Mark Zuckerberg is one of the richest men in the world, and one of the most successful entrepreneurs of all time, but he has an unusual itch — he wants to keep being embarrassed.
“I do think that there’s a thing where, as people grow up, maybe they don’t want to be embarrassed or anything. They’ve built their adult identity and they kind of have a sense of who they are and what they want to project,” he said on the Lex Fridman podcast.
Zuckerberg says that this aversion to embarrassment is not a good thing. “I think maybe to some degree your ability to keep doing interesting things is your willingness to be embarrassed again and go back to step one and start as a beginner and get your ass kicked and look stupid doing things,” he says.
Zuckerberg hints he is willing to be embarrassed both in his personal life and while running Meta. “We take on new adventures. I think of them as ten plus years missions that we’re on, where often early on, people doubt that we’re going to be able to do it. And the initial work seems kind of silly,” he adds.
“Our whole ethos is we don’t want to wait until something is perfect to put it out there. We want to get it out quickly and get feedback on it. I just kind of think that the moment that you decide that you’re going to be too embarrassed to try something new, then you’re not going to learn anything anymore,” he says.
Zuckerberg has displayed plenty of examples of willing to be embarrassed. At Meta, he led a pivot to the company to the Metaverse, investing more than $10 billion into the project, and even going as far as to change the name of the company from Facebook to Meta. The metaverse hasn’t yet displayed its full potential, but Zuckerberg is poised to capture the space once the technology becomes widely available. Even in his personal life, Zuckerberg has taken on new challenges — at the age of 35, he took up jiu jitsu, competed anonymously in some tournaments, and has even won some medals. You’d think that a billionaire would be averse to having his face punched in on a wrestling mat, but he’s been willing to start his jiu jitsu career from scratch, and seems to be making good progress. And if one of the most famous people in the world is willing to put himself out there and be embarrassed to learn something new, what’s stopping you and me?