “You don’t need anyone else’s permission to be happy. Your life is magnificent not because someone says it is, but because you choose to see it as such.” There are two things that we can perpetually live on: ‘Permission’ and ‘Conviction.’ Great people live on the latter, while the former is meant for lesser souls.

Live on conviction and stop asking for permission. If you want to achieve greatness, stop looking for acceptance. You are not here to gain acceptance; you are here to fulfill purpose. Always remember this!

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