The brilliant physicist knows what it’s like to endure depression, and has some wise words to help the saddest among us get through.
Stephen Hawking, one of the greatest minds of our time, developed symptoms of ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis) at the age of 21. Just as his career was beginning to take off, his body began to fail him. If anyone knows about dealing with unfortunate circumstances in life, it’s probably him.
Though the illness crippled his body, Hawking’s sharp mind did not allow him to wallow in negativity. In fact, he dedicated himself to the field of theoretical physics with even more ardor.
Although doctors gave him roughly two to three years to live, Hawking chose to make the best of his situation and is now recognized worldwide for the answers he has unearthed concerning the universe, the Big Bang, creation and scientific theories, as Power of Positivity relays.
Of course, Hawking did endure bad times coping with his condition, but he knows that there is much to be grateful for in this life. He shared as much at a recent lecture which took place at the Royal Institute in London.
Bound to a wheelchair, Hawking cannot speak or move. However, he has found a way to communicate through technology, and compared black holes to depression, making it clear that neither are impossible to escape.
“The message of this lecture is that black holes ain’t as black as they are painted. They are not the eternal prisons they were once thought. Things can get out of a black hole both on the outside and possibly to another universe. So if you feel you are in a black hole, don’t give up; there’s a way out.
Remember to look up at the stars and not down at your feet. Never give up work. Work gives you meaning and purpose and life is empty without it. If you are lucky enough to find love, remember it is there and don’t throw it away.”
When he was asked about his disabilities, Hawking had this to say:
“The victim should have the right to end his life, if he wants. But I think it would be a great mistake. However bad life may seem, there is always something you can do, and succeed at. While there’s life, there is hope.”
He continues with an inspiring message:
“If you are disabled, it is probably not your fault, but it is no good blaming the world or expecting it to take pity on you. One has to have a positive attitude and must make the best of the situation that one finds oneself in; if one is physically disabled, one cannot afford to be psychologically disabled as well. In my opinion, one should concentrate on activities in which one’s physical disability will not present a serious handicap. I am afraid that Olympic Games for the disabled do not appeal to me, but it is easy for me to say that because I never liked athletics anyway. On the other hand, science is a very good area for disabled people because it goes on mainly in the mind. Of course, most kinds of experimental work are probably ruled out for most such people, but theoretical work is almost ideal.
My disabilities have not been a significant handicap in my field, which is theoretical physics. Indeed, they have helped me in a way by shielding me from lecturing and administrative work that I would otherwise have been involved in. I have managed, however, only because of the large amount of help I have received from my wife, children, colleagues and students. I find that people in general are very ready to help, but you should encourage them to feel that their efforts to aid you are worthwhile by doing as well as you possibly can.”
Though life may hand you some sour lemons, undoubtedly, there are ways they can be put to use.
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