“It matters if you just don’t give up.” – Stephen Hawking
“I understand you need more help. And if there is – someone – who is prepared to offer it – I won’t object, as long – as long as you continue to love me. -Stephen to Jane Hawking, A Theory of Everything
“There should be no boundaries to human endeavor. We are all different. However bad life may seem, there is always something you can do, and succeed at. While there’s life, there is hope.” -Stephen Hawking
While growing up, I had heard the name “Stephen Hawking” thrown around in the media and conversation several times. I didn’t know who Stephen Hawking was or why he was famous. Recently, I did see Stephen Hawking in several TV commercials. I also viewed the movie based on his adult life called “The Theory of Everything”
In summary, Stephen Hawking is one of the most influential and famous scientists of the 20th century. Hawking began his journey as a Theoretical Physics student at the University of Cambridge in the 1960s. He wanted to find out the meaning of life and how it came to be. Through his college experience, he began working on his PhD thesis. Hawking barely studied since he was so brilliant. During his tenure at Cambridge, he caught the attention of Jane Wilde and they fell in love. Everything seemed to be going well. However, Hawking’s story takes a wild turn from here. At age 21 and admisdt his fisrt breakthrough, Hawking gets diagnosed with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (Lou Gherig’s Disease). Ultimately, Stephen loses the ability to manually move his muscles and quickly becomes paralyzed and dependent on Jane and others.
The inspiring part is that Hawking’s story only begins there. Stephen continues his work and studies at Cambridge gaining his doctorate in Theoretical Physics. He writes many books and makes several breakthroughs in the field. Hawking becomes world famous. He marries Jane Wilde and they stay married for 30 years and even raise 3 children. At this time, Hawking is in his 70s when Drs. told him he wouldn’t survive 2 years at 21. How did he overcome these massive odds and become one of the most recognizable scientists in the world? I have a few ideas you can use yourself:
Stay Positive: Throughout the movie, we see Hawking go through many physical and emotional struggles/ stages in his life. When Stephen gets his diagnosis, he shuts himself away from others and becomes depressed. He quickly realizes that choosing a negative attitude wasn’t helping his situation. He gets hospitalized several times and even goes into a coma for a short period. Despite these challenges, Hawking stays positive. He jokes and has fun with his children quite often. He travels the world and enjoys the many wonders it offers. A positive attitude can change an unbearable and desperate situation into something hopeful!
Ask For Help. One scene in “The Theory of Everything” portrays Hawking in bed about to go to sleep with Jane. He says quietly “I would understand you need more help. And if there is – someone – who is prepared to offer it – I won’t object, as long – as long as you continue to love me.” Jane responds with “Of course. For infinity.” At this time, Hawking was becoming one of the most known scientists of his time. He has written several publicized works and gained some sense of fame. It would have been easy for him to have an inflated ego. It would have been easy for him to have confidence in his abilitie and figure everything in his life was working. However, he was still realistic and humble in his nature. he understood that he could not do it all alone. He knew that everyone, especially him, needed others to survive and to move forward in life. He decided to be vulnerable and honest to his wife Jane. She happily accepts the offer and they recruit help.
Do What you Can. Life is unfair. It can be cruel to many people. It can take away much more than give back. But, we are strong as individuals and as people. For those who lose much, they focus on what they can do over what life has stolen from them. Hawking may have lost his movement and muscles, but not his mind and ability to love what he did. Stephen continued to explore his theory and cosmetology as a whole. He studied and wrote. He spent time with his family and the people he was closest with. He focused on what made him special and didn’t allow his debilitating and progressive disease to stop him.
All in all, I encourage you to live like Stephen Hawking. When life throws you curveballs, stay positive, ask for help, and do what you can. As Always, Eat, Move, and Improve!