When I heard Stephen Hawking speak at the Seattle Science Festival in 2012, my view of reality was transformed, yet again, by the questions he was capable of asking. When a man on a quest for The Theory of Everything speaks, I listen.
When I learned that he passed away recently, my experience in his presence came flooding back to me. While I could not always understand and comprehend the magnitude of his thinking, he was a master at finding new ways of communicating complex universal laws in bite sized pieces that I have digested over time.
Here are some of my favorite Stephen Hawking quotes from his seemingly endless body of work that resonate with me deeply. I’ve paired his quotes with some of my writing in the field of leadership development:
“Intelligence is the ability to adapt to change.”
Do You Manage Change or Transitions? This article is about a leaders ability to step into uncertainty with grace and how instrumental managing transitions is to longevity in today’s fast paced world of work.
“Work gives you meaning and purpose, and life is empty without it.”
Is Your Vision Aligned with Where Your Organization is Going? This article is about core values and purpose and how they drive a well-conceived vision.
“The greatest enemy of knowledge is not ignorance. It is the illusion of knowledge.”
How Hero Leadership Hinders Progress speaks to the idea that leadership is a series of behaviors, not a role of one hero. We are all capable of leading in some way on any given day which is both exciting and laced with accountability.
“Remember to look up at the stars and not down at your feet. Try to make sense of what you see and about what makes the universe exist. Be curious.”
What Leaders Need to Stop Doing is about mindfulness. How can we pace and ground ourselves in small ways for big results?
“One has to have a positive attitude and must make the best of the situation that one finds oneself in; if one is physically disabled, one cannot afford to be psychologically disabled as well. In my opinion, one should concentrate on activities in which one’s physical disability will not present a serious handicap.”
What is Accessibility in Leadership? The Answer May Surprise You! This article shares my views on the idea that accessibility in the work place is a value, rather than an initiative or a strategy. It is at the core of what makes strong business even stronger from top to bottom.
“I’m happy if I’ve made a small contribution”
Gratitude is a Serious Business addresses the importance of appreciating contributions of others in an authentic, validating, and emotionally intelligent way.
“The past, like the future, is indefinite and exists only as a spectrum of possibilities.”
Do You Have Systems Intelligence? This article explores the importance of the whole system and how its health relies on webs of interdependence. At the center of all healthy systems are people who have a deep and persistent commitment to real learning.
Stephen Hawking was born 300 years to the day after the death of Galileo and died on the same date Albert Einstein was born in 1879. I think someone who takes on the task of writing A Brief History of Time has ultimately taught me the power of each moment we are given. As he said, “My goal is simple. It is a complete understanding of the universe.”
I love it when people push me beyond what I thought was possible, shattering my perceived limitations whether physically or mentally. That is leadership at its core.
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