Back in April, Stephen Hawking spoke via 3D hologram at the Sydney Opera House. Take a moment for that to sink in. Stephen Hawking, a man suffering from Lou Gehrig's disease since his diagnosis as a 21-year-old in 1963, spoke by controlling a computer with a single cheek muscle. He was located at Cambridge University in the UK, and a 3-Dimensional hologram was transmitted across the globe to the Sydney Opera House. A man who was given the life expectancy of living until 23 touched over 5,000 lives via computer technology, science, and immeasurable will-power. He spoke of black hole radiation, parallel universes, and curiosity; he answered questions with grace and a slice of wit. Are you not inspired yet? Is it possible to not be inspired yet? The statement that left a mark on me is as follows:
Remember to look up at the stars and not down at your feet. Try to make sense of what you see and wonder about what makes a universe exist. Be curious.
Be curious. I reflect on my childhood. The umpire for my hometown's local t-ball league nicknamed me "Questioness" because I asked him a question at every bat. What would happen if I ran this way? Can I go ahead and go to second base; that seems shorter? Why do we only have three strikes? Why are my team colors gold and black? The list went on... For two years, I asked Mr. Burgess questions about the game. He gave me the ball from my last bat on that field, and my athletic career ended shortly there after. I wasn't quite meant for sports.
Trying to keep our childlike curiosity is a well-known inspirational theme of adulthood. We graduate from some level of schooling and eventually feel like we know enough to make things happen. But it's so important that we don't allow ourselves to stop learning after graduation. We are perpetual pupils. We have to stay curious. Stephen Hawking is quite literally a genius due to his ridiculous relentlessness. He has topped the charts in what we "thought" could happen for him, and on a larger scale what we "thought" about the universe. There is so much more to know, and we must continue to recognize that we don't yet understand the limits of life.
So how do we stay curious? How do we continue to keep our eyes on the stars? Hawking finished with this:
And however difficult life may seem, there is always something you can do and succeed at. It matters that you don’t give up.
Your success is defined by what you think is successful, and there is something that you are successful at. The scale is relative. Hawking has certainly made many a failure; I've made many, many a failure... We have to divert our thoughts to make sense of those failures. We have to raise our hand and keep asking questions. If no one hears you, wave it around and shout. If no one can answer it, see that as your opportunity to explore it. You're already halfway there just by noticing there was a question to be asked.