“Strength does not come from winning. Your struggles develop your strengths. When you go through hardships and decide not to surrender, that is strength.”
John Nash had been one of the most reputed and contributing mathematicians in the second half of the 20th century. While this fact is remarkable in his life, the irony is that his life itself is tremendously more remarkable. With its sporadic plunges into unfathomably deep valleys and then with its resilient thrusts to heights of peaks, with all its ebb and tide, his life is an adventure. An adventure worth remembering and awe inspiringly motivating.
By the age of 28, he had earned a lot of prestige for his mathematical work and its contributions towards sciences. His skill was unrivalled and uniquely great. His name at this young age, already started reverberating through the walls of every mathematical conference and discussion. His commitment, finely supplimented with his onliest dexterity had made waves in Mathematics and governing dynamics (Economics). But this was the time, at 28 years of age, when John Nash started slipping into Schizophrenia. That was the time when the world came crumbling upon him as he slipped deeper and deeper into the illness. Schizophrenia is a psychiatric disease where the patients hallucinate to disastrous extents. They start to imagine things, characters and scenarios that do not exist and become victim to their own imagination eventually, in many a case, leading to their own death and in some cases, deaths of others too.
By the age of 29, Nash was completely taken over and possessed by his hallucinations. John Nash, a mathematician spawning breath taking results at such young age started to believe that aliens were sending him secret messages, intimating a catastrophic disaster impending to wrought its wrath upon earth and that he was selected the savior of Earth. Since then for over 5 years, to him, every word in the newspapers, every article in the magazines, talks on the radios, names of people and almost everything that existed around him had been a secret message sent to him by aliens regarding ways to save the Earth.
The various types of treatments like electric shocks and insulin injections have thumped his intellect greatly. His wife, beautiful and irrepressibly loving towards him as she was, who took this great responsibility to take care of her sick husband, feared his intellect might completely be subverted to an extent where he won’t ever be able to work in Math again.
But by the time the psychiatrists thought his intellect would be completely trounced by their medical processes, Nash showed signs of convalescence and eventually recuperated to an extent where he could not only be set free from the hospital but also work in a university. This saved Nash from losing all his brains and let him work again on mathematical problems.
But unbeknown to people for many years, Nash had constantly been fighting his way through the hallucinations even after he was set free by the hospital. What made people believe him to be sane was his firm sinew to distinguish between what is real and what is not. Though later, he had many a time fallen prey to his weird hallucinations, as they were, he could recoil himself back every time to sanity in order to concentrate on mathematical studies. Every minute, every second, every thought and sight for him was a violent tousle in his brain as to whether it was real or imaginary.
In spite of all this traumatically troublesome mental seethe and his incessant fight with life, he had done things unimaginable. After all the mental agony he had been through, his endurance had thrusted him to zenith of mathematical work of the time. His fortitude to push himself through all the hardships and curses life has thrown towards him, had eventually led him towards winning a Nobel in Economics in 1994 for his work in Game Theory. This was his answer he slammed on the faces of all those who once said he would never amount to much. This had been his answer to all those who lost hope in him, leaving him to wilderness and illness to cast its wrath upon him during his abjectly ill period.
Nash had been given astounding amounts of intellect. But on the other side, he had been chained by life preventing him from it. He has proven his mettle by breaking himself from the chains and making his way to the top towards Nobel. Well, the message is, everyone of us is provided with some talent. But what is intriguing is, how many of us are utilizing it. How many of us are squeezing every drop of juice out of us? Nash had been repeatedly knocked down by life but could find his way back. And this calls many of us to accept that we really do have a serious problem.
Question yourself. Why and where is your intellect and talent draining? What can you do to block this drainage of your potentials and capabilities? Its time to ponder over it my friend. Its time to work yourself out. Its time to get motivated by the inspiring story of John Forbes Nash, who’s name will last forever for his mind-boggling and stunning contributions in the field of mathematics and numerous other studies.
– Pratheek M Reddy