5 Powerful Mentoring Relationships that Influenced the World

5 Powerful Mentoring Relationships that Influenced the World

5 Powerful Mentoring Relationships that Influenced the World
12
AUGUST, 2018
Samuel Osho
It looks like everyone on your timeline has it all figured out except you. In fact, you are a superstar when you can tell a story of how you made it from grass to grace, all by yourself. I am seeking the attention of a generation that continually denigrates the importance of mentoring.
You think that your story will lose its flavor when you add stances of when you were helpless, and a mentor’s wealth of experience brought you back on track. You are telling a big lie when you create an impression that you are an island of knowledge.
If you are on a journey to a location for the very first time, to reduce your chances of getting lost, you can ask for directions from a guide. Or better still, use Google Map and follow the instructions until you get to your destination.
Of course, you are smarter than folks that think they can reach their destination through guesses and permutations. You are smart because you conserve energy and you save time. This ultimately reflects in your speed and refreshing look when you get to your destination. No beating around the bush, you went straight to the point.
Life is a journey and if you know where you are going, finding the right mentor can be the gamechanger. Mentoring is a highly rewarding experience but before you start looking for a mentor, make sure you provide answers to these eight questions.

 

To drive home the importance of mentoring, I have decided to share stories of five powerful mentoring relationships that influenced the world.

 

5 Mentoring Relationships

1. Socrates mentored Plato

You don’t need to attend a philosophy class before you know these names – Socrates and Plato. Both are pillars in Greek philosophy and the bedrock of what makes modern philosophers stay awake at night.
Interestingly, despite the popularity of Socrates today, there is no record of his writings before his death which is strange for a philosopher of his class. Socrates is credited as the founder of Western philosophy and contributed immensely to ethics as the first moral philosopher.
All that you learnt in school about Socrates were chiefly the works of his followers and students. This is where Plato comes in, he is often regarded as the “best disciple of Socrates.” Some of the best and detailed accounts of Socrates’ work stemmed from the writings of Plato.

 

If Socrates covered the first thousand miles of Greek philosophy, Plato perhaps paced through the next five thousand miles. Plato did more than contributing to Western philosophy, he laid the foundations for Western science and mathematics.
The success of Plato surpassed the achievements of Socrates, Plato founded the first institution of higher learning in the Western World – the Academy in Athens. Plato also passed the torch of knowledge to another great philosopher, he only paid it forward.

 

2. Plato mentored Aristotle

It’s interesting to see a trend in Classical Greece that preserved the excellent knowledge of great philosophers. At the age of 17 or 18, Aristotle enrolled in Plato’s Academy in Athens and remained Plato’s student until he turned 37.

 

He is known as the “Father of Western Philosophy.” The teachings of Aristotle served as the first comprehensive system of Western philosophy. The principle of kinematics developed by Galileo Galilei and William Harvey’s explanation of blood circulation in the human body were both reactions to the writings of Aristotle.
To prove that the torch of knowledge passed down the line burned with much intensity, Aristotle’s writings moved beyond the tents of philosophy to poetry, science, linguistics, politics, government, and economics. Although he did not establish an academy like Plato, he started a library in Lyceum after Plato’s death.

“If I have seen further than others, it is by standing upon the shoulders of giants.” – Isaac Newton

3. Aristotle mentored Alexander the Great

Shortly after Plato’s death, Aristotle left Athens and moved to the palace of King Philip II of Macedon. Aristotle had a paid job in the palace as a tutor for King Philip’s son, Alexander the Great. Alexander was under the tutelage of Aristotle during his youth until age 16. After King Philip’s assassination, Alexander the Great became the King of Macedonia at the age of 20.
Though he died at the age of 32, Alexander the Great is widely regarded as one of the greatest military commanders in history. He never lost a battle. He created one of the largest empires in the ancient world at a young age of 30. His kingdom extended from Greece to northwestern India.

4. George Wythe mentored Thomas Jefferson

If you know a bit of American history, these names will sound familiar because they played vital roles in America’s Independence. George Wythe was a renowned classics scholar and America’s first law professor.

He was a notable law professor at the College of William & Mary and served as a teacher to a sizeable number of prominent American leaders. Amidst his mentees, he was exceptionally close to Thomas Jefferson.

Jefferson showcased the brilliance of one that was well-taught by a sage – he was both an exceptional leader and a superb writer.
When it was time for America to craft its Declaration of Independence, the leader of the Continental Congress, John Adams, persuaded the committee to select Thomas Jefferson as its principal author. When you read the Declaration of Independence, you are reading the writings of Jefferson.
Jefferson, alongside his mentor, George Wythe were two out of the seven Virginia signatories of the United States Declaration of Independence. He authored the Declaration in July 1776 and later served two terms as America’s third President from 1801 to 1809 after serving as the nation’s first Secretary of State under President George Washington.

5. Benjamin Graham mentored Warren Buffett

Finally, one of my examples has one of its legends living with us. Warren Buffet, while he was in his early twenties, met a man who changed his perspective on investment and perhaps changed the course of his life forever.
Benjamin Graham was a British-born American economist, investor, and professor. He etched his name in history as the “father of value investing,” and authored two stellar books that have served as a collage of timeless investment principles.
Perhaps, one of his greatest investments was mentoring the young and energetic Warren Buffet who has grown to become the wizard of value investing in the world. Buffet worked in Graham’s company for two years before Graham’s retirement into full-time academic roles.
Buffet learnt the trade from his master, and he is undoubtedly one of the most successful investors in the world with a net worth close to US$84 billion.

Conclusion

It’s clear from these examples that mentoring has stood the test of time as one of the strategies used by champions to reach their destination in destiny. English physicist, Isaac Newton, once said: “If I have seen further than others, it is by standing upon the shoulders of giants.” The further you can see into your future, the more you become confident in its possibility.

 

What are you waiting for? Embrace mentoring and find the right mentors in your field of interest. Do you know of any other mentoring relationship that has influenced the world? Please feel free to share in the comment section below.

5 Amazing Tips on How to Resume Writing After a Long Break

5 Amazing Tips on How to Resume Writing After a Long Break

5 Amazing Tips on How to Resume Writing After a Long Break
01
AUGUST, 2018
Samuel Osho
As a student, the toughest time to read is when you are fresh in school from a long break. It’s hard to concentrate and get the reading done. Digesting two pages of course content is a headache and pouncing on a chapter is a battle.
Your favorite places are library halls and reading rooms because you are “roaming for a network.” Perhaps, you could call it the calibration of the body and soul to a condition that can confidently assure you of assimilation. The same is true when you plan to resume active writing after a long break.

For writers, taking a protracted break from writing can happen due to several reasons. It could result from a barrage of unforeseen contingencies or a product of sheer laziness. Regardless of the cause of the break, when resumption beckons, it’s usually the hardest part.

Asides the tendency to churn out insipid works, you grapple for the right words to express your thoughts, you suffer from an absence of punchlines, and the drought of inspiration. Some of your readers wonder why your recent works are so bland and shallow. It’s a pathetic state.
What if I can show you how to insert the key in the ignition and jump-start your writing engine? Yes, that’s why I am here. This blog post will show you five simple ways to resume writing after a long break.
5 Simple Tricks

1. Write about the things you are grateful for

The goal is to get you to write, and you can start by writing about the things you are grateful for. If you think genuinely, you will discover a long list of things that fuel your gratitude. You can write at least three sentences about each item on the list to express the details of your euphoric feeling.
From a generic level, go more in-depth to the degree that exudes a detailed description of what makes you go head over heels about the things you are grateful for. Furthermore, researchers have shown that keeping a gratitude journal can make you more optimistic and happier about life.

2. Summarize lessons from your favorite books

It’s advisable to read as much as you can while trying to revive your creative juices. You can re-read some of your favorite books or read a new one from your wish list. From your latest read, you can create a summary of the key points from the book, you can also itemize lessons that you would love to apply to your life practically.

During this exercise, focus on writing your reflections either by supporting or disagreeing with the author’s standpoint. In all, let your voice stand out and shun mindless lifting. Don’t fall into the trap of rewriting the author’s work verbatim because that’s not writing, it is called photocopying.

“If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot.” – Stephen King

3. Share about an unforgettable experience

As you go about your life, you will have some unforgettable moments etched in your memories. Either they are broken shards of events that happened recently or in the distant past, but they seem not to get out of your head. You can embrace these memories and give them life by writing about them.

Asides reliving these moments, you also flex your writing muscles and paint images of your sacred moments in letters. When you are finally done with this exercise, it will leave you levitating in a creative atmosphere with your lungs full of euphoria. It’s a magical feeling!

4. Comment on your favorite quote

I have some quotes that are stuck in my head – I love them because they inspire me. You might have just one quote that gives you goosebumps or motivates you to chase your crazy dreams. This is the time to bring such quotes from the dusty shelves to the front porches. Take time to think about one of these quotes and write at least 300 words on what the quote means to you.

5. Write a letter to your younger self

If you are in a position to advise your younger self, what will you say? This is a fun-filled exercise. The last time I did this exercise got me reeling in laughter and trust me I had so much to say to my younger self. By the time I was done with the young lad, I have garnered close to 500 words.
Just some tips to accentuate your flow while writing this letter – focus on your eccentricities, expose your childhood adventures, and flog your youthful exuberance with words of discipline. Here’s a good place to start: celebrities you admire took time to advise a younger version of themselves – from Oprah Winfrey to Gabrielle Union.

Conclusion

If you are able to engage in two or more of these exercises, you will be amazed at how quickly you find your writing frequency. You will be surprised at the pace of your pen sprinting like Usain Bolt on a blank papyrus. Give yourself some time, enjoy the process, and you will soon find yourself grooving in a pool of inspired letters. You can also share some of these new write-ups on your social media account and let your audience have a feel of your seasoned thoughts.
If you have some other tips that you think will be of great help to a writer launching out of a sabbatical, kindly drop them in the comment section below. Gracias!

7 Fascinating Life Lessons From the Eagle

7 Fascinating Life Lessons From the Eagle

7 Fascinating Life Lessons from the Eagle
07

MAY, 2018

Samuel Osho
In centuries of human existence, a bird of significant strength has inspired a lot of people. It is one of the largest birds in the world, the Eagle – a symbol of bravery, courage, power, strength, and superiority.
Little wonder, it has found its way to the national symbols of 27 nations, the popular ones are the coat of arms of Germany, the Great Seal of the United States, the coat of arms of Nigeria, the coat of arms of Mexico, and the coat of arms of Ghana.
A trip to an eyrie will open your eyes to the mystery behind the embodiment of strength and uniqueness that an Eagle possesses. Eagles are powerfully-built birds of prey with a heavy head and beak.
There are however lessons to learn from Eagles. If you imbibe these lessons, you will soar above life’s challenges like an Eagle.
The Seven Fascinating Life Lessons

1. Keen Eyesight

Eagles have extremely powerful eyes which are up to 3.6 times human acuity. This is primarily because of their large pupils which ensure minimal diffraction (scattering) of the incoming light. They use their eyes for long-distance focus and clarity.
They are always alert as they keep watch on their territories. They are not caught unawares by predators and they spot their enemies from afar. They are not myopic, they are a step ahead of their prey and a hundred miles ahead of their competitors.

Lesson:

Anyone who will go far in life must have a vision with absolute clarity void of ambiguities. Make plans and don’t live for the moment. Don’t ever underestimate a man with focus and great vision, he will not only make a great leader but he will also live a meaningful life as he leads his life towards the gates of destiny.

2. High Flyers

Often, you must have heard this expression; “Soar high like an Eagle” and not “Soar high like a hawk”. This is because only Eagles have the intrinsic ability to soar. Soaring means to fly aloft with little effort, to rise or mount upward on wings in a rapidly or unusually high manner.

Eagles soar and this separates them from mingling with other birds. They are in a class of their own – a superior class up there that other birds long to be. Eagles can fly up to an altitude of 10,000 feet and they are able to land quickly to catch a prey.

Lesson:

High flyers stand out of the crowds; they live an outstanding life. When you soar high above obstacles, you create an extraordinary class of your own. You have got impeccable standards and your meaning of success does not necessarily need to be the same with the definition of others.

The journey in the outstanding lane comes at a price – it can be very lonely but be rest assured that you have got enough space to spread your wings for dominance and unrivaled influence.

3. High Builders

Eagles are not just high flyers, they are not temporary lovers of high flights, but they build nests in high places. When they fly up there, they scream loud; “We are here to stay, we are not going back down there.” Class is permanent but form is temporary. They craft nests in tall trees and high cliffs as a place of fortress and abode. They have an insignia which denotes greatness and an unrepentant urge to stay at the top always.

Lesson:

In life, when you think about greatness, don’t look at it as a destination but as a journey. Going to the land of greatness means you have decided to build a nest amidst the mountains of excellence and you are not returning to the valleys of mediocrity.

The strong proclivity for the top is just embedded deep underneath your skin and it drives you with unique spontaneity. You can’t hide it, it will always show anywhere you go because that’s what is in you – excellence!

4. Fearless

Eagles never give up and they are relentlessly focused on achieving their goal. They will never surrender to the overwhelming size or weight of their prey. They are fearless in their hunting strategies and some even prey on goats.

Lesson:

In life, we must learn to be fearless in the pursuit of success as we face the challenges on our way squarely knowing that the only option is a victory.

Victory will always come if only you are willing to dare the impossible, challenge the status quo and scare your fears till they shudder. On the other side of your fear, you will find triumph and success. Fear can make an Eagle live like a chicken.

5. Tenacious

When torrents of wind cruise in the high heavens, other birds scamper for cover but only the Eagle stays up there. In the stormy gale, an Eagle spreads its large wings, takes advantage of the raging currents and soars to greater heights. This is amazing!

Lesson:

The storms of life will come in its season, what will you do? Will you run for cover? Or you take advantage of the storm to mount on greater heights? Will you be a chicken or be an Eagle?

The tougher the storm, the greater its possibility of taking you higher. It is as simple as writing examinations in school before going to the next level. The exams in your final year are tougher than the ones in your first year.

“The eyesight for an eagle is what thought is to a man” – Dejan Stojanovic

6. Retreat for energy

Despite the wowing strength of an Eagle, the condition of its physical body begins to deteriorate when it reaches the age of 30 years. This makes its survival very difficult.
To regain its strength and vitality, it goes to a mountaintop or a cliff for a retreat which usually lasts for four to five months. It plucks off its feathers and knocks off its beak by hitting it hard against the rock.
During the retreat, the physical body undergoes a metamorphosis and new stages of the body emanate. This renewed life can last the Eagle for another thirty to forty years.

Lesson:

When the demands of life weigh into your schedule and you are almost drained, a retreat is strongly recommended to keep in constant touch with relevance. To keep the steam, a retreat is required, it helps to keep you in check and on point.

In your career or chosen field, there is a need to constantly keep up with what is going on; the latest trends, the new discoveries to remain evergreen with a dew of knowledge. The secret to public manifestation is a loaded bank account of private investments.

7. Nurture the younger generation

Eagles are known for strength and power which are handy tools for aggression. Research has shown that Eagles are very gentle and attentive to their younger ones.

They nurture and take good care of them till they reach maturity. The mother Eagle starts with a flying lesson for the eaglet when it discovers that the eaglet is up to the task. It flies in the air with the eaglet on the back of the mother Eagle; midway into the air, the Big Eagle removes itself from under the eaglet, the flying begins and the Mother Eagle catches it again. This process is repeated.

If the eaglet is a slow or coward learner, the Mother Eagle returns with the eaglet to the nest and destroys the nest right in front of the Eaglet and nudges the eaglet off the cliff to compulsory learn flying.

Lesson:

Great people invest in the younger generation by teaching them the lessons of life with love. They give their mentees daring challenges but never forget to empower and direct them in the proper way.

True success invests in others till they become successful in life. Whatever you have learnt in life, pass it on to worthy trustees and history will be kind to you.

Eagles are inspiring in unimaginable ways. Be that symbolic Eagle wherever you find yourself today.

15 Powerful Quotes from Mark Twain

15 Powerful Quotes from Mark Twain

15 Powerful Quotes from Mark Twain
18
APRIL, 2018
Samuel Osho
If you check the annals of history and carefully search for giants in English literature, you will easily come across a phenomenal writer from America – Mark Twain. Twain’s humor can crack your ribs even on a bad day.
He orchestrated a plethora of adventures for his readers – from “Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” to “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer,” he was a writer with a Midas touch. A therapeutic touch that makes you laugh and think at the same time.
Mark Twain was an American writer, humorist, entrepreneur, publisher, and lecturer. Interestingly, we share the same first name – Samuel. Unknown to many, Mark Twain is a pen name while the brain behind the pen is Samuel Langhorne Clemens.
He was famous in literary circles for his outstanding use of satire and humor both in prose and speech. Though some of his entrepreneurial adventures never turned out prosperous, he was one of the few writers who became wealthy through the proceeds of the pen.
As you read some of his inspiring quotes, you should consider reading at least one of his books if you are yet to do so. “Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” will be a good place to start.
Here we go:
The Fifteen balls of energy

1.

“The secret of getting ahead is getting started.”

2.

“Kindness is the language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see.”

3.

“Forgiveness is the fragrance that the violet sheds on the heels that has crushed it.”

4.

“Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it’s time to pause and reflect.”

5.

“Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear, not absence of fear.”

6.

“You can’t depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus.”

7.

“It’s not the size of the dog in the fight, it’s the size of the fight in the dog.”

8.

“If you tell the truth, you don’t have the remember anything.”

9.

“Anger is an acid that can do more harm to the vessel in which it is stored than to anything on which it is poured.”

10.

“A person who won’t read has no advantage over one who can’t read.”

11.

“Don’t go around saying the world owes you a living. The world owes you nothing. It was here first.”

12.

“There are basically two types of people. People who accomplish things, and people who claim to have accomplished things. The first group is less crowded.”

13.

“I never let schooling interfere with my education.”

14.

“Everything has its limit – iron ore cannot be educated into gold.”

15.

“The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.”

Bonus Quote: “Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you too, can become great.” – Mark Twain
I am sharing these quotes because they have deeply inspired me to do more with my life. These quotes cover a range of life issues that we encounter in our daily endeavors. The words of the wise are truly treasured pearls; they guide us when in doubt of which path to follow.
It is your turn to share with me. I am curious! Which one of these quotes is your favorite? 

On Martin Luther King Jr: Your Dreams Are Still Valid

On Martin Luther King Jr: Your Dreams Are Still Valid

On Martin Luther King Jr: Your Dreams Are Still Valid

4

APRIL, 2018

Samuel Osho

Few months before Theresa May moved into 10 Downing Street, a friend told me about his dream of securing a scholarship for a course in the United Kingdom. His academic records were in sharp contrast to the grades of the past winners of this scholarship and it looked more like a wishful thinking. But he did what most people often ignore – he went to work and gave a hard push on his dreams. He pushed so hard that the universe caved in and supported the feeble knees of his dreams until they became a reality.

Ever since 1968, April 4 has been separated as a day to reflect on the illustrious life of Martin Luther King Jr. A day when one of America’s greatest civil rights activist was killed in cold blood. Though he was assassinated, his dreams lived on. In fact, his dreams did the unthinkable. Close to half-a-century after his death, his dream produced America’s first black President. King’s tenacity to fight for the freedom of the blacks was beyond passion, he embodied it.

Before his name could fit perfectly on the lips of everyone, he paid a price. He sacrificed his comfort, his sleep, his peace and his life for a cause he believed in. King’s commitment lit the flames of passion in the hearts of his followers. Little sparks here and there started a movement that crushed the ideologies and laws of White supremacists in the US.

As the world celebrates the 50th anniversary of King’s death, I have no intention of educating you about the life of Martin Luther King Jr. because a lot has been written and said about him. I am just here to give you a nudge as you pursue your dreams.

What price are you willing to pay for your dreams?

On January 26, 1956, King was arrested as part of a campaign to intimidate the bus boycotters in Montgomery. The bus boycott lasted for 382 days until victory was ascertained: the Supreme Court of the United States declared segregation laws on public transport to be unconstitutional.

Four days after the arrest, his house was bombed.
In September 1958, he had a close shave with death when he was stabbed by an assailant at a book signing held in Harlem.
On October 19, 1960, King was arrested and sentenced to four months in jail. However, he was released shortly after intervention by the Kennedy brothers, John and Robert.
On December 16, 1961, King was arrested in Albany for leading a protest without a permit.
On July 27, 1962, he was arrested and jailed for holding a prayer vigil in Albany, Georgia. He was released on August 10.
On Good Friday, April 12, 1963, King was arrested and jailed alongside Ralph Abernathy for demonstrating without a permit in Birmingham. During his days in prison, he authored his historic “Letter from Birmingham Jail.”
In May 1963, segregationists bombed Gaston Motel where King was staying.

 

On June 11, 1964, King was arrested while protesting for integration of public accommodations in St. Augustine, Florida.
On February 2, 1965, King was arrested in Selma, Alabama during a voting rights demonstration.
On August 5, 1966, a mob of angry whites stoned King while leading a march in Chicago.
On October 30, 1967, he was arrested and jailed in Birmingham for demonstrating without a permit. He spent four days in jail.

 

Before King’s dream placed him on the front cover of TIME Magazine in January 1964 as its Man of the Year, his dream landed him in jail on several occasions. He was stoned and described as crazy in the books of many. But the only reason we all read about him today was because he never gave up.
In the pursuit of your dreams, you may find yourself locked in solitude; a world of your own that makes you look like a cipher to others. People just find it hard to understand your spirited optimism about the future. Often, it looks like a prison but this is to let you know that you won’t be behind the bars forever.

 

King was popularly known for his non-violence methods of resisting opposition. Alongside his wife, Coretta, he travelled on a pilgrimage to India for a month in February 1959 to learn from the works of Mahatma Gandhi. Beyond his inspiring speeches and words that moved mountains of black segregation, he was approachable and compassionate at heart. He was special because he had immense love for the people.
At some point, while learning to use the ropes, you will need people. You can’t do it alone. You may need to reach out to a friend. Ask for the help of a mentor. Seek the counsel of others. If all you need to achieve your dream is you, then your dream is not big enough to influence the world.

 

My friend, your dreams are still valid. You can still push through the blankets of obscurity and reach out to the world with your message of hope. Your prison today maybe the discomfort you go through because of some personal sacrifices but you never can tell who your dream will inspire tomorrow.
Everyone that met King before the 1963 historic speech “I Have a Dream” knew what he stood for. He kept talking about it to everyone.

 

“If any of you are around when I have to meet my day, I don’t want a long funeral – and if you get somebody to deliver the eulogy tell him not to talk too long. Tell him not to mention that I have a Nobel Peace Prize, that’s not important. I want you to be able to say that day that I did try to feed the hungry. I want you to be able to say that day that I did try in my life to clothe those who were naked. And I want you to say that I tried to love and serve humanity” – Martin Luther King Jr.

 

Today is the best day to start writing that book and tell your friends about the song you have always wanted to write.
Many men and women have died but the best of them offered the world a gift before their last breath – a dream that outlives them. 
Your dreams are still valid. Let them breathe and let them blossom like the lilies by the riverside.

On Stephen Hawking: Tough Times Never Last But Tough People Do

On Stephen Hawking: Tough Times Never Last But Tough People Do

On Stephen Hawking: Tough Times Never Last But Tough People Do
20
MARCH, 2018
Samuel Osho
In 2012, I got a weird look from one of my mentors when he realized that I knew next to nothing about Stephen Hawking. It is in semblance with the shock that greets you when “a passionate Nigerian writer” tells you that he has read many books except for Chinua Achebe’s classic, Things Fall Apart.
My mentor instructed me to read “A Brief History of Time,” and watch the movie. This was how I fell in love with the British physicist Stephen Hawking. I pounced on the Internet and read almost anything I could find about Hawking. I was inspired by his story of resilience and dedication to greatness. His life chronicled the journey of a tenacious scholar that was in love with the laws behind the wonders of nature. His struggles were obvious but his doggedness placed his name amidst the stars.
Hawking, a genius who devised a plethora of laws in theoretical physics except for the theory of immortality has died at 76. As tributes pour in ahead of his burial at Westminster Abbey, I would like us to draw strong reflections from a life with a fleet of remarkable feats.
I am not going to bore you with black hole theories and his thought-provoking discoveries in cosmology, I will only show you the trying moments of his life.
His Tough Moments

1. The Awakening of the Genius Gene

At the age of 17 in 1959, Hawking was admitted into the prestigious University College, Oxford to study Physics and Chemistry after he aced his scholarship exams. Winning a scholarship to study at Oxford was a turning point in Hawking’s life as he was nicknamed “Einstein” during his college days because of his academic struggles. He never started out as the genius we all read about today. He graduated with a first class and proceeded to the iconic University of Cambridge for his Masters and Ph.D. degrees.

2. The Diagnosis

In 1963 when Hawking was only 21, his doctors told him he had two more years to live. He was diagnosed with the motor neurone disease (aka amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, “ALS” or Lou Gehrig’s disease). The diagnosis came in while he was just starting out his graduate studies at Cambridge, he suffered a bit of depression but came out shining. His physical abilities deteriorated over the years, the paralysis ceased his ability to write, speak, and walk. He needed close friends and family members to convey his words to others but he frowned at been classified as a disabled person.

3. Face to Face With Death

Hawking’s life was threatened in 1985 when he contracted pneumonia while he was on a trip to Switzerland. He got so sick that he was on life support for days and his wife, Jane Hawking had to settle for a tracheotomy which led to the permanent loss of his voice. Walter Woltosz, CEO of Words Plus developed a computer program called the “Equalizer” that assisted Hawking in communicating his thoughts to others via spoken words. With his fingers, he could press a switch that selects words and phrases from a pool of about 3,000 words, This made him produce about 15 words per minute with a mechanical version of his original voice.

4. The First Book

Publishing a book when you have lost the ability to speak or write is a tall order. He started writing his first book in 1982 with the help of his assistant and editor. The book explained some of the complex theories that govern the universe in simple terms that everyone could understand.   In 1988, the book was published and it was titled, “A Brief History of Time.” It received massive media attention and was a great success. It has been translated into several languages and about 9 million copies sold. The book appeared on the British Sunday Times best-seller for a record-breaking 237 weeks. With the help of his children, he published many popular books later.

5. The Wonders of the Cheek Muscles

In the wake of his outstanding academic achievements and publication of his first book, his popularity soared, earning him more awards, international trips, and meetings with celebrities. Hawking’s paralysis got worse in 2005 when he lost the use of his hands, meaning he had to settle for another medium of communicating with his audience asides using his finger on a switch. He had to control his communicating device with the movement of his cheek muscles and produced at the rate of one word per minute.
“Go the extra mile. It makes your boss look like an incompetent slacker.” – Stephen Hawking

6. The Space Flight Experience

In an interview with BBC in 2006, Hawking spoke about one of his secret desires of traveling to space. Unfortunately, he never achieved his dream of traveling to space via commercial flight before his death but he got so close. In April 2007, Hawking experienced weightlessness on a specially-modified flight, replicating the gravitational forces astronauts go through in space flights.

7. Resting Amidst the Scholars

Interestingly, his final resting place at Westminster Abbey will be beside the graves of scholars like Charles Darwin and Isaac Newton. He died on the Pi Day, a day which coincides with the 139th anniversary of Einstein’s birth and he was born on the 300th anniversary of Galileo’s death.
His Favorite Quotes

“Intelligence is the ability to adapt to change.”

“The greatest enemy of knowledge is not ignorance, it is the illusion of knowledge.”

“I have noticed even people who claim everything is predestined, and that we can do nothing to change it, look before they cross the road.”

“My goal is simple. It is a complete understanding of the universe, why it is as it is and why it exists at all.”

“Life would be tragic if it weren’t funny.”

“I have no idea. People who boast about their IQ are losers.”

“Quiet people have the loudest minds.”

“People won’t have time for you if you are always angry or complaining.”

“We only have to look at ourselves to see how intelligent life might develop into something we wouldn’t want to meet,”

“One, remember to look up at the stars and not down at your feet. Two, never give up work. Work gives you meaning and purpose and life is empty without it. Three, if you are lucky enough to find love, remember it is there and don’t throw it away.”
Hawking’s Last Speech on Stage
In conclusion, this is an attempt to give a brief history of an erudite scholar that etched his name amidst the greats. This is the unveiling of a story that crushes all your excuses without mercy. In his death, he remains a genius in the books of many and a very controversial figure because of his unabashed atheistic views.

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