Back to the complete issue
Wednesday, 31 March 2021

Exceptional lives and legacies

What makes an extraordinary life, you ask? If you desire real success, want meaningful work and a deeper connection to your spiritual life, and have the right motivation, then you are looking to live an extraordinary life, writes author Tony Robbins in his best-selling book, Unshakeable. An extraordinary life is not born of massive financial wealth, climbing the corporate ladder or achieving impressive titles. Rather, it is achieved when you can take control of your mind and deliberately rise to meet your challenges. Here are a handful of ordinary people who led extraordinary lives that have affected and inspired many.

Stephen Hawking: Hawking's life was extraordinary from beginning to end. When he was told at the age of 21 after developing ALS that he would only live for a few more years as the motor-neurone disease ate away at his nervous system, it made him more determined than ever to find out the answers to life's big questions. Hawking defied the medical odds and lived to 76, becoming the man behind some of the world's most incredible scientific discoveries. He was a physicist, cosmologist and an author who carried on working into his 70s, spinning theories, teaching students and writing A Brief History of Time— an accessible exploration of the mechanics of the universe that sold mns of copies. In addition to winning the Presidential Medal of Freedom, Hawking was also involved in the search for the great goal of physics — a “unified theory” that describes the laws of gravity.

Nikola Tesla: When asked what it felt to be the smartest man alive, Albert Einstein — the father of the atom bomb — reportedly said, “I don’t know, you have to ask Nikola Tesla.” The Serbian-American inventions paved the way for numerous modern-day technologies like electric motors, fluorescent lights, lasers, remote controls and the alternating current (AC). Tesla — aka “The genius who lit the world” — was recognized for his seminal contributions to physics, engineering and technological innovation when his name was applied to the standard international unit of magnetic induction (1 Tesla = 1 Weber per sqm) in 1960. Tesla was also a pioneer in radio — a technology that he demonstrated as early as 1893, and in which the Tesla coil played an important role. On his 75th birthday, he received a congratulatory letter from Einstein and was featured on the cover of Time magazine.

Muhammad Ali: Formerly Cassius Clay, Ali — the boxing legend who told everyone he was “the greatest” — is known for his exploits in and out the ring, his battle to defend his racial and religious rights before the US Supreme Court in the 60s, and his messages for peace and justice. Ali faced many stumbling blocks in his life and career paths — from being conscripted into the Vietnam War to battling Parkinson's disease for more than three decades, but he remained focused on his dream. Ali won an Olympic Gold Medal at the age of 18, became one of the youngest World Champions in history at the age of 22, and went on to become the only Heavyweight World Champion to win, lose, and recapture the heavyweight title three times. As an ambassador for Islam in the western world and a spokesperson for Parkinson’s, Ali became the first athlete to transcend sports and achieve real icon status. He inspired people not only to chase their dreams, but to live with honor, courage and strength. Former President Barack Obama says, "Ali shook up the world and the world is better for it."

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: Writing his first composition at the age of 5, publishing his first symphony at 8, then his first opera at 12, Mozart was an unrivaled child prodigy who managed to achieve real fame at a very young age. Mozart never attended school and received his entire musical education from his father. During his childhood, 14-year-old Mozart was commissioned to write operas for Milan's carnival, was admitted to Bologna's prestigious Accademia Filarmonica, and directed the first three performances of his opera series, “Mitridate, rè di Ponto.” He was only 35 when he died, leaving behind a collection of more than 600 compositions in different musical forms, some of which are considered to be the finest works in the Classical genre. Mozart was an influence on many subsequent composers including Beethoven and Tchaikovsky, according to a BBC radio program on his remarkable life (listen, runtime: 33:16).

Enterprise is a daily publication of Enterprise Ventures LLC, an Egyptian limited liability company (commercial register 83594), and a subsidiary of Inktank Communications. Summaries are intended for guidance only and are provided on an as-is basis; kindly refer to the source article in its original language prior to undertaking any action. Neither Enterprise Ventures nor its staff assume any responsibility or liability for the accuracy of the information contained in this publication, whether in the form of summaries or analysis. © 2022 Enterprise Ventures LLC.

Enterprise is available without charge thanks to the generous support of HSBC Egypt (tax ID: 204-901-715), the leading corporate and retail lender in Egypt; EFG Hermes (tax ID: 200-178-385), the leading financial services corporation in frontier emerging markets; SODIC (tax ID: 212-168-002), a leading Egyptian real estate developer; SomaBay (tax ID: 204-903-300), our Red Sea holiday partner; Infinity (tax ID: 474-939-359), the ultimate way to power cities, industries, and homes directly from nature right here in Egypt; CIRA (tax ID: 200-069-608), the leading providers of K-12 and higher level education in Egypt; Orascom Construction (tax ID: 229-988-806), the leading construction and engineering company building infrastructure in Egypt and abroad; Moharram & Partners (tax ID: 616-112-459), the leading public policy and government affairs partner; Palm Hills Developments (tax ID: 432-737-014), a leading developer of commercial and residential properties; Mashreq (tax ID: 204-898-862), the MENA region’s leading homegrown personal and digital bank; Etisalat Misr (tax ID: 235-071-579), the leading telecoms provider in Egypt; and Industrial Development Group (IDG) (tax ID:266-965-253), the leading builder of industrial parks in Egypt.