Thinking Out Loud: Balance: The ability to stay upright and steady

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The story of Alfred Nobel and his rise to fame is a journey with many twists and turns.
After his brother was tragically killed in an explosion, Alfred Nobel intensified his search to develop a safer way to handle explosive chemicals. He invented gelignite, more stable and powerful than dynamite and in 1887 patented ballistite, a predecessor of cordite. Nobel was most famous as the inventor of dynamite. In fact, he had over 355 patents worldwide before his death. Alfred Nobel was a classic example of a “man on a mission”. The year he was born, 1833, his father had to file for bankruptcy and Alfred grew up in a very austere environment. He knew he would have to find something that he liked and work at it until he succeeded. He had an interest in chemistry and hence, his success with the development of many patents and inventions. He amassed his wealth from his patents, and from his investment in oil on the Caspian Sea. But he was not married, and was very lonely. At the age of 43, without any formal education but the ability to speak six languages Nobel placed an advertisement in a newspaper for a wife: “Wealthy, highly-educated elderly gentleman seeks lady of mature age, versed in languages, as secretary and supervisor of household.” Although he had some interested responses he never married. In 1888, the death of his brother Ludvig caused several newspapers to publish obituaries of Alfred in error. A French obituary stated “Le marchand de la mort est mort” (“The merchant of death is dead”). Alarmed at his advancing mortality he prepared a will which, after his death, left the vast amount of his large estate to a trust fund to create what is known today as the Nobel Prize. His legacy has been immense and global with over 900 Laureates and organizations honored. Alfred Nobel died a lonely man and, it has been suggested, that he overindulged in his work. He did not find a balance. Nobel excelled at work but apparently did not find time for his personal happiness. In our life journey, we must always evaluate our balance and make sure we are somewhere near the middle of the road. As George Bernard Shaw stated, “Life isn’t about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself”.

2017-02-22T15:10:25+00:00 February 3rd, 2016|Uncategorized|