On the Shoulders of Giants – Part 1: Local Giants

In the first post, “Why” I shared insight into why I’m living.

As I mentioned earlier, we are standing and living on the shoulders of giants.

At the beginning of our lives, we stand on the shoulders of who we’ll call “Local Giants” – by my definition, the people who are closest to you during your formative years that help codify your values and beliefs. “Local Giants” can be individuals or communities at large.

When I was young, the strong and supportive shoulders of my immediate family and communities were the giants that raised me.

From my Father – Support those you love, unconditionally. I learned this from my parents. I could be a rebel at times, and despite all my mistakes, they’ve been at my side, they’ve supported me, and they’ve loved me. Even now, my dad still says I can move in whenever I want. Thanks, Pops!

From my Mother – Focus on what’s in your control. I learned this from my mother. Unlike most parents of athletes, instead of caring about how much playing time I got or whether or not we won, my mother cared about was my attitude and my effort — the two things under an athlete’s control. 

From my Brother John – “I Can” – Nas. I learned this from my brother John. He’d drive me to volleyball practice two times a week during the summer of 2007 and blast the song “I Can” by Nas. The point of the song is simple. You can be anything you want to if you’re willing to put in the time and effort. This isn’t a general truth, but if you don’t at least try, you’ll never know. I always recommend trying. 

From the City of Rochester – I learned to accept everyone. No matter your walk of life, skin color, gender, job title, etc.. I learned that we are all unique but mostly similar. We all strive for happiness, safety, health, and peace of mind. The list of commonalities goes on and on; we just have to look for them. 

From the UCLA community – I learned about Entrepreneurship and of the power of the individual to impact the world. I read about Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Paul Graham, and many other fantastic entrepreneurs who helped build the world as we know it on a grand scale.

From the Alchemist – This was the most important book I read in college. The most important lesson is that you can talk to the wind. Steve Jobs says it well, “The people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones that do.” After finishing the book, I understood that if I wanted to talk with the wind, I must first discover myself and answer the question, “Who is Steve O’Dell?”. For months I pondered what this meant, eventually settling on the composition of my values, beliefs, and the subsequent manifestation in my day to day actions. Setting my code of law helped me create and live a life that aligned with my values and beliefs. The more aligned my actions, the happier I am. Nothing has genuinely disturbed my inner peace since this moment, because nothing and nobody can distract or affect my code of law. 

I’d encourage you to set up your code of law, and then live each moment adhering to it with the strictest discipline.

After learning about the power of entrepreneurship and discovering myself with The Alchemist, I dropped out of UCLA. 

This concludes part one of: On the Shoulders of Giants. In part 2, I’ll talk about a new type of giant, the “Global Giant” 


Think about the device you’re using to read these words. Did you build it? Most likely not. It seems like a silly question, right?

Well, it’s not. Now take a further look around. You’ll see a world filled with magical technology, wonderful art, breath-taking buildings and so much more. The list goes on and on. 

So what’s the point?

We are standing, or rather living, on the shoulders of giants. 

The achievements, discoveries, and knowledge of the past created the present situation. Therefore, it is the utmost importance for present-day humanity to continue to pay it forward and create a solid future. 

By this line of thinking, I dedicated my life to create a positive impact on the world at the grandest scale possible. 

This is my aim. There is no specific metric of impact to “achieve”.

Only a pure heart, a strong sense of responsibility, a willful spirit. 

Time will tell.