Stephen Hawking: 8th Jan 1942 – 14th March 2018

I ain't beaten yet wop logo 3In my career I’ve met a lot of achievers, both famous and not so famous and I loved collecting their stories. One thing they all had in common was an absolute blind refusal to give up when the load became too heavy.

The ability to pick oneself off the ground…(yet again!) and dust off the seat of our pants is in all of us. If you are experiencing tough times this little series of stories is for you. For some folk, who seem to have been handed it all on a plate, their stories will surprise you!



WHO? : Stephen Hawking

IS? : Professor, Physicist

SAID? : ‘I have had motor neurone disease for practically all my adult life. Yet it has not prevented me from having a very attractive family, and being successful in my work.  I have been lucky…it shows that one need not lose hope.’

Stephen Hawking is one of the most famous physicists on the world. In fact I would go as far as saying that he is the only one most of us could identify by name. He is a great candidate for the ‘Grrr! I Ain’t Beaten Yet’ trophy because he has not just lived with motor neurone disease he has positively ‘cocked a snook’ at it! (An english term for the 1 fingered salute!)


From Clumsy…

When Hawking was young he enjoyed the freedom and exuberance of any young boy. He admits to being clumsy but there were no other signs of what was to come. It was whilst he was at hawking 1university and he began to topple over unexpectedly every now and then that his father took him to get a check up.
…To A few Years To live

He describes an exploratory search while he was in hospital that did not immediately provide definite answers but the grey area that it did provide was not promising. He knew that he had an incurable disease and he was given no more than a couple of years to live.


Life Lived In The Present

He was ultimately left in limbo as he did not know how long he had to live and initially wondered about the point of getting deeply involved in his research projects. Fortunately for him this turned into a renewed appreciation for life lived in the present because that was all he was guaranteed. Of course that is the same for all of us, it’s just that most of us don’t appreciate that fact.


One Step In Front Of The Other

He started ‘brick building’ his life one piece at a time. He got married, which meant that he had a new focus other than himself and a responsibility to provide for his family and so decided to get a job. hawking 2He applied for a fellowship at a college in Cambridge and was not only accepted, but as the years went by he found that as his value to the college increased, they were more than willing to accommodate his increasing disabilities and adapt the post to suit him.


The Famous Synthetic Voice

With the help of his wife, various live-in students and the occasional nurse, they managed for many years, but in 1985, following a trip to Geneva, Hawking contracted pneumonia which was an enormous life threatening strain on his already compromised respiratory system. As a result he lost his faltering ability to speak and his voice was replaced by the American accented voice machine made famous by Hawking today.

The process of communicating with this voice synthesizer is arduous and long and on television much editing is done to make Hawking’s answers appear fluent, but it has not stopped him writing best selling books and and giving speeches all over the world.


Grrr! Why YOU ain’t beat yet!

You are not beaten because of that old story of the poor, homeless bloke wondering the streets begging for food and handouts with no shoes and feeling very sorry for himself… until he met someone with no feet.
hawking3While Hawking was in hospital, as the doctors tried to ascertain what was wrong with him, he had watched a young boy die of leukaemia. In his words, “Clearly there were people who were worse off than me.”

Whenever he would feel sorry for himself he would remember how physically sick the boy had been and how he had suffered before he eventually died.

The great thing is noting how Hawking is able to talk about these knock out blows in his life as though he were discussing doing the gardening. It shows where he chose to place his focus. The emphasis was placed on what he wanted NOT what he had lost which explains why he has achieved so much.

Self pity my friends, not only takes up good living time but it saps energy that you could be putting to plenty good use.


Like Hawking do you need to resolve today to change your focus to what you want and where you want to get to and NOT the difficulties in getting there? Let me know below!

(Originally written before Stephen Hawkings death.)

64 thoughts on “Stephen Hawking: 8th Jan 1942 – 14th March 2018

  1. What a wonderfully inspiring story! Now, of course I’ve heard of Hawkin, and seen and heard him on TV, but it’s great to know of his beginnings. Now, I have absolutely no excuse for not living to the fullest! 🙂

  2. Great article on a great man. Did you actually meet him? The question at the end definitely leaves me something to ponder.

    1. Hallo Godless – you heathen you! Loooove the arguments on your page. It shows we humans never change, we always think we are right and how potent a tool religion is. Still love it though! More! 🙂

      1. Thanks so much for the kind comment. My main goal is to create a friendly place where theists and atheists can hang and debate one another…or discuss…whatever the case. I just try to mix up the content a bit so the atmosphere doesn’t get too heavy.

        I’m super glad you like what you see. Your blog is fantastic!

  3. Its a wonderful story, one which I knew…more or less, but your inimitable style of narration makes it so refreshing! To take a slightly different angle..I always feel that the concept of success is very relative..I may feel I am a failure, while many people might consider me a success story. I still remember that year in college, when I got such low marks that I was literally in tears(Yeah i know..difficult to imagine me in tears 😀 ), but another guy in college was absolutely overjoyed and his family was celebrating, even though his marks were lower than mine…because he just wanted to pass( i believe he was the first guy in his family who went to college)! That was no consolation to me, but even in my sorrow, the tragi-comedy of the situation was not lost on me! 🙂

    1. Dear Sayantan, (yeah I know EVERYTHING about you!) 😀
      I think we have all been there, but like I said to a sister from your part of the world, it’s about being the best Sayantan (tee hee!) you can be, as Stephen Hawking is the best Stephen Hawking HE can be…at least to us he is, probably not to him!
      When you can do this and push yourself to your absolute limit in whatever you are pursuing, you know in your heart you are not cheating yourself whatever anyone else is doing or achieving.

      1. OMG!! Have you asked James Bond to spy on me???( to imagine such an attention seeking spy) 😛
        Its really so much fun conversing/debating with you!! 😀 To respond to your point, you know that I know( and believe) that, but still had to say that! 😛

  4. Wonderful biographical piece. I enjoyed your appraisal… and the questions at the end. For once, I didn’t have to think over Robin Williams doing his bit on Hawking… and wow. What a cool guy. Thanks for a nice, Friday morning read.

  5. I was sitting here trying to work and I had a fly buzzing around my head driving me NUTS. Like, completely irrational, full-blown “I’m going to throw something” nuts. (It’s still there…) Little irritations can be so annoying. And then I read this… 😉 Eh – irritation, schmirritation. My first world problems have been jerked back into perspective, as should they be!

    Excellent post, EJ. Thanks as always for your great work. I have been a bit cheeky and lighthearted about it all, but honestly – what an inspiration!

    1. He he! I hope Freddy Fly (for that is his name forthwith!) will notify his cousins that I just saved his little buzzing self and cut ME a break this summer!

      And yes he certainly is a reminder of the power within us. (Mr Hawking not Freddy!) – Urghh! I hate sounding all ‘motivational coachy’ but it’s true! 🙂

      1. I can’t tell you how many lines are in my recycle bin out of exactly the same “motivational coachy/life guru” fears – ha! However, some subjects are motivational with no help from us. This is the case in point. He is what – and who – he is! MH

      2. He he! Right? Although I like the basic messages under all that motivational guff I cringe at the oft repeated sayings! But some remain around for good reason. 🙂
        Now, get a brew on, (no milk, 5 sugars!) – I’m popping over!

      1. Because inspite of all the hurdles that were in his life.. he still had that guts to live life and not let anything stop him..

        And that to me is an inspiration because we who are perfectly healthy and have everything find excuses to not do anything ..

      2. Ruuuuuuuubish! Inspiration is not intelligence Bikram. What is in your heart can be though. Stephen Hawking basically made the best out of who he is and that option is open to everyone…in ANY situation. I have a few great stories of people from YOUR part of the world too.

        Make the best out of who you are. You need help? I’m here. I will show you why you are great.

  6. I’m impressed you met one of my personal heroes. I wish I could pick your brain for all the incredible people you met…

    1. My brain will be slowly unraveled here don’t you worry (hopefully in a good way!…Although the opposite is always entertaining!) I hope it makes a difference to at least SOMEone, just as the people who taught me re-focused my own thinking.

      1. Did you ever meet the woman who was the real Devil Wears Prada with Vogue? Just asking…

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