Inspirational Life Lessons From Professor Stephen Hawking?

This past month the world lost one of its brightest stars when on 14th March Professor Stephen Hawking died. Widely regarded as one of the smartest people on the planet
20 Apr 2018 14:54
Inspirational Life Lessons From Professor Stephen Hawking?
Mark Wager

This past month the world lost one of its brightest stars when on 14th March Professor Stephen Hawking died. Widely regarded as one of the smartest people on the planet Stephen Hawking changed the way we looked at the universe.

Through his many scientific works, many theories on physics and cosmology have had to be rewritten due to the discoveries made by Stephen Hawking, in particular his work on Black holes. He was also remembered for making complex scientific theories accessible to the general public especially with the release of his best selling book, “ A Brief History of Time.”

Yet the most remarkable aspect of Stephen Hawkings achievements is that all his success occurred after he was diagnosed with a terminal disease. When everyone thought his life would end instead it began.

In 1962 when Stephen Hawking was only twenty years old he was diagnosed with motor neuron disease, he was told that his body would gradually shut down and he would lose all functions and within a few years he would be dead.

Can you imagine hearing such horrendous news, it would be understandable to feel that you just want to give up yet Stephen Hawking didn’t do that instead he fought the disease and lived another 56 years and during that time he changed the world. When he did pass away he left behind him many lessons that all of us can learn from.

Lesson One: Turn whatever is bad in your life into something good

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

Due to his motor neuron disease Stephen Hawking lost the ability to walk and the ability to talk eventually only being able to communicate via a speech generating device that he controlled by using a single cheek muscle.

Not only did this not stop his work but he actually attributes his terminal disease as the reason behind his success. With the belief that his time left on this Earth was very limited, he focussed all his energies on his work and his research as a physicist. A situation that many people would justifiably see as a negative he instead saw as a positive and this became a motivating factor behind his success.

Lesson Two: Keep your 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

If you are British one of the greatest recognitions you can receive is a knighthood. Many people spend their whole life in the pursuit of such an honour yet when the news came that Stephen Hawking would be knighted he actually turned down the honour.

He was a keen supporter of bringing more science into schools and when the government reduced the funding for such studies he felt it would be against his principles to accept such an award so he declined the knighthood because his principles were more important to him than any knighthood.

Lesson Three: Never stop learning

“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

I can honestly say as someone who has spent a lot of time working alongside and coaching many successful people that I’ve never met a successful person who wasn’t also a keen learner. It’s simple that success is knowledge and you can’t be successful without a commitment to learning. During his life Stephen Hawking never lost his curiosity, his desire to learn and his passion to share his knowledge.

This was the main reason why in 1988 he wrote “A Brief History of Time” written in a non-technical language in order for an average reader to understand more about the universe.

The Brief History of Time sold over 10 million copies and was on the Sunday Times best sellers list for a record breaking 237 weeks.

Lesson Four: Don’t aim for perfection instead aim to achieve the impossible

“One of the basic rules of the universe is that nothing is perfect. Perfection simply doesn’t exist…without imperfection neither you nor I would exist” – Stephen Hawking

One of the most valuable life lessons that Stephen Hawking left us with is that he never let his imperfections stop him from reaching accomplishments that many others would have believed was impossible.

A person who was told he only had a few years left, instead lived for another 56 years.

A person who lost the use of his body still managed to write a best selling book.

Too often we allow our imperfections to prevent us from living a wonderful life yet the truth is the opposite.

Its actually our imperfections that define us, it’s within our imperfections that lies the motivation to live a kind of life that others may deem impossible.


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