Stephen Hawking was an iconic man and inspirational to all. The famed theoretical physicist, cosmologist, and author died yesterday of a progressive neurodegenerative disease at the age of 76.
What struck me the most about Hawking was his ability to provide such powerful insights into the meaning of life and work, even when his physical body didn’t allow him to do much. One of his most memorable quotes came in the form of the advice he gives his own children, which he told Diane Sawyer on ABC News in 2010:
“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.”
Now, these are some amazing words to live by.
This advice helped me get through some tough times with my own career and life. Having a purpose in your career is often understated how important it is.
Let me break the quote a bit further.
“Remember to look up at the stars and not down at your feet.”
I was never really a big thinker until recently. Thinking big and looking up at the stars once in a while will allow you to reflect on your life’s accomplishments. This part of the quote was a good reminder for me to keep moving forward and to have a bigger life vision.
Yes, it’s okay to put your head down and work, but don’t sacrifice your bigger vision. Look at the stars and visualize what your future may hold.
For entrepreneurs that are growing their business, this advice is as spot on as it can get. It’s easy to get caught up in the day to day activities, but it’s important to schedule time off so you can reflect and look at the stars.
You might think that you don’t have enough time to reflect, but your schedule is up to you. Use it wisely. Don’t get caught looking at your feet all day.
“Never give up work. Work gives you meaning and purpose and life is empty without it.”
The last time I had a job I didn’t like, I felt like I was trapped. I wanted to do good work, but it was really hard because the work didn’t mean anything to me. This, it struck me, was important–and I started looking for work that gave me purpose.
If you’re lucky enough to have work that you enjoy and gives you purpose, keep going. If you don’t know what your meaning and purpose is, then it’s time to start looking up at the stars.
Work can be frustrating at times, but don’t let it discourage you. It’s the path to real meaning in your life.
It’s tempting to give up especially when things aren’t going well for your business. Startups aren’t easy, and it can be really stressful. Take some time off if you have too, but don’t give up on work. You started something for a reason, so it’s important you see it through.
“If you are lucky enough to find love, remember it is there and don’t throw it away.”
The grass is always greener on the other side. Appreciate what you have and don’t discard it for something else.
I’ve used this advice as a reminder to appreciate what I have. It has helped me become a more positive person long-term.
Family, in my mind, is always the No. 1 priority, even if you have a company that’s growing. It’s easy to just keep hustling and grinding, and forget about the people that have helped support you as you spent time growing your business.
Love isn’t easy to find, and if you’re lucky enough to find it, cherish it.
Hawking was an amazing man and an inspiration to us all. I’ll definitely be giving my children this advice as well.
Thank you, Mr. Hawking.
Originally published at www.inc.com