We Stand on the Shoulders of Giants

October 2, 2020
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“We are social creatures to the inmost center of our being. The notion that one can begin anything at all from scratch, free from the past, or unindebted to others, could not conceivably be more wrong.”
Karl Popper, philosopher and professor (28 Jul 1902-1994)

This morning, I drank the best cup of coffee, made my youngest breakfast and lunch, hugged her, and then sent her off to school. I prepared for my and my husband’s podcast, “Spiritually Hungry,” and worked out for two hours with the TA method. Afterward, I worked on my next book.

Why do I feel the need to share any of this? Because none of it would have been possible without the hard work and effort of others over many, many years.

For instance, I’m a devoted follower and friend of fitness pioneer Tracy Anderson, who founded the TA method that I thoroughly enjoy. With her background in movement (she came to New York on a dance scholarship), she researched, refined, self-tested, and ultimately transformed her own body by activating small muscles and keeping them consistently challenged. Convinced her results could be every woman’s results, she brought her method to a focus group of hundreds of women, transforming their bodies into a dancer’s physique. Her trailblazing method resonated with my philosophy on fitness. Always an avid exercise buff, I knew first-hand how physical activity not only benefited my body but also calmed and focused my mind. I was naturally drawn to her custom, scientific workouts, tracking, and graphing of results.

The same workout is also in some small part thanks to the tireless efforts of Supreme Court Justice, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, whose passing has left many of us introspective. As a woman, if you played school sports, purchased property in your own name, have your own credit cards and credit history, and expect equal pay and respect in the workplace (among other things), you have Ruth Bader Ginsburg to thank. 

My work teaching, writing, mentoring, and lecturing is only possible because of my teachers, the Rav and Karen Berg. Forty (40) years ago, Karen asked the Rav to teach her the wisdom of Kabbalah—something no woman in history had ever been allowed to study. And against all the rules, the Rav agreed. Their connection and passion launched a partnership, a worldwide movement, a family, and countless friendships. The Rav and Karen are also the reason I, quite literally, have my husband, who stands by my side every single day with unconditional love and support. For those who don’t know, Michael is their son.

It’s almost impossible to express their impact upon Michael, me, our children, and the entire world. Their personal story inspires me and makes me think about my life decisions, and how I and all of us arrived at this place in time together. 

All the goals I have achieved and will achieve are because I stand on the shoulders of giants. Imagine if we didn’t build on the work of others, if every automaker redesigned the wheel each time they designed a car. We’d still be driving something not too far removed from the original model. Thankfully, we build on the work of those who came before us, people like the Rav, Karen, and Ruth Bader Ginsburg. 

We stand where we are, not because of individual effort, but because of our collective efforts and the influence we have on each other. That interconnectedness is how we will become giants whose shoulders others will stand upon one day. I am humbled and filled with gratitude for all those whose work gave me the opportunities I have today. 

Rethink moment:

Think about all the things you take for granted in your day-to-day life and pause. Consider the efforts of those who came before you. Dedicate yourself to building upon their work in whatever work you do.


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