On The Shoulders of Giants is a tribute to the giants of life – the scientists, scholars, writers and philosophers – that have positively influenced our understanding of the world and offered us new perspectives. These are the giants whose words litter personal developments books, whose wisdom is often spun to create self-help homilies about the all-abiding importance of a positive attitude.
But let’s face it; having a positive attitude is easy when life is good. It’s easy when you are already thinking happy thoughts to remember to always expect the best. It’s easy when you’re supported by a loving relationship, a fulfilling career or great friends to feel optimistic about life. It’s easy for the quotes and snippets of wisdom to clearly resonate with your experiences, serving only to galvanize your positive disposition.
But what happens when the shit hits the fan? What happens when everything you know is ripped away from you? What happens when the love of your life runs off with your best friend, leaving you with three young children? What happens when you lose your job and your house gets repossessed? What happens when your marriage falls apart or your business goes down the tubes? Or what happens if you suffer from chronic illness or your child is diagnosed with a terminal disease?
Does the wisdom of philosophers or scientists hold any weight then?
Let’s face it, life’s not always pretty. It’s hard, it’s messy and it’s unpredictable. It’s often stranger than fiction and it can break your heart. But as this book will attest, real life is also magnificent, beautiful and awe-inspiring. We each are a composite of the experiences and conditioning we grow up with. There is goodness and kindness all around us and we survive or prosper because we are able to stand on the shoulders of giants.
Giants can take the form of great philosophers and scientists, great presenters, poets and writers. Perhaps, more importantly, they can take the form of a good friend, a wise elder, a loving stranger or a protective teacher – everyday heroes who profoundly touch our lives and change its course without ever really knowing the gift they have given.
My hope is that On The Shoulders of Giants will open your eyes to the profound wisdom of the giants in your own world, of the people who will reach out and help you when you can’t walk another step, the people who care, even if they find it hard to express it in words. I hope it also reminds you of the instances where your actions have made you a hero or a giant to others and that it will encourage and inspire you to continue to do so.