As 2015 drew to a close, Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Dr. Priscilla Chan, an accomplished pediatrician and philanthropist, posted a letter on Facebook to their newborn daughter Maxima Chan Zuckerberg.
The couple detailed a number of very important changes they wanted to implement following the birth, such as donating 99% of Facebook's shares--valued at $45 billion--to the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, a philanthropic organization with a mission to "advance human potential and promote equality."
As an explanation for the initiative, Zuckerberg and Chan explained that they wanted their daughter, fondly referred to as "Max" in the letter, to "grow up in a world better than ours today." So, what can we as readers take away from the Chan Zuckerberg family's poignant letter in order to improve the world we live in right now?
Well, simply that there is always more that can be done. Always.
As Chan and Zuckerberg point out, in spite of all the progress that has already been made in society today, not even the sky is the limit when it comes to the kind of advancement we have the potential to achieve.
If our contemporary generation continues to push for more advanced disease research, for more technological development, for greater infrastructural development worldwide--the next generation cannot help but prosper. At its core, Zuckerberg and Chan's point is this: If we have the opportunity to work a little harder and expend a little more effort in this moment for the long-term good of the future, why aren't we doing it? What's the point of settling--of being complacent--if there's always a chance for improvement?
To give our best, we can never be complacent. It doesn't take two enormously successful people reminding us to be aware of that. For today, then, make the effort of furthering research in fields you feel will benefit humankind--not necessarily just the individual. Thinking about the larger picture does a good job of putting things into perspective.
Frankly, sometimes that's exactly what we need.
In our contemporary, often self-centered, lifestyles, it's incredibly worthwhile to remind ourselves just how much more progress can be made in the universe--and to keep pushing ourselves to take those steps to get there.