Humility and self-abnegation are the foundation and beginning of the service of G‑d. These we must have before all else, and thereafter - having laid this foundation - we may go on to specific attainments in the service of G‑d. - The Rebbe, Likkutei Sichot Vol. 1, p. 166

We begin our service of G‑d with humble acknowledgment by admitting our dependence upon Him. That is why we begin each day with the admission: "Modeh Ani - I acknowledge [...that You have restored my soul]" and our morning prayers with "Hodu l'HaShem - Acknowledge the L-rd."

We cannot begin to be transcend our limitations until we first let go of the prideful illusion of self-sufficiency. Thus, the beginning and foundation of purposeful, useful living - not just on a daily basis but in all matters - is the surrender of self.

This first step requires no great intellectual or emotional advancements - just admission. We have all taken various routes to arrive here - some of us only after facing staggering defeat - but all of us begin at the same place.

Our transformation into more peaceful, joyous, courageous and effective beings does not come all at once. But it most surely begins with a mere acknowledgement - the admission of our dependence upon G‑d.