Few scientists of the modern-age have managed to capture the imagination of millions or become as well-known as English theoretical physicist and author Stephen Hawking. His 1988 book A Brief History of Time has been translated into more than 35 languages and sold more than 10 million copies across the world. In a career spanning more than five decades, Hawking has been recognised multiple times as one of the brightest and best minds of our time, despite a debilitating ALS condition that has left him almost completely paralysed.
Stephen Hawking’s astonishing life story (captured beautifully in the 2014 movie The Theory of Everything) is an inspiration for anyone looking for an example worth emulating. His perseverance, dedication, and belief in his own capabilities and the future of the human race continue to inspire generations. On his 76th birthday, we look at some of his most inspirational quotes:
Never give up, no matter the circumstances
Hawking’s struggles with his condition are well-known and well-documented, but he has never let his disability stop him from working hard toward his dreams. His dedication and perseverance in his life’s work teach us all about the importance of sticking to one’s convictions and working to achieve them, even if the odds are stacked against us.
“Work gives you meaning and purpose and life is empty without it.”
“It is a waste of time to be angry about my disability. One has to get on with life and I haven't done badly. People won't have time for you if you are always angry or complaining.”
“I believe things cannot make themselves impossible.”
Constantly aim to learn more
Even at the age of 76, Hawking continues to search for new answers and solutions. His enthusiasm has not dampened even a bit – an important lesson for anybody building a career. There is always more to learn, and for those who truly seek to be the best, there is no such thing as enough knowledge.
“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.”
“In my opinion, there is no aspect of reality beyond the reach of the human mind.”
“We should seek the greatest value of our action.”
Be thankful for what you have
In the face of difficulties and challenges, it is all-too-easy to get caught up in worrying about the future and forget about the gifts one already has. Hawking is well-known for his humorous approach to his disability, choosing instead to focus on the positive aspects of his life. It’s a lesson worth remembering – keep perspective of the things you already have, rather than focusing on the problems and stuff missing from your life.
“Life would be tragic if it weren't funny.”
“When one’s expectations are reduced to zero, one really appreciates everything one does have.”
“I believe everyone should have a broad picture of how the universe operates and our place in it. It is a basic human desire. And it also puts our worries in perspective.”
Strive for a better future, for all
Hawking has consistently expressed his belief in an equal future for all humanity, irrelevant of class, gender, or backgrounds. In a world where questions of diversity and inclusion are increasingly taking centre stage, his words are more relevant than ever. As businesspersons and entrepreneurs, it is our duty to recognise the equality of all people and treat them accordingly.
“Mankind's greatest achievements have come about by talking, and its greatest failures by not talking.”
“We are all different. There is no such thing as a standard or run-of-the-mill human being, but we share the same human spirit.”
“It's time to commit to finding the answer, to search for life beyond Earth. Mankind has a deep need to explore, to learn, to know. We also happen to be sociable creatures. It is important for us to know if we are alone in the dark.”
What are your favourite thoughts by Stephen Hawking? Let us know in the comments!