What is the nature of time?
Does time have a beginning and an end?
How big is the universe?
Where did the universe come from?
Did it have a beginning?
If yes, what existed before the universe?
These questions might not seem very out of the ordinary to us, but Stephen Hawking spent his entire life trying to answer these mind-boggling mysteries. Hawking was an English theoretical physicist and cosmologist. A rare form of motor neurone disease (or ALS) gradually paralysed him over the years.
On 14 March 2018, at the age of 76, the world lost a gem.
Throughout his lifetime, despite the illness, Hawking made numerous breakthroughs in the field of science, has written a book, and even had an Oscar-winning movie made to his credit. Not only that, but Hawking also inspired thousands of people around the world, showing them the true ‘Art of living’. Lessons from his life teach us about the simplest in things that matter the most – Happiness, knowledge, dreams, empathy.
1. ASK MORE QUESTIONS
“I am just a child who has never grown up. I keep asking these ‘how’ and ‘why’ questions. Occasionally, I find an answer.”
Hawking believed one shouldn’t shy away from asking questions. Be courageous enough to dig deeper and get a better understanding of things around you. You might not always end up getting the answer you expect or want, but that shouldn’t hold you back from questioning everything.
Be curious at all times. Let the child in you stay alive. Ask, and might just receive!
In a work setting, when you face a situation that you are not very clear about, be it the project at hand or what is expected of you. what would you instinctively do? To tackle such a situation, you must feel free to talk to your mentor/boss/colleagues and ask them questions that will give you a better understanding of the project. It comes off as somebody ‘Eager to learn’.
2. DON’T GIVE UP
“However difficult life may seem, there is always something you can do and succeed at. It matters that you don’t just give up.”
Life brings with itself, struggles, difficult choices, do-or-die situations, and much more. Take a leap of faith. Work hard. Introspect. Do everything it takes to succeed; but keep the golden words in mind ‘Never give up’. Even through his degenerative disease, Hawking accomplished so much.
When the going gets tough, focus on finding that solution rather than capitulating.
Deadlines may seem too short, co-workers may be uncooperative, or your boss might be too tough on you. What you need to keep in mind is that there is always a way to ‘Solve every problem’. Take a break if you have to, walk away for a while and take a stroll if you must. Cry over spilled coffee, but – Come back with a bang!
3. ALWAYS BE DETERMINED TO ACHIEVE MORE
“If I had to choose a superhero to be, I would pick Superman. He’s everything that I’m not.”
Hawking was brilliant and successful. But just like everyone else, he had dreams too. He longed to do things that he might’ve never been able to do. But dreams are what add meaning to our life.
Without dreams, we are merely surviving. With dreams, we are alive. Dare to fight for you aspire.
At the end of the day, we are all humans, and there is only so much we can do that our minds and bodies will allow us. Set goals for yourself and your team. Plan better and aim to achieve them. But don’t stop at just that. Live the philosophy of ‘Aim higher, seek more, always’. This is the only way forward.
4. BE YOUR OWN MOTIVATOR
“When one’s expectations are reduced to zero, one really appreciates everything one does have.”
You do not need to be a billionaire, a superhuman or have an IQ of 200 to be successful. Reaching your goals and beyond requires hard work, but more importantly it requires you to have the will and motivation to achieve them.
Focus on the resources at hand. Appreciate what you have and work with it. Make every little feat count.
As a manager, you may be worried that you did not achieve your yearly target. Instead of letting this bring you down, let this be a motivator for your team and you. Change you strategy, make your team realize its true potential, inculcate a ‘go-getter’ attitude.
5. DON’T TAKE LIFE TOO SERIOUSLY
“Keeping an active mind has been vital to my survival, as has been maintaining a sense of humor.”
For Hawking, comedy and intelligence went hand in hand. His cameo in ‘The Simpsons’ and his comment about Eddie Redmayne not inheriting his good looks are classic examples. Just like having a good job, a supportive family, a healthy lifestyle, etc. are important , it is also necessary that you realize – ‘There is more to life’.
Having a bad day? Good! Work on it. Randomly eat an ice-cream. Smile more often.
So what if your boss gave you a earful of don’ts? So what if you marked the wrong client on the wrong email? That definitely cannot be the end of the world. Next day, go to office, own up to your mistakes and give it your best. ‘Never stop learning’ Hawking’s willing and unexpected appearance is definitely an eye-opener. For a young, impressionable kid unsure about how people should react around him, he gave everybody the benefit of doubt and an ample amount of time to ‘Get over it’.
Let us remember him for being a true fighter. A leader who led by example. A maverick who dared to make a difference.
RIP Stephen William Hawking!