A story is told of a man who was reading his morning newspaper and to his surprise and horror, he read his name in the obituary column.
The newspapers had mistakenly reported his death and they had the wrong person of course.
However, He was shocked to read the news headline around his death. Anyone would be – especially in his state, He had also lost a brother.
When he had regained his composure, He read it again but this time, with much curiosity – He wanted to find out what people had said about him now that he was no more.
The obituary included sentences like, “the Dynamite King Dies.” and “He was the merchant of death”.
when he read the words “merchant of death,” he asked himself a question,
“Is this how I am going to be remembered?”
He decided that this was not the way he wanted to be remembered and decided to change.
From that day on, he started working towards world peace.
In his will, he directed that the bulk of his vast fortune be placed in a fund in which the interest would be “annually distributed in the form of prizes to those who, during the preceding year, shall have conferred the greatest benefit on mankind.”
Although he offered no public reason for his creation of the prizes, it is widely believed that he did so out of moral regret over the increasingly lethal uses of his inventions in war.
This mans’ name was Alfred Bernhard Nobel..and he is widely remembered today by the great Nobel Prize Award – which is one of the most prestigious humanitarian prizes any human being on earth can receive.
About Alfred Nobel
Alfred Bernhard Nobel was born in Stockholm in 1833, In 1863, he invented a way to control the detonation of nitroglycerin, a highly volatile liquid that had been recently discovered but was previously regarded as too dangerous for use. Two years later, Nobel invented the blasting cap, an improved detonator that inaugurated the modern use of high explosives
In 1864, One of Nobel’s nitroglycerin factory blew up, killing his younger brother and several others. This did not deter him and searching for a safer explosive, Nobel discovered in 1867 that the combination of nitroglycerin and a porous substance called kieselguhr produced a highly explosive mixture that was much safer to handle and use.
Nobel named his latest invention “dynamite,” – From the Greek word dynamis, meaning “power.” Securing patents on dynamite, Nobel acquired a fortune as humanity put his invention to use in construction and warfare
In 1875, Nobel created a more powerful form of dynamite, blasting gelatin, and in 1887 introduced ballistite, a smokeless nitroglycerin powder.
Around that time, one of Nobel’s brothers died in France, and French newspapers printed obituaries in which they mistook him for Alfred. One headline read, “The merchant of death is dead.”
After he died in San Remo, Italy, on December 10, 1896, the majority of his estate went toward the creation of prizes to be given annually in the fields of physics, chemistry, medicine, literature, and peace.
the portion of his will establishing the Nobel Peace Prize read, “ to the person who has done the most or best work for fraternity among nations, for the abolition or reduction of standing armies, and for the holding and promotion of peace congresses.” Exactly five years after his death, the first Nobel awards were presented.
The Nobel Prize has been honoring men and women from all corners of the globe for outstanding achievements In Physics, Chemistry, Medicine, Literature, and for work in peace since 1901 when it first started.
“Good wishes alone will not ensure peace.”
Nobel himself, however, remains a figure of paradoxes and contradictions: a brilliant, lonely man, part pessimist and part idealist, who invented the powerful explosives used in modern warfare but also established the world’s most prestigious prizes for intellectual services rendered to humanity.
What Does this mean for you?
There are many life lessons that can be gleamed from Alfred Nobels’ life and his story. The main ones being
Throughout his life, Alfred Nobel was an inventor and had patents in explosives – as he invented the “dynamite” – the reason for one of his nicknames “the merchant of death” was a tag earned for the destructive power of his inventions
What changed for Alfred was not listening to others but listening and knowing they were right in their description of what he had unknowingly become and what he would be remembered for.
This is one area we all can learn from as humans, thinking so much time has passed and we cannot change the trajectory of our lives, We think to ourselves “it’s too late” “I’d rather stay the same” and any of the limiting self-talk that keeps us from doing something different.
This never stopped Albert Nobel and prior to this article, maybe you only knew the Nobel prize for the good works (and I doubt you knew the origins till now).
It does not matter when, You can always change how you are remembered regardless of your past mistakes.
You can start at any point and chart a new course for your life.
Most people with uneasy pasts end up with the best futures.
And like Nobel, You won’t always be perfect but you can choose how you are remembered.