Looking Up

"Remember to look up at the stars and not at your feet...it matters just that you don't give up." ~ Stephen Hawking

Confession: I don’t know a lot about theoretical physics. In fact, I don’t know a lot about physics. I know the important role it plays in our life. I remember some key physics concepts, and I’m intrigued by many of the big questions physicists try to answer. But, generally speaking, I’m ignorant to it all.

And maybe with physics, that’s an ok thing to be. Ignorant that is. Being better at physics wouldn’t make me a better writer, after all. I don’t believe that understanding black holes or the big bang will improve my content marketing campaigns. So, I’m ok with my level of knowledge and understanding in terms of physics.

It’s amazing to me, though, that a preeminent physicist inspires me every day. Today is a pretty big day for science buffs. Not only is it Einstein’s birthday and #InternationalPiDay, it is now also the day that marks the passing of noted physicist Stephen Hawking.

Stephen’s view of the world and his quest to find answers to big questions, and then translate them into more layperson’s terms, was even more impactful based on how he lived his life. Given only two years to live more than 50 years ago, Stephen not only defied the odds, he continued to break boundaries.

So what does physics have to do with a pro-diversity, anti-racism, anti-bigotry movement? To me, everything.

Stephen’s passion to look up and not down, and to move forward versus giving up is paramount to a successful movement. Causes and movements, by their very nature, are not easy. Many people are ignorant or misinformed about the issues. It is an uphill slog, to say the least. 

What does it take to start a movement? In a recent post, the TATE shares that there are 9 steps, I venture there’s a tenth.

  1. Choose your cause – What are you passionate about? In other words, what do you want to stand up, speak out and push back against?
  2. Learn – What’s the current (and historic) climate around this cause? Who is saying what? What does this all mean? Ask big questions, and hunt for the answers.
  3. Find your tribe – Find like-minded people who are as passionate about your cause as you. Learn from one another.
  4. Speak out – Share your message with others. Use all tools at your disposal (social media works).
  5. Be innovative – Let your creative juices flow, and share your message in ways that capture attention and interest. Be bold.
  6. Values – What guides you? Set out your values as a guidepost to others. This helps keep your tribe aligned and your focus on your passion.
  7. Get rooted – Use your tribe to grow your grassroots movement. Be seen. Join others. Stand together.
  8. Move – The thing about a movement is that it takes action. So do something. Do it regularly. Be active.
  9. Push back – Peacefully and respectfully. This isn’t about violence. But it is about being brave and bold.

And here’s my suggested tenth:

Don’t give up – In the words of Stephen Hawking “Remember to look up at the stars and not at your feet...it matters just that you don't give up.” Creating or joining a movement won’t be easy. So be ready to do the work. Stay focused. Be positive. And don’t give up.


Victoria Ford

Victoria thinks the world could do with a lot more heart. Her goal? To encourage others to stand up, speak out and push back against hatred.