Being 2nd is still a great achievement

January 1 was here and gone. The second day of a brand new year is ongoing. No one gives much value to the second day as much as they give it to the first but Isaac Asimov, one of the greatest science fiction writers saw it to be the perfect day and he chose this day as his birthday.  Wait, you might get a little confused here. ‘How can a person choose his birthday’ is the question in your head, right? Well, what happened was Asimov was born in Petrovichi, Russia. His parents wished to move to New York City and make a living in the land of opportunities.

They left Russia on January 1923 and reached USA on February. His mother changed his birthdate to September 7, 1919 to admit him in school a little early. When Asimov found this later in his prime, he chose January 2nd as his official date of birth. He said “There is, however, no way of finding out. My parents were always uncertain and it really doesn’t matter. I celebrate January 2, 1920, so let it be.”

He was very much fond of books and typewriting.  When he was in America he was asked to serve in World War- II. He was not known for his physical strength but for his phenomenal skills in typing. He served the army’s official correspondence wing. People around him have said that he once told them “If the doctor told me I had six minutes to live, I’d type a little faster.”

Asimov is the reason why the word ‘Robotics’ exist today. He is a polymath. He taught himself to read when he was just 5 years old. His father ran several candy shops but Asimov was fascinated with science so much. He finished his Ph.D in Biochemistry and worked as a Professor in Boston University.

Did you know that from his typewriter came 500 books? Yes, his works have been adapted into Hollywood movies and series. The blockbuster ‘I,Robot’ starring Will Smith is an adaptation of his book. He wrote several sci-fi works. He once said “The saddest aspect of life is science gathers knowledge faster than society gathers wisdom”. That is very true even today. The world has so many technologies but are they all used for the growth of mankind? It is question you readers have to answer.

Despite writing many sci-fi works, he has also written about Astronomy, Biology, Mathematics and Religion. But he was ridiculed by his contemporaries most notably by Arthur C.Clarke who is considered to be the best science fiction writer.

Arthur Clarke’s ‘2001: A Space Odyssey’ published in 1965 was considered to be the best sci-fi works ever but Arthur was an egotist. He wittily made fun of Asimov and he replied with the same tone. Back and forth the duo went but it was only entertaining. The men were titans in their field and the literary world enjoyed it. When the critics begin to call Arthur the best, Asimov was never ashamed to be called as the second best.

It was fate when both men, in a hurry, hired the same taxi to New York. They had no way but to share the car. When they started to speak to each other in person, they began to appreciate each other and each man complimented the other to be the best. The world painted them as rivals but they later realized the amount of respect they had for each other.

Even after that, critics called Asimov to be the 2nd best but he was never mindful of that. He let his works speak for him. Asimov is an example that being second is not an insult. We must take from him that there is always someone above us and we have to move on and not worry about not becoming the first. It is good to let them talk and let our success talk for us.