It is that time of the year again — no, I am not referring to the World Series, although it is that time of the year as well! It is the season when the Nobel prizes are handed out.
The Nobel Prizes were first awarded in 1901, five years after the death of Alfred Nobel. Mr. Nobel was a real cracker jack (pun intended). He started early in business, inventing and patenting dynamite before the age of 35. He amassed a great fortune as a result.
In 1888, a French newspaper published his obituary, announcing that "The Merchant of Death is dead". It was quite a critical piece, suggesting that he could have left a better legacy than creating a product that killed people. There were three interesting outcomes from this literary misadventure; the first was that Alfred had not died (he would die on December 10, 1896). The second outcome was that the obituary so disturbed him, it caused him to wake up to what kind of legacy, or impact, he was leaving the world. While yes, he was leaving some great holes in the earth, could he help mankind in another manner?
In November of 1895, Nobel created the Nobel Prizes which were to be given out annually to anyone across the globe. They were to be given in 5 key areas; physical science, chemistry, medical science, literary work, and, last but not least, the peace prize to the person who has given the most to society.
If you were to run around your office this morning and ask your coworkers what Alfred Nobel is best known for, what would most of them say? I’m betting you a box of matches it isn’t dynamite. It is very true our talents and motivation can be used to help or to hurt – it is up to us which path they will take.
You might be wondering what the third outcome of the article was – I’m hoping that it will teach all of us that it is never too late to change the course of your life or career. You may not create the next Nobel laureate, but you can leave a legacy that makes a positive difference to those around you.
This week’s 10 Minute WORKout: Take 10 minutes to write your own obituary.
Along the road with you,