Updated: Aug 17
Earlier this week, I was at dinner with a colleague engaged in a very lively and intellectual discussion well into the evening. We both intentionally left our phones off the table so as to make a solid effort to give our full attention to the conversation- something that doesn’t happen often these days and something I, like my colleague, am trying to be better at. I came back to my hotel room and quickly glanced at Snapchat of all places where I saw a story for “Remembering Stephen Hawking.” He died? When? How did I miss this? As it turns out, major news outlets sent out alerts that evening while we were on a technology break.
I’ve thought a lot about Stephen Hawking over the years as my exposure to ALS has come as close as good friends. I thought about him as I watched others fight losing battles with such a horrific disease and marveled at the miracle that he was still alive. In this moment as I processed the loss of such an important figure in modern history, I immediately thought of how impossible his life was and then I followed that thought with a question: Why should I fear the impossible? What happens when you beat the odds? By half a century! Read more here about his life.
So what happens when we pass the deadline, the barrier, the glass ceiling, [insert your obstacle here]? What is waiting for us on the other side? I think Stephen Hawking would want us to have faith that it could be something great. After his initial bleak prognosis, he went on to conduct ground breaking research and publish the widely popular “A Brief History of Time”. He continued to be employed and he was a father to four children. He lived for 55 more years. Passing at 76, one could say he lived a pretty full life.
As we reflect on our own impossible thoughts or seemingly unachievable goals, we should remember that it might not really be impossible. How often do you take the blind leap into the unknown? You might remember our clip of Will Smith from last year discussing what we find on the other side of our fear. Watch here if you haven’t seen it already. Stephen and his legacy reiterate the importance of believing the impossible and jumping in head first. So what are you waiting for?