How do you think about social responsibility?

How should I live my life?

How does the social responsibility I have for the world around me impact the choices I make? I ask these questions a lot because of the following truths:

  • There are a finite number of hours in the day. Thus, there are only a finite number of endeavors I can spend time pursuing.
  • I value certain things more than I do others. Spending time on certain tasks simply does not interest me. I need some semblance of happiness and fulfillment in my day-to-day.
  • I am lucky. There’s no denying this! I’m not a starving child in a third-world country. I wasn’t born with any genetic defects that prevent me from thinking or moving.
  • Day-to-day, I don’t work on fighting world hunger, climate change, or deforestation. I don’t work on stopping a global war, helping our broken public school system, or the AIDS epidemic. And neither do most of my friends or the people I know. From the comfort of Silicon Valley, life can almost seem pretty great.

Life seems great, but it’s not

It’s almost easy to ignore the rest of the world from within the Silicon Valley bubble. At Stanford, I’m surrounded by privilege. As an employee at a tech company, I’ll likely be working on problems that won’t matter to you at all if, for example, you didn’t have access to clean water (which, according to the CDC, over 35% of the world’s population lacks).

So if global warming is getting worse and if 13% of our world is undernourished, then why am I not working on those problems? Why isn’t anyone I know working on those problems? (It is also entirely possible that I do know people who are working on these problems, and that I just don’t know about them/their stories. Feel free to prove me wrong!)

I want to conclude these thoughts by posing a few questions. To anyone reading this, I’d love to know:

  • What drives you in your current pursuit(s)? Why are you doing what you’re doing?
  • What do you think about the amount of social responsibility you have for the world around you?

Email me if you have any thoughts. I’d love to hear them.