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20 Inspirational Lessons From Nobel Prize Winners

20 Inspirational Lessons From Nobel Prize Winners

I took on this piece because I knew it would be a challenge, something that no Nobel Peace Prize winner has ever shied away from. In my research, I had the honor of playing time traveler to authentically recount banquet speeches and key points from the work of these geniuses that pushed humanity in the right direction. I found some of the most original, thoughtful, and brightest minds our species has to offer, and their wisdom will no doubt serve us for eternity.

Here are 20 philosophers, physicists, chemists, writers, thinkers, doers, and former Nobel Prize winners who set the foundation for worldly progression and sociological change. Their words are unparalleled, and their work has unquestionably altered the world we know today in a positive way.  Yet, I realized something during my studies about these people that may surprise you, but I’ll save my reckoning till after these genius’ have the stand.

Malala.Yousafzaic

    1. Malala Yousafza

    Lesson Taught: Prioritizing knowledge over violence (particularly in the Middle East).

    Prize Category: Peace (2014)

    “Let us pick up our books and pens. They are the most powerful weapons.”

    – Banquet Speech

    Jimmy_Carter_April_1980

      2. Jimmy Carter

      Lesson Taught: Unity trumps everything in our path to peace.

      Prize Category: Peace (2002)

      “Despite theological differences, all great religions share common commitments that define our ideal secular relationships. I am convinced that Christians, Buddhists, Jews, and others can embrace each other in a common effort to alleviate human suffering and to espouse peace.”

      – Nobel Lecture

      Madre Teresa

        3. Mother Teresa

        Lesson Taught: The correlation of love, work, and sacrifice.

        Prize Category: Peace (1979)

        “At the moment of death, we will not be judged by the amount of work we have done but by the weight of love we have put into our work. This love should flow from self-sacrifice, and it must be felt to the point of hurting.”

        – No Greater Love

        6-william-butler-yeats-granger

          4. William Butler Yeats

          Lesson Taught: Positive perspective.

          Prize Category: Literature (1923)

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          “Let us go forth, the teller of tales, and seize whatever prey the heart long for, and have no fear. Everything exists, everything is true, and the earth is only a little dust under our feet.”

          The Celtic Twilight 

          Niels_Bohr_Date_Unverified_LOC
            5. Niels Henrik David Bohr

            Lesson Taught: Make mistakes, but learn from them.

            Prize Category: Physics (1922)

            “An expert is a person who has found out by his own painful experience all the mistakes that one can make in a very narrow field.”

            – Dr. Edward Teller’s Magnificent Obsession by Robert Coughlan (LIFE magazine) 

            Mandela-de-Klerk

              6. Nelson Mandela

              Lesson Taught: The important difference between fear and being afraid.

              Prize Category: Peace (1993)

              “The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.”

              – Long Walk to Freedom

              857px-Hermann_Hesse_2

                7. Hermann Hesse

                Lesson Taught: Live out the things you value most.

                Prize Category: Literature (1946)

                “Only the ideas that we actually live are of any value.”

                – Demian: The Story of Emil Sinclair’s Youth

                “If you hate a person, you hate something in him that is part of yourself. What isn’t part of ourselves doesn’t disturb us.”

                 – Demian: The Story of Emil Sinclair’s Youth

                George_Bernard_Shaw_notebook

                  8. George Bernard Shaw

                  Lesson Taught: Circumstances are made, not given.

                  Prize Category: Literature (1925)

                  “People are always blaming circumstances for what they are. I don’t believe in circumstances. The people who get on in this world are the people who get fed up and look for the circumstances they want, and, if they can’t find them, make them.”

                  – Mrs. Warren’s Profession

                  Portrait_of_Rudyard_Kipling

                    9. Rudyard Kipling

                    Lesson Taught: The power of words.

                    Prize Category: Literature (1907)

                    “Words are, of course, the most powerful drug used by mankind.”

                     – Speech quoted in The Times

                    Sir_Winston_S_Churchill

                      10. Sir Winston Leonard Spencer Churchill

                      Lesson Taught: Overcoming adversity.

                      Prize Category: Literature (1953)

                      “If you are going through hell, keep going.”

                      Sir Winston Churchill: His Wit and Wisdom by Jon Allen

                      “It’s no enough to do our best; sometimes we have to do what’s required”

                      Two Wars by Nate Self

                      Sinclair-Lewis1

                        11. Sinclair Lewis

                        Lesson Taught: No way is the right way.

                        Prize Category: Literature (1930)

                        He insisted that there is no Truth, but only many truths; that Truth is not a colored bird to be chased among the rocks and captured by it’s tail, but a skeptical attitude on life.”

                        Arrowsmith

                        Ernest

                          12. Ernest Hemingway

                          Lesson Taught: Reaching your potential is gaining fulfillment.

                          Prize Category: Literature (1954)

                          “He had destroyed his talent by not using it, by betrayls of himself and what he believed in, by drinking so much that he blunted the edge of his perceptions, by laziness, by sloth, and by snobbery, by pride and by prejudice, by hook and by crook. What was this? A catalogue of old books? What was his talent anyway? It was a talent all right but instead of using it, he had traded on it. It was never what he had done, but always what he could do.”

                          The Complete Short Stories of Ernest Hemingway  

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                          steinbeck_905

                            13. John Steinbeck

                            Lesson Taught: Mind over mob.

                            Prize Category: Literature (1962)

                            “And this I believe: that the free, exploring mind of the individual human is the most valuable thing in the world. And this I would fight for: the freedom of the mind to take any direction is wishes, undirected. And this I must fight against: any idea, religion, or government which limits or destroys the individual.”

                            – East of Eden

                            Theodore_Roosevelt_circa_1902

                              14. Theodore Roosevelt

                              Lesson Taught: One small step daily will eventually climb a mountain.

                              Prize Category: Peace (1906)

                              “Our words must be judged by our deeds; and in striving for a lofty ideal we must use practical methods; and if we cannot attain all at one leap, we must advance towards it step by step, reasonably content so long as we do actually make some progress in the right direction.”

                              – Acceptance Speech

                              MLK

                                15. Martin Luther King Jr.

                                Lesson Taught: The beauty of camaraderie.

                                Prize Category: Peace (1964)

                                “…the beauty of genuine brotherhood and peace is more precious than diamonds or silver or gold.”

                                – Acceptance Speech

                                Barack

                                  16. Barack Obama

                                  Lesson Taught: Freedom doesn’t settle.

                                  Prize Category: Peace (2009)

                                  “Hope is the bedrock of this nation. The belief that our destiny will not be written for us, but by us, by all those men and women who are not content to settle for the world as it is, who have the courage to remake the world as it should be.”

                                  – Iowa Caucus Victory Speech

                                  ts-eliot-422628

                                    17. Thomas Stearns (T.S.) Eliot

                                    Lesson Taught:

                                    Prize Category: Literature (1948)

                                    “To do the useful thing, to say the courageous thing, to contemplate the beautiful thing: that is enough for one man’s life.”

                                    The Use of Poetry and the Use of Criticism 

                                    Linus

                                      18. Linus Pauling

                                      Lesson Taught: Everything must be taken with no more than one grain of salt.

                                      Prize Category: Chemistry (1954)

                                      “When an old and distinguished person speaks to you, listen to him carefully and with respect – but do not believe him. Never put your trust into anything but your own intellect. Your elder, no matter whether he has gray hair or has lost his hair, no matter whether he is a Nobel laureate – may be wrong. The world progresses, year by year, century by century, as the members of the younger generation find out what was wrong among the things that their elders said. So you must always be skeptical – always think for yourself.”

                                      – Scientist and Peacemaker

                                      Marie_Curie_Tekniska_museet

                                        19. Marie Curie, née Sklodowska

                                        Lesson Taught: Let fear be silenced by knowledge.

                                        Prize Category: Physics (1903)

                                        “Nothing in life is to be feared, it is only to be understood. Now is the time to understand more, so that we may fear less.”

                                        Precarious Habitat 

                                        614px-Albert_Einstein

                                          20. Albert Einstein

                                          Lesson Taught: Mind is to intellect as imagination is to genius.

                                          Prize Category: Physics (1921)

                                          “Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds. The mediocre mind is incapable of understanding the man who refuses to bow blindly to conventional prejudices and chooses instead to express his opinions courageously and honestly.”

                                          – Letter to Moris Raphael Cohen

                                          “Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited, whereas imagination embraces the entire world, stimulating progress, giving birth to evolution. It is, strictly speaking, a real factor in scientific research.”

                                          – Cosmic Religion: With Other Opinions and Aphorisms

                                          “The world is a dangerous place, not because of those who do evil, but because of those who look on and do nothing.”

                                          – Einstein’s Tribute to Pablo Casals

                                          These are by no means ordinary or standard thoughts. Yet, the ideas shared on a grand scale of an NPP banquet aren’t any more or less profound than conversations I’ve had with professors, colleagues, business associates, and, yes, my friends. We all want peace, change, and personal prosperity, but few of us take the personal and communal steps in order to get there.

                                          Realize that you, too, are capable of great things like the leaders I’ve shared with you today. Let’s gracefully and proudly stand on the shoulders of our forefathers, and expand what they worked so tirelessly to build. If you firmly believe that you are worthy to walk among these greats, than you’ll take the first step of enacting the change you so desperately seek in the world.

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                                          Go get it.

                                          Featured photo credit: Podium / Pixgood via candymariebridges.com

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                                          Last Updated on March 14, 2019

                                          7 Questions to Ask in a Job Interview That Will Impress the Interviewer

                                          7 Questions to Ask in a Job Interview That Will Impress the Interviewer

                                          Recruiters might hold thousands of interviews in their careers and a lot of them are reporting the same thing—that most candidates play it safe with the questions they ask, or have no questions to ask in a job interview at all.

                                          For job applicants, this approach is crazy! This is a job that you’re going to dedicate a lot of hours to and that might have a huge impact on your future career. Don’t throw away the chance to figure out if the position is perfect for you.

                                          Here are 7 killer questions to ask in a job interview that will both impress your counterpart and give you some really useful insights into whether this job will be a dream … or a nightmare.

                                          1. What are some challenges I might come up against this role?

                                          A lesser candidate might ask, “what does a typical day look like in this role?” While this is a perfectly reasonable question to ask in an interview, focusing on potential challenges takes you much further because it indicates that you already are visualizing yourself in the role.

                                          It’s impressive because it shows that you are not afraid of challenges, and you are prepared to strategize a game plan upfront to make sure you succeed if you get the job.

                                          It can also open up a conversation about how you’ve solved problems in the past which can be a reassuring exercise for both you and the hiring manager.

                                          How it helps you:

                                          If you ask the interviewer to describe a typical day, you may get a vibrant picture of all the lovely things you’ll get to do in this job and all the lovely people you’ll get to do them with.

                                          Asking about potential roadblocks means you hear the other side of the story—dysfunctional teams, internal politics, difficult clients, bootstrap budgets and so on. This can help you decide if you’re up for the challenge or whether, for the sake of your sanity, you should respectfully decline the job offer.

                                          2. What are the qualities of really successful people in this role?

                                          Employers don’t want to hire someone who goes through the motions; they want to hire someone who will excel.

                                          Asking this question shows that you care about success, too. How could they not hire you with a dragon-slayer attitude like that?

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                                          How it helps you:

                                          Interviewers hire people who are great people to work with, but the definition of “great people” differs from person to person.

                                          Does this company hire and promote people with a specific attitude, approach, worth ethic or communication style? Are the most successful people in this role strong extroverts who love to talk and socialize when you are studious and reserved? Does the company reward those who work insane hours when you’re happiest in a more relaxed environment?

                                          If so, then this may not be the right match for you.

                                          Whatever the answer is, you can decide whether you have what it takes for the manager to be happy with your performance in this role. And if the interviewer has no idea what success looks like for this position, this is a sign to proceed with extreme caution.

                                          3. From the research I did on your company, I noticed the culture really supports XYZ. Can you tell me more about that element of the culture and how it impacts this job role?

                                          Of course, you could just ask “what is the culture like here? ” but then you would miss a great opportunity to show that you’ve done your research!

                                          Interviewers give BIG bonus point to those who read up and pay attention, and you’ve just pointed out that (a) you’re diligent in your research (b) you care about the company culture and (c) you’re committed to finding a great cultural fit.

                                          How it helps you:

                                          This question is so useful because it lets you pick an element of the culture that you really care about and that will have the most impact on whether you are happy with the organization.

                                          For example, if training and development is important to you, then you need to know what’s on offer so you don’t end up in a dead-end job with no learning opportunities.

                                          Companies often talk a good talk, and their press releases may be full of shiny CSR initiatives and all the headline-grabbing diversity programs they’re putting in place. This is your opportunity to look under the hood and see if the company lives its values on the ground.

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                                          A company that says it is committed to doing the right thing by customers should not judge success by the number of up-sells an employee makes, for instance. Look for consistency, so you aren’t in for a culture shock after you start.

                                          4. What is the promotion path for this role, and how would my performance on that path be measured?

                                          To be clear, you are not asking when you will get promoted. Don’t go there—it’s presumptuous, and it indicates that you think you are better than the role you have applied for.

                                          A career-minded candidate, on the other hand, usually has a plan that she’s working towards. This question shows you have a great drive toward growth and advancement and an intention to stick with the company beyond your current state.

                                          How it helps you:

                                          One word: hierarchy.

                                          All organizations have levels of work and authority—executives, upper managers, line managers, the workforce, and so on. Understanding the hierarchical structure gives you power, because you can decide if you can work within it and are capable of climbing through its ranks, or whether it will be endlessly frustrating to you.

                                          In a traditional pyramid hierarchy, for example, the people at the bottom tend to have very little autonomy to make decisions. This gets better as you rise up through the pyramid, but even middle managers have little power to create policy; they are more concerned with enforcing the rules the top leaders make.

                                          If having a high degree of autonomy and accountability is important to you, you may do better in a flat hierarchy where work teams can design their own way of achieving the corporate goals.

                                          5. What’s the most important thing the successful candidate could accomplish in their first 3 months/6 months/year?

                                          Of all the questions to ask in a job interview, this one is impressive because it shows that you identify with and want to be a successful performer, and not just an average one.

                                          Here, you’re drilling down into what the company needs, and needs quite urgently, proving that you’re all about adding value to the organization and not just about what’s in it for you.

                                          How it helps you:

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                                          Most job descriptions come with 8, 10 or 12 different job responsibilities and a lot of them with be boilerplate or responsibilities that someone in HR thinks are associated with this role. This question gives you a better sense of which responsibilities are the most important—and they may not be what initially attracted you to the role.

                                          If you like the idea of training juniors, for example, but success is judged purely on your sales figures, then is this really the job you thought you were applying for?

                                          This question will also give you an idea of what kind of learning curve you’re expected to have and whether you’ll get any ramp-up time before getting down to business. If you’re the type of person who likes to jump right in and get things done, for instance, you may not be thrilled to hear that you’re going to spend the first three months shadowing a peer.

                                          6. What do you like about working here?

                                          This simple question is all about building rapport with the interviewer. People like to talk about themselves, and the interviewer will be flattered that you’re interested in her opinions.

                                          Hopefully, you’ll find some great connection points that the two of you share. What similar things drive you head into the office each day? How will you fit into the culture?

                                          How it helps you:

                                          You can learn a lot from this question. Someone who genuinely enjoys his job will be able to list several things they like, and their answers will sound passionate and sincere. If not….well, you might consider that a red flag.

                                          Since you potentially can learn a lot about the company culture from this question, it’s a good idea to figure out upfront what’s important to you. Maybe you’re looking for a hands-off boss who values independent thought and creativity? Maybe you work better in environments that move at a rapid, exciting pace?

                                          Whatever’s important to you, listen carefully and see if you can find any common ground.

                                          7. Based on this interview, do you have any questions or concerns about my qualifications for the role?

                                          What a great closing question to ask in a job interview! It shows that you’re not afraid of feedback—in fact, you are inviting it. Not being able to take criticism is a red flag for employers, who need to know that you’ll act on any “coaching moments” with a good heart.

                                          As a bonus, asking this question shows that you are really interested in the position and wish to clear up anything that may be holding the company back from hiring you.

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                                          How it helps you:

                                          What a devious beast this question is! On the surface, it looks straightforward, but it’s actually giving you four key pieces of information.

                                          First, is the manager capable of giving you feedback when put on the spot like this? Some managers are scared of giving feedback, or don’t think it’s important enough to bother outside of a formal performance appraisal. Do you want to work for a boss like that? How will you improve if no one is telling you what you did wrong?

                                          Second, can the manager give feedback in a constructive way without being too pillowy or too confrontational? It’s unfair to expect the interviewer to have figured out your preferred way of receiving feedback in the space of an interview, but if she come back with a machine-gun fire of shortcomings or one of those corporate feedback “sandwiches” (the doozy slipped between two slices of compliment), then you need to ask yourself, can you work with someone who gives feedback like that?

                                          Third, you get to learn the things the hiring manager is concerned about before you leave the interview. This gives you the chance to make a final, tailored sales pitch so you can convince the interviewer that she should not be worried about those things.

                                          Fourth, you get to learn the things the hiring manager is concerned about period. If turnover is keeping him up at night, then your frequent job hopping might get a lot of additional scrutiny. If he’s facing some issues with conflict or communication, then he might raise concerns regarding your performance in this area.

                                          Listen carefully: the concerns that are being raised about you might actually be a proxy for problems in the wider organization.

                                          Making Your Interview Work for You

                                          Interviews are a two-way street. While it is important to differentiate yourself from every other candidate, understand that convincing the interviewer you’re the right person for the role goes hand-in-hand with figuring out if the job is the right fit for you.

                                          Would you feel happy in a work environment where the people, priorities, culture and management style were completely at odds with the way you work? Didn’t think so!

                                          More Resources About Job Interviews

                                          Featured photo credit: Amy Hirschi via unsplash.com

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