The renowned physicist Stephen Hawking passed away today at the remarkable age of 76.
That he lived this long is what some would call a miracle.
To me, it under scores the importance of clarity of purpose and stoutness of spirit.
For those of you who don’t know, Stephen Hawking was not supposed to out live the age of 23. He was diagnosed with ALS when he was 21 and given two years to live. He had just started his Ph.D. and was in the early steps of his pursuit of a Theory of Everything, a mathematical formula that could explain everything in the known universe.
He was brilliant of mind, and singular of purpose, and he outlived all possible predictions of his mortality.
What, you might ask, does this have to do with you?
Allow me to answer your question with a question.
How much doubt do you face as you consider pursuing your dreams? How often does this doubt stop you in your tracks?
How much work could you have gotten done already if you had dismissed those doubts out of hand and worked with a singularity of purpose towards making those dreams a reality?
This is what Stephen Hawking has to do with you.
Upon learning that his body was betraying him and would only carry his consciousness for another two years at best, Stephen did not descend into despair, give in to bitterness or cease his pursuit of his dream.
He, instead, got right to work.
He had no time for doubt, or despair. Every moment he had left was to be devoted to his goal. He had a deep awareness of his sense of purpose, and a drive to achieve that surpassed everything.
It even defied the odds of mortality.
That he lived a further 58 years to pursue his purpose and enrich the world with what many would call his genius could be considered miraculous.
He overcame grim odds, dedicated himself to his purpose and never relented. Despite adversity, a mutinous body and what I am sure what a great deal of critical derision, he maintained his course and lived to pursue his work longer than anyone could have dreamed was possible.
Dedication to your dream is important.
A sense of humour even more so.
An understanding that showing up to the work everyday is not for the faint of heart, and a determination to show up anyhow.
I am sure he would not call this courage. I am certain that his dedication and discipline was simply a matter of fact, no other reality was possible in his mind. He could make no other choice.
I invite you to be so rigorous, determined and dedicated to the work of your life. Back down to no one. Let even death stare you in the face and not deter you from your dreams.
He was a hero.
You are a hero.
His journey has ended.
Yours will too.
Walk the path while it is still under your feet.
The world needs your genius just as it needed his.
RIP Stephen. Rest among the stars.