Standing On The Shoulders of Giants

In February 1676, Sir Isaac Newton penned these words to his fellow scientists:

“We were dwarfs on the shoulders of giants, so that we can see more than they, and things at a great distance, not by virtue of any sharpness of sight on our part, or any physical distinction, but because we were carried high and raised up by their giant size”

(Image courtesy of Dollar Photo Club)

I sat through a one-hour lecture on 4000 years of management history with great difficulty as I asked myself the question, “What is the relevance of this to me?” On a deeper reflection I realized how myopic I was in my thinking. Here I was unable to appreciate the energy, effort and passion that had produced this amazing intellectual work. While I find no immediate use for what I heard, there are countless of others who will.

It’s Not About You

I now think differently about the work I do, the decisions I make and the actions I take. Everything is important and everything is relevant. Today, tomorrow or 4000 years to come, someone somewhere will have a chance to build on your work and will thank you for making the effort.

What value do you put on the work you do? Beyond yourself, have you stopped to consider the effects of your thoughts, the implications of your decisions, and the consequences of your actions?

Yes, it’s not about you. It’s about those coming after you. To leave a legacy is to think beyond yourself and have some consideration for those who will inhabit this world after you. As long as there is breath in you, you cannot resign yourself to where your circumstances leave you or get complacent about your station in life. There is more to be done and you have a unique role to play. Yes, there is one more mountain to climb.

Where Do You Get Your Inspiration?

What inspires you to keep going when all that is inside of you wants to give up? After 27 years in prison, Nelson Mandela said, “I found inspiration in a poem that helped me stand when all inside me wanted to lie down”. What inspires you to get up and move on?

I draw strength from the achievements of those who have gone before me, whose accounts and thoughts I glean from the books I read. I look beyond myself to the many I can assist on their journey just like many have helped me on my journey. You must find inspiration from outside of yourself. You must look around you at the things in your world from which you benefit – not from your direct effort, but from the effort of those who went before you.

Today you have available to you an enormous amount of information, knowledge and wisdom. That which took several men and women the whole of their lives laboring and sweating to investigate, learn and understand is now available to you at the click of a mouse. To whom much is given, much is expected.

You can be more, do more and achieve more than you can think or imagine; you only need to make the required effort to climb on the shoulders of those who have gone ahead of you. It can be exhausting trying to ‘reinvent the wheel’. Choose to be efficient by leveraging your way to success. As you acquire and leverage knowledge, you can take advantage of the opportunities unseen by many simply because you are standing on the shoulders of giants.

Question: What inspires you to get up and continue to make the effort to learn and grow?