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The Success Formula Stephen Hawking Taught Us

The Success Formula Stephen Hawking Taught Us

How would you react if you were told that you had motor neuron disease (ALS) at the age of twenty and had just a few years to live? That was Stephen Hawking in 1963. Yet, not only is he still alive in 2014, but he revolutionized physics for half a century. Stephen Hawking is an inspiration because he transformed our understanding of the universe. He has also succeeded in making science popular as witnessed by his best selling book A Brief History of Time. To say that Stephen Hawking’s life and work has been a success is an understatement. Here are 8 lessons from his extraordinary life and achievements that can inspire us.

1. He has used technology to overcome his disability

“Intelligence is the ability to adapt to change.” – Stephen Hawking

As Prof. Hawking explains in the video below, the power of technology to transform lives, communicate ideas which lead to great discoveries is truly astounding. In his own case, he cannot speak and uses a voice synthesizer as we hear on this video. He has made extensive use of computer technology and the Internet in his research.

2. He refused to let his disability halt his research

“My advice to other disabled people would be, concentrate on things your disability doesn’t prevent you doing well, and don’t regret the things it interferes with. Don’t be disabled in spirit as well as physically.” – Stephen Hawking

Just after he had been diagnosed and with a only a few years to live, according to his doctors, he fell in love and married Jane Wilde. They had three children. During the same period, he flung himself into his work and research as a physicist. He was determined that his disability was not going to be an obstacle.

“Theoretical physics is one of the few fields in which being disabled is no handicap – it is all in the mind.”- Stephen Hawking.

3. He is always curious

“Look up at the stars and not down at your feet. Try to make sense of what you see, and wonder about what makes the universe exist. Be curious.”- Stephen Hawking

Hawking once remarked that he has a childlike curiosity in that he is always asking questions with ‘why’ and ‘how’. A perfect example of this is his desire to travel in space.

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4. He has never lost his sense of humor

“Keeping an active mind has been vital to my survival, as has been maintaining a sense of humor.”-Stephen Hawking.

He has always joked about his zany appearances in The Simpsons, Futurama, Stargate Atlantis and The Fairly Oddparents and Star Trek. Watch the video with John Oliver where his great sense of humor is very evident.

5. He stands by his principles

“No one undertakes research in physics with the intention of winning a prize. It is the joy of discovering something no one knew before.” – Stephen Hawking

During his lifetime, Stephen Hawking has been concerned about the lack of funding and mismanagement of funding for scientific research and education in the UK. When he was offered a knighthood, he turned it down on principle.

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6. He never gives up

“It is no good getting furious if you get stuck. What I do is keep thinking about the problem but work on something else. Sometimes it is years before I see the way forward. In the case of information loss and black holes, it was 29 years.” – Stephen Hawking

Just a few months ago, Stephen Hawking released a new study on the nature of black holes which has puzzled scientists since the early 20th century. He is determined not to give up in spite of criticism and controversy. This will not stop him and it is an inspiration for everyone striving for success.

7. He values time as a precious resource

“I have so much that I want to do. I hate wasting time.” – Stephen Hawking

Stephen Hawking is famous for his research on the definition and nature of time and how time began. He concludes his study on time by remarking that it will be impossible to turn back the clock. The message is clear that we can make money but never get back our time, so we should use it wisely.

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8. He shares his knowledge

“I hope I have helped to raise the profile of science and to show that physics is not a mystery but can be understood by ordinary people.” – Stephen Hawking

Hawking firmly believes that knowledge is to be shared. His ambition was that his books would be widely read and that they would be available at airport bookstalls. That wish has certainly come true as witnessed by the enormous success of his books. The credit is all due to him because he has succeeded in making astrophysics and artificial intelligence accessible to everyone, not just for intellectuals and scientists. He always tells the story that his publisher warned him that equations and formulae in his books would put people off and that his readership would be reduced by 50% for every equation in the book. That is why there is only one, E = mc², in A Brief History of Time. But one equation did not stop 10 million people from buying it! There is a lesson there for all of us. If we do not share our knowledge by communicating it clearly and effectively, we are losing a golden opportunity. What have you admired most about Stephen Hawking? Let us know in the comments.

Featured photo credit: Hawking – Egy zseni élete / Lwp Kommunikáció via flickr.com

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Robert Locke

Author of Ziger the Tiger Stories, a health enthusiast specializing in relationships, life improvement and mental health.

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Last Updated on December 3, 2019

10 Life Lessons You’d Better Learn Early on in Life

10 Life Lessons You’d Better Learn Early on in Life

There are so many lessons I wish I had learned while I was young enough to appreciate and apply them. The thing with wisdom, and often with life lessons in general, is that they’re learned in retrospect, long after we needed them. The good news is that other people can benefit from our experiences and the lessons we’ve learned.

Here’re 10 important life lessons you should learn early on:

1. Money Will Never Solve Your Real Problems

Money is a tool; a commodity that buys you necessities and some nice “wants,” but it is not the panacea to your problems.

There are a great many people who are living on very little, yet have wonderfully full and happy lives… and there are sadly a great many people are living on quite a lot, yet have terribly miserable lives.

Money can buy a nice home, a great car, fabulous shoes, even a bit of security and some creature comforts, but it cannot fix a broken relationship, or cure loneliness, and the “happiness” it brings is only fleeting and not the kind that really and truly matters. Happiness is not for sale. If you’re expecting the “stuff” you can buy to “make it better,” you will never be happy.

2. Pace Yourself

Often when we’re young, just beginning our adult journey we feel as though we have to do everything at once. We need to decide everything, plan out our lives, experience everything, get to the top, find true love, figure out our life’s purpose, and do it all at the same time.

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Slow down—don’t rush into things. Let your life unfold. Wait a bit to see where it takes you, and take time to weigh your options. Enjoy every bite of food, take time to look around you, let the other person finish their side of the conversation. Allow yourself time to think, to mull a bit.

Taking action is critical. Working towards your goals and making plans for the future is commendable and often very useful, but rushing full-speed ahead towards anything is a one-way ticket to burnout and a good way to miss your life as it passes you by.

3. You Can’t Please Everyone

“I don’t know the secret to success, but the secret to failure is trying to please everyone” – Bill Cosby.

You don’t need everyone to agree with you or even like you. It’s human nature to want to belong, to be liked, respected and valued, but not at the expense of your integrity and happiness. Other people cannot give you the validation you seek. That has to come from inside.

Speak up, stick to your guns, assert yourself when you need to, demand respect, stay true to your values.

4. Your Health Is Your Most Valuable Asset

Health is an invaluable treasure—always appreciate, nurture, and protect it. Good health is often wasted on the young before they have a chance to appreciate it for what it’s worth.

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We tend to take our good health for granted, because it’s just there. We don’t have to worry about it, so we don’t really pay attention to it… until we have to.

Heart disease, bone density, stroke, many cancers—the list of many largely preventable diseases is long, so take care of your health now, or you’ll regret it later on.

5. You Don’t Always Get What You Want

“Life is what happens while you’re busy making other plans.” – John Lennon

No matter how carefully you plan and how hard you work, sometimes things just don’t work out the way you want them to… and that’s okay.

We have all of these expectations; predetermined visions of what our “ideal” life will look like, but all too often, that’s not the reality of the life we end up with. Sometimes our dreams fail and sometimes we just change our minds mid-course. Sometimes we have to flop to find the right course and sometimes we just have to try a few things before we find the right direction.

6. It’s Not All About You

You are not the epicenter of the universe. It’s very difficult to view the world from a perspective outside of your own, since we are always so focused on what’s happening in our own lives. What do I have to do today? What will this mean for me, for my career, for my life? What do I want?

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It’s normal to be intensely aware of everything that’s going on in your own life, but you need to pay as much attention to what’s happening around you, and how things affect other people in the world as you do to your own life. It helps to keep things in perspective.

7. There’s No Shame in Not Knowing

No one has it all figured out. Nobody has all the answers. There’s no shame in saying “I don’t know.” Pretending to be perfect doesn’t make you perfect. It just makes you neurotic to keep up the pretense of manufactured perfection.

We have this idea that there is some kind of stigma or shame in admitting our limitations or uncertainly, but we can’t possibly know everything. We all make mistakes and mess up occasionally. We learn as we go, that’s life.

Besides—nobody likes a know-it-all. A little vulnerability makes you human and oh so much more relatable.

8. Love Is More Than a Feeling; It’s a Choice

That burst of initial exhilaration, pulse quickening love and passion does not last long. But that doesn’t mean long-lasting love is not possible.

Love is not just a feeling; it’s a choice that you make every day. We have to choose to let annoyances pass, to forgive, to be kind, to respect, to support, to be faithful.

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Relationships take work. Sometimes it’s easy and sometimes it’s incredibly hard. It is up to us to choose how we want to act, think and speak in a relationship.

9. Perspective Is a Beautiful Thing

Typically, when we’re worried or upset, it’s because we’ve lost perspective. Everything that is happening in our lives seems so big, so important, so do or die, but in the grand picture, this single hiccup often means next to nothing.

The fight we’re having, the job we didn’t get, the real or imagined slight, the unexpected need to shift course, the thing we wanted, but didn’t get. Most of it won’t matter 20, 30, 40 years from now. It’s hard to see long term when all you know is short term, but unless it’s life-threatening, let it go, and move on.

10. Don’t Take Anything for Granted

We often don’t appreciate what we have until it’s gone: that includes your health, your family and friends, your job, the money you have or think you will have tomorrow.

When you’re young, it seems that your parents will always be there, but they won’t. You think you have plenty of time to get back in touch with your old friends or spend time with new ones, but you don’t. You have the money to spend, or you think you’ll have it next month, but you might not.

Nothing in your life is not guaranteed to be there tomorrow, including those you love.

This is a hard life lesson to learn, but it may be the most important of all: Life can change in an instant. Make sure you appreciate what you have, while you still have it.

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Featured photo credit: Ben Eaton via unsplash.com

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