The wonders of the universe fascinate me. The vast, seemingly immeasurable distances of time and space never ceases to astound and amaze me. I walk out in the darkness, and gaze upward most of the time. On a clear sky, I look up to see the stars, planets, and the moon, and am filled with a sense of wonder. What’s out there? Are we alone? I look up in the sky, and realize that I see the past. Some of the light I see took years to reach my eyes in that very moment. Take a look at the Hubble Deep Field, every shining blob, every speck of light are distant and ancient galaxies. The light we see in this photo predate our own galaxy. The faint light, reaching us after billions of years.
Although I don’t have a college degree in astronomy, and cannot begin to comprehend some of the advanced math and physics required to fully understand orbital mechanics, or how the universe works. I can gaze upon its beauty and be overwhelmed and inspired, as this only requires admiration and the ability to appreciate the unknown. Passion for astronomical things is always present within me, after all, we’re all made of the dust of stars, right? Literally, the elements in our bodies were forged in deaths of stars, long ago.
I like to watch many astronomy and science shows on TV, and one of my favorites is Star Talk, currently on the National Geographic Channel. I love how the show fuses science and pop culture. I believe shows like this can help to inspire and can provide a wonderful gateway for further exploration. Some young, impressionable child alive today may be the one to make an Einstein-like discovery. Perhaps someone alive today will be the first one to fly and land on Mars. This impressionable youth may be watching and feeling the passion grow. Sometimes a spark is all that’s required.
One particular Star Talk episode recently aired contained an interview with the host, Neil Degrasse Tyson, with notable actress Mayim Bailik of “The Big Bang Theory” TV show. In the show, her character has a Ph.D. in neuroscience. However, in real life, Mayim also has a Ph.D. in neuroscience. As a child actress, she had the opportunity to learn from a tutor, who was very passionate about science and biology. The love for learning and science rubbed off on her. In this day of many actors behaving poorly, especially many child actors who would end up losing their way, she is a great role model for learning and achieving.
One part of the episode, Tyson discussed the idea of lost opportunities. The idea being that many people never had that one person to spark or shape their passion, and went in a different direction. Mayim was fortunate enough to know and learn from someone who loved science, and passed along this love to her. The ability to inspire and motivate others through our actions and passions is within every one of us.
Regardless of whether we like it or not, we’re all role models, to varying extents. Very few of us are celebrities or sport figures, but we all can still inspire others with our passion. In my case, I love astronomy. I may not have a Ph.D. in astrophysics, but it doesn’t mean I’m not able to love it just the same. Obviously, I’m not going to be the next Stephen Hawking, but through my love of astronomy, perhaps I can inspire this individual. The possibilities are infinite.
Let your passion and enthusiasm show. Be proud that you may love to read or paint. Embrace your love of playing an instrument, or running. You may be that one person that inspires someone simply by feeding and embracing your passion for life. Your love of quilting may fuel the creative nature of a child who may embrace a more creative life. Someone good with computers may spark the interest in someone to make a career, and consequently, a life change. A dead-end, time-clock punching job may be left behind for a new career endeavor. If someone is interested in what you’re doing, show them why. Talk to them and enrich their life, if for just a bit. Mayim benefited from a tutor who possessed passion. What if her tutor was just going through the motions, and just focusing on getting a paycheck? Would the spark of interest and passion have begun within Mayim, had this individual not cared so much?
Embrace the passion for life, and change the world. Sometimes the world changes through a monumental event or discovery. Often times, though, the change comes from a long series of small events. Inspiration, no matter what the quantity, will make for a better life experience for everyone. Spread your love and enthusiasm of things to those around you. Others may not have the same interests or desires as you, but the passion may help others find direction and move forward. This is such a small and easy thing to do. Keep learning and growing, and find new passions along the way, and share them with others.