There’s no way you haven’t heard about one of the greatest minds of all time, Stephen Hawking.
When Stephen was 21, he started developing symptoms of myotrphic lateral sclerosis, or ALS, a disease that, at that time, doctors thought it would end his life in two and a half years.
Now at the age of 74, Stephen is a huge inspiration for people with disabilities, as he continues to research, teach, and provide immense wisdom to the rest of the world.
Hawking says that after he was diagnosed he had absolutely no expectations for life, but he didn’t let that stop him from doing his best to live life to the fullest. Now he has 12 honorary degrees, and has sealed his name as one of the greatest minds of all time.
In London at the Royal Institute, Hawking addressed to depression through his lecture on the black hole. He stated:
“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.”
When he was asked about his disabilities and the effect they have on his outlook on life, he said:
“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 would further this sentiment with a spine-chilling message for those with disabilities:
“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.”
Watch the entire video of Stephen Hawking’s lecture on how to escape a black hole and remember, “while there’s life, there’s hope.”