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Doctors only believed Stephen Hawking would have a few years to live after he was diagnosed with Motor Neurone Disease, otherwise known as Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), at the age of 21. Now, at the age of 76 he has proven many people wrong and keeps inspiring people every single day.

Stephen Hawking’s life truly is an extraordinary one and during his talks, he has offered us some great quotes to remember and use in our everyday lives. Here are just 20 of these inspirational quotes that are sure to lift your spirits when you need them.


1. His own words about the significance of intelligence

“Intelligence is the ability to adapt to change.”

Many people find it difficult to adapt to change and accept that they are no longer in a situation they had gotten used to. The more skills you acquire and the more you apply your knowledge, the more intelligent you become and you’ll find it a lot easier to adapt to the situations that change around you.


2. On questioning things and being aware of the world

Beautiful European City

“Look up at the stars and not down at your feet. Try to make sense of what you see, and wonder about what makes the universe exist. Be curious.”

No wonder a man that interested in the things around him has become such a successful scientist. Being curious about everything that you see and experience will only help you gain more knowledge and more experience.

3. Advice to other disabled people

“My advice to other disabled people would be, concentrate on things your disability doesn’t prevent you doing well, and don’t regret the things it interferes with. Don’t be disabled in spirit as well as physically.”

Being a disabled person himself, Stephen Hawking never let his disability define his way of living. He used it to his advantage and made the best out of the skills he had.


4. On being successful

“However difficult life may seem, there is always something you can do and succeed at.”

Being a wonderful example of his own words, Stephen Hawking manage to prove many people wrong over the years and prove his worth and even though he had his disability, he didn’t allow anything to hold him back.


5. His thoughts on our intelligence

“We are just an advanced breed of monkeys on a minor planet of a very average star. But we can understand the Universe. That makes us something very special.”

If you look at things from his perspective, you will truly find it interesting how we managed to evolve and become we are today. Of course, Steven Hawking’s sense of humor never fails to show.


6. Caring for others is very crucial

“We are in danger of destroying ourselves by our greed and stupidity. We cannot remain looking inwards at ourselves on a small and increasingly polluted and overcrowded planet.”

We live in a time and day where more of us only care for our own personal benefit. This has to change, otherwise we are putting in danger not only our planet but also ourselves and those we love.


7. Life is what you make it

sea of clouds during sunset

“The past, like the future, is indefinite and exists only as a spectrum of possibilities.”

Our entire existence is a matter of possibilities. This is something that should make you appreciate your life and your choices as you might not have been able to live the life you’re living right now.


8. His struggles of being famous

“The downside of my celebrity is that I cannot go anywhere in the world without being recognized. It is not enough for me to wear dark sunglasses and a wig. The wheelchair gives me away.”

This man’s sense of humor never fails to amaze people. It is truly great how he sees the fun in every situation and never lets anyone feel bad for his disability.


9. His thoughts on science

“Science is not only a disciple of reason but, also, one of romance and passion.”

His love for science can clearly been through a lot of his talks. His dedication is great and he has offered so much in return.


10. About his school years

“At school, I was never more than about halfway up the class. It was a very bright class. My classwork was very untidy, and my handwriting was the despair of my teachers. But my classmates gave me the nickname Einstein, so presumably they saw signs of something better. When I was twelve, one of my friends bet another friend a bag of sweets that I would never come to anything. I don’t know if this bet was ever settled, and if so, which way it was decided.”


11. On people and fate

aircraft airplane-blue cargo

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

Even if people say that they believe they don’t have an influence on how things unfold in their lives, they will always react to some natural instincts that are there to help them survive.


12. His opinion on making mistakes

“Next time someone complains that you have made a mistake, tell him that may be a good thing. Because without imperfection, neither you nor I would exist.”

As you clearly understand, he believes in the power of making mistakes. They are the only way to learn and evolve, and nothing in this world would be complete without the imperfections that make everything and everyone unique.


13. Advice for his children

“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.”

These three rules were ones that he gave to his children to follow. They might seem simple, but they truly are some pieces of advice that can help anyone who follows them life a much happier life.


14. On giving things the time they need

“It is no good getting furious if you get stuck. What I do is keep thinking about the problem but work on something else. Sometimes it is years before I see the way forward. In the case of information loss and black holes, it was 29 years.”

When you face a difficulty, don’t just give up. It might be that it’s too early for you to deal with that situation or might not have enough information on it yet. Give things time and keep working on them. This is the best way to get a successful result.


15. His thoughts on death

thoughts on death

“I have lived with the prospect of an early death for the last 49 years. I’m not afraid of death, but I’m in no hurry to die. I have so much I want to do first.”

Being 21 and having people tell you that you don’t have much time left to live can be quite difficult. Stephen decided that he would keep working and living despite the predictions and has managed to live a life that many would be jealous of.


16. Live your life without anger

“It is a waste of time to be angry about my disability. One has to get on with life and I haven’t done badly. People won’t have time for you if you are always angry or complaining.”

If you’re facing a problem such as a disability, it’s likely that people won’t understand. Don’t spend time being upset over small things and focus on living a life that makes you happy and successful.


17. Having an active mind and a good sense of humor

“Keeping an active mind has been vital to my survival, as has been maintaining a sense of humor.”

These two things are very important for a man to survive and live a good life. Keeping an active mind will help you stay sharp and maintaining your sense of humor will allow you to stay young at heart.


18. On expectations

Indian man looking out into the sunset

“My expectations were reduced to zero when I was 21. Everything since then has been a bonus.”

Living life without any expectations will allow you to welcome everything that comes your way and you’ll be able to focus on working harder without being afraid of things going the wrong way, as there will be no wrong way.


19. On quiet people

“Quiet people have the loudest minds.”

Many times, people who appear as shy or not very talkative are usually the ones who are the smartest and most creative ones. They prefer to listen, learn and thing before they speak and that’s just what makes their minds the brightest.


20. Knowledge and ignorance

futuristic lines

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

Sometimes, it is more important to know when you shouldn’t speak rather than saying something inaccurate. We live in a society that teaches us that we should know everything. That results in there being many people who think they know everything and that can only be of harm to those who actually good at what they do.


21. A man with no limits

Even though he is bound in a wheelchair, Stephen Hawking never let anything stand in the way of his success and intelligence. He is a great example of how we can do anything we set our minds to and his quotes can only help us get a small glimpse of how his amazing mind works.

What are your favorite Stephen Hawking quotes? Which do you relate to the most?

Posted by Benedict Brychta

Benedict Brychta is a writer for Flash Essay. He spends most of his days writing, reading books and looking for some daily inspiration on the internet. He truly loves to help people find their own source of inspiration and live a happier life.

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