Careers

Ruth Bader Ginsburg says this is the secret to living a meaningful life

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg
Photo by Benjamin Lowy
Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg

By any measure, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has led a remarkably successful life.

Appointed by President Clinton in 1993, she became the second woman ever to be sworn in as a justice for the country's highest court. She is a champion of women's rights and well-respected for her willingness to stand firm in a dissenting opinion.

A successful life is distinct from a profound and vital one, however.

"To put it simply, it means doing something outside yourself," Ginsburg tells Stanford University students.

For attorneys, passing the bar is only the first step.

"If you are going to be a lawyer and just practice your profession, well, you have a skill so you are very much like a plumber," says Ginsburg.

"Do something outside yourself, something to repair tears in your community." -Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Supreme Court Justice 

"But if you want to be a true professional, you will do something outside yourself, something to repair tears in your community, something to make life a little better for people less fortunate than you."

The Supreme Court Justice is a founding member of the Women's Rights Project of the American Civil Liberties Union, which fights for gender equality.

"That's what I think a meaningful life is. One lives not just for one's self but for one's community."

See also: 4 secrets to living your best life from Ruth Bader Ginsburg