You can be on Entrepreneur’s cover!

7 Worthy Takeaways From Stephen Hawking's Work to Make the Most of Your Time Treat learning and discovery as a journey and a process rather than as a goal. Things will look a lot simpler and more exciting

By Gagan Singla

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

You're reading Entrepreneur India, an international franchise of Entrepreneur Media.

Wikimedia Commons

Stephen Hawking was diagnosed with a serious motor neuron disease shortly after his 21st birthday and doctors gave him just 2 years to live. On 14th March 2018, Hawking passed away at the age of 76, a full 55 years after the doctor's prediction. What is really important is not the length of his life but the richness of his contribution and the content of his character under such adverse circumstances. Here are some key takeaways from the life of Stephen Hawking on how to make the best of your time. As Stephen Hawking summed it eloquently, "Time is the only resource in this world that is truly scarce".

1. Intelligence is the Ability To Adapt to Change

Of course, Darwin taught us long back that the species which survives the longest is not the strongest or the most powerful but the most adaptable. Hawking's life is a classic case of adapting to adverse circumstances right from using a full-time wheelchair to using a machine to speak when his motor nerves failed him completely. Interestingly, many of his bestselling books like "A Brief History of Time" and "Black Holes" were written after he had lost his ability to speak.

2. Focus on Things Your Disability Does Not Prevent You From Doing

By the mid-1980s, Hawking had lost his ability to speak but that did not impact his ability to be a professor and guide students or to write books to enlighten the world on the mysteries of the Universe. Had Hawking regretted the things he could not do like walking and talking, he would never have managed this level of productivity.

3. At All Times, Try to Make Sense of What You See

Hawking's theme was to always be curious and keep asking probing questions. "Look up at the stars and not down at your feet", was a classic Hawking imploration to probe the mysteries. Stars here is a metaphor for the mysteries of the universe and it is a call to all people to not get bogged down by the disabilities and impediments that we create within our minds.

4. Focus on the Joy of Discovering, Not the Rewards of Discovering

What Hawking basically means here is that research and exploration is a journey and not the final destination. The focus, therefore, should be to purely enjoy your exploration. The moment you start exploring the mysteries with the intent for a reward, the entire process becomes laborious. That is surely a great perspective on using time more productively and more seamlessly.

5. I Have So Much I Want to Do, I Hate to Waste Time

This quote from Hawking is important for three reasons. Firstly, it shows how a positive attitude towards life can make you a better time manager. Secondly, Hawking has always held the view that the time that goes does not come back and hence every person's focus should purely be on ensuring that they do not waste time. The lesson from Hawking is that you need to set high ambitions and commit yourself to it. That is the only way to achieve big things; respect time.

6. It is No Good Getting Furious if You Get Stuck

This is a very important takeaway. More often than not, we reach a dead end when confronted with complex problems that sound fairly abstruse. According to Hawking, the answer is to move on without losing out on your core problem. To cite an example, it took Stephen Hawking 29 years to crack the problem on black holes and information loss, but it is this kind of perseverance and multi-tasking that actually helps you make the best of your time.

7. If You Have Time to Complain, Then You Have Time to Find a Solution

This is all about adopting a positive approach to problems. More often than not, most of us tend to focus more on the problem than on the solution. The problem becomes a handicap rather than a trigger to find a solution. That is where time management comes in. As Hawking said, "If you can spend time complaining about the problem then why not spend the same time finding a solution to the problem. You are likely to get closer to the solution, that way."

If you browse the 7 key takeaways on time management and productivity, there are 3 things that we can really learn from Stephen Hawking…

  • When you are up against any hurdle in your task, keep moving but don't lose sight of your problem. Focus on the solution rather than on the problem.
  • Time is irreversible and therefore the more productively you utilize it the more fruitful and meaningful your life is going to be.
  • Treat learning and discovery as a journey and a process rather than as a goal. Things will look a lot simpler and more exciting.
Gagan Singla

Managing Director, blinkX, an initiative by JM Financial.

Gagan Singla is a Managing Director at BlinkX, a next-gen fintech started by JM Financial. Gagan has worked in various roles across multiple organizations, including HDFC Group, PwC UK, Deloitte US, IIFL, Angel One/Broking, Simplilearn US, Quikr,and Hughes. A Computer Science graduate from IIT Delhi and an MBA from IIM, Gagan has applied his expertise in analytics, data science, digital marketing, product management, and new-age technology to deliver multiplier business growth. 
Business News

I Designed My Dream Home For Free With an AI Architect — Here's How It Works

The AI architect, Vitruvius, created three designs in minutes, complete with floor plans and pictures of the inside and outside of the house.

Business Ideas

7 Link-Building Tactics You Need to Know to Skyrocket Your Website's Rankings

An essential component of SEO, link building is not just a 'Set them and forget them' proposition, but a dance of skills and strategies.

Business Ideas

63 Small Business Ideas to Start in 2024

We put together a list of the best, most profitable small business ideas for entrepreneurs to pursue in 2024.

Making a Change

Learn to Play Guitar Even if You Have No Previous Training for Just $20

Start with the beginner's crash course and learn how to play guitar in no time.

Business Solutions

Handle In-House Projects More Efficiently with MS Project Pro — Just $24 Through April 16

It's designed to help teams stay on task with features like management templates, timesheets, generators, and more.

Business News

Here's One Thing Americans Would Take a Pay Cut For — Besides Remote Work

An Empower survey found a high percentage of respondents would take a pay cut for better retirement benefits and remote work options.