The 10 Best TED Talks for Writers

The 10 Best TED Talks for Writers

The 10 Best TED Talks for Writers

25

FEBRUARY, 2019

Samuel Osho
The evolution of TED over the years is a true testament to the potency of compelling stories. These stories are birthed from daily interactions with ideas, people and places. TED has not only provided a platform for storytellers to share ideas worth spreading, but it has also created an open library of intellectual resources. 
From its humble beginning in 1984, TED has evolved from a conference limited to topics on Technology, Entertainment, and Design to a wide range of issues – from governance to healthcare to business to psychology – in more than 100 languages. However, these short but powerful talks have served as a tool of change in influencing, educating and transforming the psyche of an unending audience.

 

In this vast library of insightful speeches, you will find stories that tickle your fancy as a writer. I have carefully rummaged through the endless stack of talks and searched for ones that will appeal to writers and authors. These talks are a blend of practical ideas and instructive insights. 

Let’s take a look at my curated list of TED talks for writers.

My 10 Best TED Talks for Writers

The best-selling author of 2016 memoir, “Eat, Pray, Love,” Elizabeth Gilbert talks about the awkward things we expect from creative minds – artists, writers, and geniuses. Gilbert’s story hinges on the overwhelming burden of innovative minds – staying creative and consistently churning out incredible works. The talk was topped off with a deliberate demystification of the sacredness attached to “being a genius,” showing that every human has a genius in them.  

In this humorous talk, American writer Anne Lamott ponders on the timeless lessons she has learnt in her 61 years of existence. It is a bouquet of wisdom that equips your soul with inspiring insights on family, writing, death, the meaning of God, grace and what it means to be human in a chaotic world full of uncertainties.

Oscar-winning American filmmaker Andrew Stanton knows a lot about great stories and how to tell them, evident in the creation of “Toy Story,” “Finding Nemo,” and “WALL-E.” His engaging talk is a map that shows you the path from the end to the beginning of compelling stories.

In a fast-paced world where charismatic and extroverted individuals usually take the front seats, it can be severe and daunting for introverts to be comfortable in their skins. However, in this exciting talk, Susan Cain extols the power of introversion while reflecting on how a massive chunk of creative minds – artists and writers happen to be introverts.

In a world of convoluted stories about Africa, award-winning Nigerian writer Chimamanda Adichie exposed the precariousness associated with believing a single story about a person, a country, and a continent. She told the story of how she found her authentic cultural voice as a writer while reading the works of other great writers. Adichie canvasses for well-rounded stories that have the power to heal our world and make it a paradise.

In this hilarious talk, writer and blogger Tim Urban shares about his ongoing struggles with procrastination including the adventures and the hard truths. He explores the logic behind procrastination and why the buzz of deadlines seems to suddenly reawaken a procrastinator’s dormant energy to complete tasks. While he is yet to find a solution for his chronic procrastination, his journey challenges us to think deeply about why it’s easy for us to embrace procrastination.

“Read a thousand books, and your words will flow like a river.” – Lisa See

American psychologist and author Adam Grant delves into the unique traits of creative people and how they come up with great ideas. Grant shares his studies on “originals” – innovative minds who take responsibility for the ownership and actualization of their ideas. In this talk, you will be exposed to three unique habits of originals.

In the search for creativity, writers and artists go through pains, self-doubts, and fears. American novelist Amy Tan gives an in-depth analysis of the creative process while sharing her personal encounters with sheer serendipity on seemingly normal days.

 

Chicago-based Nigerian writer Luvvie Ajayi chronicles her fights with her phobias – from going on a solo vacation to swimming with dolphins to jumping out of a plane. The “professional troublemaker” talks about her rise to stardom as a blogger in the parlance of speaking truth to power. In her inspiring talk, Ajayi shares three questions to ask yourself if you are afraid of speaking up or keeping quiet.

American author of six novels, John Dufresne, delves into the art of storytelling in a way that appeals to fiction writers. The talk is a trip inside a writer’s mind and how a compelling story is created. Dufresne took his audience by the hands and showed them how to create a masterpiece that everyone wants to read and listen to. In fact, if you listen to this speech, you will be half-way into the completion of your short story.

 

In conclusion, writing is both a craft and a form of art. You can learn to be better both in honing your creative and imaginative skills. I hope you found my curated list inspiring and full of practical tips that you can start using straight away in your writing engagements.
 
Perhaps, I have omitted your favorite TED talk for writers, kindly drop a note in the comment section below stating your favorite talk.

I’d love to check them out!

How to Ace Your Daily Goals Like a Pro: 7 Tips That Work

How to Ace Your Daily Goals Like a Pro: 7 Tips That Work

How to Ace Your Daily Goals Like a Pro: 7 Tips That Work

28

JANUARY, 2019

Samuel Osho

It’s the last week of the first month of the year and you may be lost in mixed feelings. Do you deserve a sharp reprimand for missing your goals or a pat on the back for a job well done? In this self-reflection class, you have to own up and be true to yourself. As 2019 strolls by, are you making every day count? A fabulous year can end in an ordinary way if you lack the energy and enthusiasm to ace your daily goals. 

To be honest, I know how it feels when you have a list of daily goals with unchecked boxes staring at you. If you pride yourself as one, who is a pro in getting things done, missing your goals could be worrisome. To make matters worse, the pace at which your days disappear, you silently wish that you can have more than 24 hours in a day. 

Time is one of the equally distributed resources – everyone has access to the same 24 hours in a day. Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos, Mark Zuckerberg and you all have the same 24 hours but how come they seem to be getting more out of their day. Perhaps there is something they do, but you ignore. 

If 2019 will be different for you regarding results, then you have to be intentional about how to excel at your daily goals. Here are some tips that work:

 

7 Tips That Work

1. Create a list of your daily goals

The rule is if anything is important to you, then you have to write it down. Writing your goals gives you an opportunity to think things through and put these tasks in the front burner of your brain.

A list of daily goals serves as a reminder when you are lost in the pool of daily activities. In fact, research has shown that people who write down their goals on a regular basis are more likely to achieve them when compared to those who just have it in their heads.

I have a friend who has a daily ritual of writing his life goals in a journal every day. He described this habit as a powerful motivator and a superb drive for amplifying his productivity. 

What do you want to accomplish today? Do you have it on a list?

2. Do one thing at a time

The power of focus cannot be underestimated when it comes to productivity and execution. I have found doing one thing at a time extremely powerful and magical.

When you don’t narrow down on a single task at a time, you spread yourself too thin and become less effective. You can’t boil an ocean but can boil a jug of water – focus on one thing at a time, finish it and move to the next task. The Focusbooster app can be of great assistance in this regard. 

In the next thirty minutes, which task are you going to give undivided attention? Just focus and get it done. 

“If you want to live a happy life, tie it to a goal, not to people or things.” – Albert Einstein

3. Start with the big tasks

It usually happens that when you have a long list of daily goals, you unconsciously start with the easy ones first and end up not doing the hard ones. Often, you are unable to finish the difficult tasks when you follow this sequence because you are usually exhausted even before you start them.

Start your day with the execution of significant and challenging tasks. Expend your fresh energy on the tough assignments and finish them before moving to the easy and simple ones. Interestingly, when you muster the strength to complete an arduous task, you get the motivation to keep moving.

On your list of goals for today, which one is the hardest? Let it be the first task you have to face. Go for it! 

4. Reward yourself

When you get the job done, learn to celebrate your small victories and reward yourself. You deserve some accolades for a job well done.

The Pomodoro technique developed by Francesco Cirillo works based on the principle of rewarding yourself with a five minutes break after twenty-five minutes of uninterrupted work.

Surprisingly, this system works like magic. For example, you can say that you are only qualified to watch your favorite TV show if you score well above 90% in the execution of your daily goals. Watching the TV show is a reward for acing your goals.

The anticipation of relishing a pleasure you derive from your leisure time can be a driving force to complete your daily tasks on time.

After an hour of steady focus on completing a task, don’t you think you deserve a 10-minute break? 

5. Learn to say No

We are naturally wired to say yes to almost every offer. But to stay productive and effective, you must learn to say No. You just can’t accept every invitation to be of help to others.

If it clashes with your schedule, learn to say No or reschedule to what suits your priorities. If you say Yes to people and you don’t have the time to attend to their needs, they will eventually feel terrible when you let them down.

So, why don’t you just say No if it does not work for you rather than trying to please everyone?

Take a critical look at your commitments this week, maybe you need to say No to some of them to increase your productivity. 

6. Starve your distractions

In these days, you have more enemies of progress than you thought. In fact, your most prized gadget – your sleek smartphone can be an obstacle between you and achieving your goals.

Staying on your phone all day can rob you of the precious time that could have been invested in pursuing your goals. When you are set to get a lot of productive work done, you can put your phone in a “do not disturb” mode.

Another way of curbing distractions from social media is to have specific times of the day that you visit these apps on your phone.

Be sincere, do you really need to visit Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn every 20 minutes? Install these apps to block your access to social media accounts for a specific period of time – Freedom and Cold Turkey.

7. Get an accountability partner

If you know someone that believes in you and is passionately interested in your success. You can ask if they are willing to be your accountability partner.

Having someone to share the list of your daily goals with is priceless. At the end of the day, a five-minute chat can be used to evaluate how you fared and right there you will see the room for continuous improvement.

Draft a mail and send to two friends asking if they will be willing to be your accountability partners. You can stick to a daily or weekly review, whichever works for you is fine. 

Conclusion

Success does not come suddenly, but it builds up one day at a time when we imbibe the art of investing heavily in every passing moment. See each day as an avenue to bake a brick needed for building a monument of greatness.
I have listed only seven tips here and this is far from being exhaustive, please feel free to add more tips that can increase daily productivity in the comment box below. Thanks.

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!

6 Things to Consider Before Writing a Book

6 Things to Consider Before Writing a Book

6 Things to Consider Before Writing a Book

14

MAY, 2018

Samuel Osho
I have heard on several occasions that winners don’t quit and quitters don’t win.
But I really wanted to quit. Yes, I wanted to quit writing. I wanted to join the growing list of writers who execute their creative pens on the gallows of fear.
I felt it was time to close that chapter of my life not until I spoke with one of my friends – a published author. Prior to this conversation, we became close friends after I read his first book which I consider to be a brilliant literary meal for intellectual minds.
He took his time to itemize a million reasons why I should not quit writing. I guess his words stuck and that’s why I am still here.

 

 

He told me how he fought self-doubt and summoned the courage to publish his first book. The book was scripted in 1993 but was unpublished until 2016.

Oh! Why did it take so long before hitting the press?

To be honest, writing a book is one thing, having the audacity to publish it is another. And on to the next step, marketing the book is a different game.

You are probably at a crossroad wondering if the time is ripe for the unveiling of your book. The headache is usually intense if this is your debut appearance in the hallway of published authors.

Self-doubt peers at you from its hole and lack of confidence in your ideas threaten to heighten the span of your indecision. Writers often ask for pointers to know when their ideas are worth sharing. Perhaps, you have pondered on the same question.

Providing answers to the six questions listed here will shed more clarity on the future of your book.

The Six Questions Begging for Answers

1. What’s the idea behind your book?

I always advise writers to stick with one idea per book. I love the way Myles Munroe describes books, he called them “Idea-containers.” Yes, that’s true. A great book contains a revolutionary idea that can be summarized in two or three sentences.
Robert Kiyosaki’s Rich Dad Poor Dad was all about one idea – learning financial education as the key to realizing financial freedom.
Seth Godin’s Purple Cow dramatically played down on the antics of advertising and canvassed for the creation of remarkable products.

 

Today, these books are bestsellers because they contain clear and simple ideas. These ideas were reinforced with a wealth of research mixed with experiential knowledge. An idea is powerful but it’s not enough.

2. Do you believe in the idea?

It’s okay to have great ideas but do they come from your heart. Ideas that come from your heart and soul are the ones that will stir the hearts of others. When an idea works its way from your head to your heart, it becomes an inseparable part of you.

 

Yes, you believe in it. This is very important! It’s important you write from your heart.
If you don’t believe in the idea you are about to share in a book, it will be obvious when you talk about the book to others. When the unbelief festers unattended to, it spreads like cancer when you talk to others about the book. Address it now!

3. Is your idea worth sharing?

TED’s slogan – “Ideas worth spreading,” encapsulates the genius behind the millions of views that greet TED Talks on YouTube. Talks from TED keep garnering millions of views across the world because the speeches contain ideas that are worth sharing/spreading.
Some ideas are just good enough for you; they have got no potential to attain global relevance. Why waste time sharing such ideas in a book? Despite writing the book in Johannesburg, can someone in Argentina be guaranteed of outstanding results after applying your idea?
If the idea contained in your book is worth sharing, you will spend less on marketing and advertising. This is the secret to creating a book that eventually becomes an “ideavirus.” Your book is an ideavirus when readers can’t resist talking about it and sharing it with others.

4. Have you experienced what you are writing about?

There are some books you can’t get out of your head because you felt a connection between yourself and the author. Often, it’s more like an emotional bond – a part that reminds us of our humanity. The author shares lucid descriptions about his experiences and it turns out to be a perfect reflection of your current ordeal.

 

That was how I felt when I read John Maxwell’s 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership. At that time, I just assumed a new leadership role and was looking for insights on how to effectively lead my life and manage people. Maxwell’s book on leadership gave me goosebumps as I could see myself as he shared his experiences. And now to the best part, he did not just talk about my predicament, he cracked the code and offered solutions.

5. Do you have proven and tested solutions?

As a rule of thumb, whenever I am faced with a challenge, I consult books before calling my mentors. I spend a lot on books because they have proven to be a mine of solutions.
It’s unfair to make vague promises or polish lies as click baits. Can the idea in your book offer solutions? Have you tested your idea? Do you have proven solutions to the problems of your readers? We buy books because we are looking for answers. We can’t just live without finding answers to our numerous questions. Unanswered questions make us restless and that’s why Google is making a hell of a fortune.
Proven solutions reinforce the integrity of your book and increase its selling power.

“Writing a book is a horrible, exhausting struggle, like a long bout of some painful illness. One would never undertake such a thing if one were not driven on by some demon whom one can neither resist nor understand.” – George Orwell

6. Do you have a market for the book?

Many authors end their publishing career with the first book because their financial expectations were frustrated. After the glamour on the day of the book launch, it looked more like shoving the book down people’s throat. The little sales were proceeds from close friends and family members who felt obliged to offer a pitiable gesture towards a friend’s audacious leap.
Publishing a book can be financially demanding especially if you stick with traditional publishing. Some writers have landed in debts because of inability to realize enough sales to offset the cost of publishing their books. If you don’t have a market for your book, publishing it can be a disaster.
I know that writers are lovers of art who care less about the financial side of things. But with the recent twist in the publishing industry where few publishers do marketing, writers are challenged daily to learn strategies for marketing their books.
Just to be on the safe side, do your market research before heading to the press. Are people in high demand for these ideas?

 

If you echoed YES to all these questions, then you are ready to write and publish your book. Self-doubt will take care of itself and you are on your way to scripting one of the bestsellers that will make readers smile again.

 

100 Redundant Expressions You Should Avoid In Writing

100 Redundant Expressions You Should Avoid In Writing

100 Redundant Expressions You Should Avoid In Writing
27
MARCH, 2018
Samuel Osho
In William Shakespeare’s famous play, Hamlet, a popular phrase was uttered in the second act by Polonius, “Brevity is the soul of wit […]” This phrase is adjudged as one of the countless witty expressions of the English writer. If wit connotes wisdom, it implies that it is of necessity for you to be brief and concise if you want to make sense either while speaking or writing.
In the heat of the jungle, the lions that go for the jugular are the ones that survive. No stories or perambulating, they go for the kill! These are writers that get the applause because they put their readers in mind while writing. Readers love writers who go straight to the point; they launch words like stones in David’s sling. In the long run, they make their words count because they are not in a race to fulfill a word count.
I am sure you can easily spot such writers in a crowd. If they are scripting a novel, they shove aside redundant expressions and clear the path as you race towards the end of the spectrum called suspense. If they are writing articles, they use powerful verbs instead of adverbs and adjectives. I know why you love them so much: it’s because they use simple language to explain everything – from chaos to serenity.
Editing is a tough turf for many writers. While you edit your work, one of the clutters you must eliminate is the use of redundant expressions or often known as needless repetitions. Am I saying don’t repeat yourself? Yes, you only need to speak once for you to be heard. To every rule, there is an exception, use repetition in the case of emphasis or clarification of a topical theme.
Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his iconic speech in August 1963 but we can’t get “I have a dream” out of our heads perhaps because he repeated it eight times in his speech. So, repetition has its place. However, this article will open your eyes to some needless expressions and unnecessary duplicity that can be axed out of your writing. It will give wings to your writing. The words in parentheses should be removed.
The 100 Expressions
  1. ATM (machine)
  2. PIN (number)
  3. HIV (virus)
  4. LCD (display)
  5. GRE (exam)
  6. WASSCE (exam)
  7. RAM (memory)
  8. (live) witness
  9. (little) baby
  10. evolve (over time)
  11. (basic) necessities
  12. (basic) fundamentals
  13. (actual) facts
  14. (annual) anniversary
  15. (exploded) suddenly
  16. sat (down)
  17. stand (up)
  18. rise (up)
  19. raise (up)
  20. fall (down)
  21. drop (down)
  22. dwindle (down)
  23. compete (with each other)
  24. (old) adage
  25. (natural) instinct
  26. (new) innovation
  27. (new) invention
  28. (two) twins
  29. (pair of) twins
  30. (mutually) agreed
  31. (mutual) cooperation
  32. merge (together)
  33. refer (back) to your notes
  34. (armed) gunman
  35. (necessary) prerequisites
  36. (absolutely) essential
  37. (unexpected) emergency
  38. (original) founder
  39. (first and) foremost
  40. (brief) summary
  41. (free) gift
  42. (finally) completed
  43. (final) conclusion
  44. (final) outcome
  45. (final) end
  46. (final) ultimatum
  47. (prior) planning
  48. (advance) planning
  49. (each) individual
  50. (personally) think
  51. (annoying) pests
  52. (past) experience
  53. (new) breakthrough
  54. (different) kinds
  55. cancel (out)
  56. repeat (again)
  57. (foreign) imports
  58. (false) pretense
  59. (difficult) dilemma
  60. ask (a question)
  61. (invited) guests
  62. few (in number)
  63. (added) bonus
  64. enter (in)
  65. (end) result
  66. (unexpected) surprise
  67. written (down)
  68. (closed) fist
  69. (general) public
  70. (harmful) injuries
  71. grow (in size)
  72. (proposed) plan
  73. reply (back)
  74. revert (back)
  75. round (in shape)
  76. true (facts)
  77. three a.m (in the morning)
  78. (twelve) noon or midnight
  79. (white) snow
  80. undergraduate (student)
  81. (tiny) bit
  82. (regular) routine
  83. protest (against)
  84. pursue (after)
  85. close (proximity)
  86. (important) essentials
  87. cheaper (in cost)
  88. disappear (from view)
  89. (completely) eliminate
  90. advance (forward)
  91. tuna (fish)
  92. spell out (in detail)
  93. warn (in advance)
  94. (crystal) clear
  95. (in the field of) biology
  96. (in a period of) a week
  97. whether (or not)
  98. share (together)
  99. postpone (until later)
  100. kneel (down)
Let’s see how much you have learnt from this article with this short exercise. Eliminate the redundancies in the passage below:

“Mona had a difficult dilemma. She worked for a caterer, and from 9 a.m. in the morning until 12 noon, her job was to hand out free gifts at the mall. But her close personal friend Myrtle had just given birth to a baby girl, and she had promised to take care of Myrtle’s pair of twins while Myrtle was in the hospital. To Mona, the twins were annoying pests, but she would keep her promise. When Mona explained to her boss that Myrtle’s early delivery had come as an unexpected surprise, she could see the intense fury in his eyes. Silently, he prepared the different varieties of his decorative garnishes. The evil fiend then suddenly exploded and spelled out in detail why Mona was fired. Mona’s future prospects looked dim, as jobs were few in number. Mona now runs her own company, so getting fired may possibly have been her lucky break.”

Answer

“Mona had a dilemma. She worked for a caterer, and from 9 a.m. until noon, her job was to hand out gifts at the mall. But her close friend Myrtle had just given birth to a girl, and she had promised to take care of Myrtle’s twins while Myrtle was in the hospital. To Mona, the twins were pests, but she would keep her promise. When Mona explained to her boss that Myrtle’s early delivery had come as a surprise, she could see the fury in his eyes. Silently, he prepared the varieties of his garnishes. The fiend then exploded and spelled out why Mona was fired. Mona’s future looked dim, as jobs were few. Mona now runs her own company, so getting fired may have been her lucky break.”
Eliminating redundancies will be a lot easier with the following resources:
In conclusion, wordiness and vagueness in writing starve clarity of message. Your writing will be a lot better if you pay attention to these common redundancies.
If this has helped you in any way, then help me by hitting the share button (smiles). Please don’t hesitate to add to the list of redundancies in the comment section. 

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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