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To Succeed at Life, Ignore the Haters, Justice Ginsburg Says

By Casey C. Sullivan, Esq. | Last updated on

Justice Ginsburg has long been one of the nation's most important jurists, winning five landmark gender equality cases before the Supreme Court, decades before she joined it. Her success, and her staunch support of equal rights for women, have made her not just a legal force, but a pop cultural one: there are RBG books, RBG blogs, even RBG tattoos (not to mention the opera.)

Now, on the eve of the newest Supreme Court term, Justice Ginsburg is sharing her advice for living as successful a life. Among her counsel: don't pay attention to the haters.

The People Who Helped Make Ginsburg Notorious

In a recent piece in the New York Times, Justice Ginsburg recounts her journey from a young mother in law school to a Supreme Court justice. "How fortunate I was to be alive and a lawyer," she writes, "when, for the first time in United States history, it became possible to urge, successfully, before legislatures and courts, the equal-citizenship stature of women and men as a fundamental constitutional principle."

She was not able to "take part in the effort to free our daughters and sons to achieve whatever their talents equipped them to accomplish" alone, though. That success was built on the support and inspiration she received from those around her.

That includes her mother, who taught her independence; Vladimir Nabokov, the author of "Lolita" and Ginsburg's college professor, who taught her that "words could paint pictures"; and Gerald Gunther, her law school professor whose "heroic efforts" helped her obtain a federal clerkship, "despite what was then viewed as a grave impediment: On graduation, I was the mother of a 4-year-old child."

Before There Was Taylor Swift, There Was Ginsburg's Mother-in-Law

Perhaps best of all, however, was the advice from Justice Ginsburg's mother-in-law. On her wedding day, Ginsburg's mother-in-law told her, "In every good marriage, it helps sometimes to be a little deaf." Then she handed her a set of earplugs.

That advice helps "not only at home through 56 years of marital partnership nonpareil," Justice Ginsburg writes.

I have employed it as well in every workplace, including the Supreme Court. When a thoughtless or unkind word is spoken, best tune out. Reacting in anger or annoyance will not advance one's ability to persuade.

Or, as Taylor Swift put it:

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