We’ve just lost one of the most influential leaders of our age. Stephen Hawking was not just a brilliant scientist, but he changed the way we think…
I read a lot in bed. Sometimes my wife asks me to read out loud to her––mostly to help her fall asleep! One evening I was reading “A Brief History of Time” when she asked me to read to her. I said I doubted very much that she’d enjoy it––she’s not much of a science geek––I am!
After only a couple of paragraphs she asked, “How can you read that? It’s so boring!”
“Do you understand any of it?” she asked. “Not much,” I had to admit, “But I find it very interesting!”
I have to admit that I have only a rudimentary layman’s understanding of Hawking’s scientific ideas. That’s not what made him important to me.
What I most admire about Hawking was his courage and determination. Faced with his horribly crippling disease, he could have given up long ago––and nobody would have blamed him.
Read about his life and you’ll see that he had his moments of fatalism and doubt. Still, he somehow kept going––and in so doing enriched humanity for generations to come.
We all face challenges from time to time, it’s part of the bargain. In these moments, the average person will focus on what he doesn’t have and what he can’t do.
The leader will focus on what he does have and what he can do. Constraints become springboards for innovation. Limitations are opportunities to demonstrate excellence.
Stephen Hawking embodied that spirit, and expressed it magnificently despite the limitations of his own physical body.
That’s what made him a genuine leader, and to me––a hero.