Dare to be curious — question almost everything
While most of us are intent on learning how to live a more fulfilling life, many of the world’s greatest thinkers have devoted their careers to exploring the world and our place in it.
Among those who have emerged with insightful discoveries about our world and beyond are Galileo Galilei, Isaac Newton and Albert Einstein.
Another world-renowned theoretical physicist who is considered one of the most brilliant minds of his generation is Stephen Hawking.
He produced a body of work that has transformed our understanding of space and time. Hawking is known not only because of his discoveries but also because he managed to defy his physical limitations to live an inspirational life.
The questions we ask ourselves about our world and the answers we find can hugely impact who we are as individuals. The big questions about life, love, meaning and everything in between don’t have easy answers, but that doesn’t make them any less important.
Everyone has big questions about who we are, why we’re here, and what comes next. We may not know the answers to these ultimate queries now, but that doesn’t stop us from searching for them.
The brilliant cosmologist spent his entire career decoding the secrets of the cosmos, but he’s also a man of wisdom when it comes to living your best life. Professor Hawking has some pretty sound timeless wisdom on how to live a more fulfilled life.
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His most enduring lesson may be that you should never underestimate your abilities — no matter what anyone else tells you.
Dare to be curious — question almost everything
“It surprises me how disinterested we are today about things like physics, space, the universe and philosophy of our existence, our purpose, our final destination. Its a crazy world out there. Be curious.” ― Stephen Hawking
In his book, Brief Answers to the Big Questions, Hawking encourages us to be more curious. “Be curious. And however difficult life may seem, there is always something you can do and succeed at. It matters that you don’t just give up. Unleash your imagination. Shape the future,” he said.
Never assume — ask questions before you make assumptions, and always look at both sides of an argument before jumping to conclusions.
Curiosity is a key trait for success in life and business. It’s what drives us to learn, grow and progress. But too often, we close ourselves off from new experiences and ideas because we’re afraid of what we might discover.
Awareness of the power of curiosity goes hand in hand with being open-minded and accepting of new ideas. As a general rule, it’s always better to be open-minded and curious than closed-minded and sceptical.
“Study hard what interests you the most in the most undisciplined, irreverent and original manner possible,” Richard Feynman said.
Asking questions and learning new things is how we grow as people, gain new skills and insights, and advance our careers. Being curious can help you see the world with fresh eyes and find new ways to solve life problems.
Hawking thought, “the greatest enemy of knowledge is not ignorance, it is the illusion of knowledge.” It is impossible to completely understand everything about anything in this world.
Knowledge is also a double-edged sword that can be used to defend false and true beliefs. Knowledge is not an end but rather a means to an end. Don’t stop questioning conventional wisdom.
Knowledge should not stop at any point in your life; instead, it should grow with you and expand constantly.
Your ability to imagine is a superpower
“The human mind is an incredible thing. It can conceive of the magnificence of the heavens and the intricacies of the basic components of matter. Yet for each mind to achieve its full potential, it needs a spark. The spark of enquiry and wonder.” — Stephen Hawking
Einstein used thought experiments for some of his world-changing discoveries. “I am enough of an artist to draw freely upon my imagination. Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world,” Einstein said.
The ability to imagine is a vital part of human transformation.
When we imagine something, our brain is actually creating it in our mind. When we think about something, our brain cells fire and make changes in our bodies. This is how we grow and learn every day!
“I have spent my life travelling across the universe, inside my mind,” Hawking said. For a more exciting life, nurture your imagination. It is one of the most important timeless skills you can have as an adult. It allows you to make connections that others might miss.
It is a skill that anyone can practice. It has been linked to success in all walks of life, from business and sports to education and science. An essential role of imagination is to help us think differently, which can lead to new ways of thinking and new ways of solving problems.
“Logic will get you from A to Z; imagination will get you everywhere,” Einstein said. Hawking’s life is a perfect example that shows that limitations are only in your mind. He proved that you could achieve anything if you put your mind to it.
Invest time — choose alive time
Hawking thought time was too precious to lose. “I am very aware of the preciousness of time. Seize the moment. Act now,” he said.
Seizing the moment means living in the present instead of worrying about the future or regretting what has already happened. It means appreciating life and your place on earth as a time traveller. It means choosing to invest in alive time experiences.
It also means being conscious of your mortality, so you can value how far you’ve come, the people in your life and opportunities to make memories with the people you love.
“When you are faced with the possibility of an early death, it makes you realise that there are lots of things you want to do before your life is over,” says Stephen Hawking.
Seizing time also means doing what you can to create or design a better future for yourself and others without boundaries. “I don’t believe in boundaries, either for what we can do in our personal lives or for what life and intelligence can accomplish in our universe,” says Hawking.
It is easy to get caught up in the daily pace of life. We all have busy schedules, family obligations and things to do. But it is vital to make quality time for meaningful experiences.
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Don’t let the hustle of everyday life drown your purpose.
For your best life, aim for a balance of work and play. To relax, take time out for physical activity — it can improve mental clarity and boost your mood. To feel energised almost every day, seek stimulation from intellectual pursuits.
To be creative, surround yourself with ideas and people who challenge you. To learn new skills, immerse yourself in topics you are curious about. And to live longer, eat healthily and manage stress levels by reducing demands on your body.
“Life is an adventure of passion, risk, danger, laughter, beauty, love; a burning curiosity to go with the action to see what it is all about, to go search for a pattern of meaning, to burn one’s bridges because you’re never going to go back anyway, and to live to the end,” says Saul D. Alinsky
Your best life is about prioritising — making sure you spend time on activities that bring you joy so you can enjoy every moment of your life to the fullest.
Contributed by Thomas Oppong
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