What can we learn from Stephen Hawking?


You’ll be hard-pressed to find anyone who isn’t at least remotely aware of who Professor Stephen Hawking is. It isn’t just because his work continues to be groundbreaking after his passing, or the worldwide fascination in his scientific theories – it’s also the incredible events of his life that’s a testament to the potential of human willpower.

Beyond the shadow of a doubt, Stephen Hawking was an inspired individual, and it’s a shame how so few people take heed from the life lessons he has given us. While his scientific work might not necessarily resonate with everyone, he was a very grounded man with a lot to teach about life even after his passing. Here are just a few life lessons that we can learn from Professor Hawking.

It isn’t over until it’s over

Hope for the future isn’t a thing that Stephen Hawking had in spades when he was diagnosed with a motor neuron disease at the age of 21. He had his whole life ahead of him, and things were looking great until the diagnosis. It got even worse when they told him that he likely had only two years left to live. Stephen Hawking himself said that his expectations were reduced to zero when he was diagnosed, and he treated every day after as a bonus.

Despite being given two years to live, Stephen Hawking lived until the ripe old age of 76. He didn’t take a single day for granted, and he always lived as though every day could be his last, which wasn’t that far-fetched! He could have given up, but he kept fighting. While it might feel like things were caving in on him, there was always hope no matter the situation.

Uncertainty can be a good thing

Stephen Hawking once said that intelligence is the ability to adapt to change. Considering that he was spending every single day of his life wondering if it was his last, his words carry plenty of weight. Uncertainty can be terrifying, and it can keep you down if you let it. Stephen Hawking embraced uncertainty like a good friend, using it as fuel to remain inspired even during the darkest moments of his life. It might not necessarily be ideal, but life is rarely predictable. Embracing uncertainty will help keep things in perspective, and it’ll prepare you for the worst – and best – events of your life.

Don’t take life too seriously

Perhaps one of the most famous quotes floating around is that laughter is the best medicine. Stephen Hawking was an avid believer in the power of humor, especially when met with so much trauma throughout his life. It’s common among philosophers, Hawking included, to spice up trauma with humor. Just like how it’s never a bad idea to hold onto hope and embrace uncertainty, not taking life too seriously is an excellent coping mechanism. Not only does it help soften some of the blows you receive in life, but it also helps you find the silver lining.

Stephen Hawking was one of a kind and an individual who will continue to inspire long after his passing. While he was undoubtedly unique among his peers, one of the reasons he was so special was because of how relatable his life could be.