21 Empowering Lessons From Oprah Winfrey

You become what you believe, you don't become what you wish.- Oprah Winfrey, Life You Want Weekend

It’s been years since The Oprah Winfrey Show went off air but I can still remember that feeling of anticipation that came around at 4PM every weekday afternoon. Growing up, I was glued to her show and adored both the intriguing topics and issues she discussed and the inspiring lessons she taught. In celebration of Oprah’s 62nd birthday, here are 21 empowering lessons from the legend herself:

1. On the company you keep:

Surround yourself with people who are going to take you higher.

"Surround yourself with people who are going to take you higher." Oprah Winfrey

2. On failure:

Think like a queen. A queen is not afraid to fail. Failure is another stepping stone to greatness.

3. On growth:

We can’t become what we need to be by remaining what we are.

"We can't become what we need to be by remaining what we are." -Oprah Winfrey

4. On luck:

Luck is a matter of preparation meeting opportunity.

"Luck is a matter of preparation meeting opportunity." -Oprah Winfrey

5. On running:

Running is the greatest metaphor for life, because you get out of it what you put into it.

6. On courage:

The true meaning of courage is to be afraid, and then, with your knees knocking and your heart racing, to step out anyway—even when that step makes sense to nobody but you. I know that’s not easy. But making a bold move is the only way to truly advance toward the grandest vision the universe has for you.

7. On overcoming struggles:

When the talk about my troubles was loudest, I did the thing I’ve always spoken of most. I got still and listened for the answer to, ‘What is this here to teach me?’ The answer, first and foremost is lay your ego down. Step out of your ego so you can recognize the truth. As soon as I did that, I was able to see the role I had played in creating ‘my circumstances,’ without blaming other people. And — bingo! — I realized that all the noise about my struggle was a reflection of my personal angst and fear.

8. On the power of reading:

What I know for sure is that reading opens you up. It exposes you and gives you access to anything your mind can hold. What I love most about reading: It gives you the ability to reach higher ground. And keep climbing.

9. On success:

Don’t worry about becoming successful but work toward being significant and the success will naturally follow.

"Don't worry about becoming successful but work toward being significant and the success will naturally follow."  -Oprah Winfrey

10. On the myth of “having it all”:

You can have it all. You just can’t have it all at once.

You can have it all. You just can’t have it all at once. Oprah Winfrey

11. On passion:

Everybody has a calling. And your real job in life is to figure out as soon as possible what that is, who you were meant to be, and to begin to honor that in the best way possible for yourself.

12. On gratitude

If you concentrate on what you have, you will always end up having more. If you focus on what you don’t have, you will never, ever have enough.

13. On the people that matter:

Lots of people want to ride with you in the limo, but what you want is someone who will take the bus with you when the limo breaks down.

Lots of people want to ride with you in the limo, but what you want is someone who will take the bus with you when the limo breaks down. -Oprah Winfrey

14. On the value of struggles:

Where there is no struggle, there is no strength.

15. On knowing what is best for you:

As you become more clear about who you really are, you’ll be better able to decide what is best for you – the first time around.

16. On failure:

It doesn’t matter how far you might rise. At some point you are bound to stumble because if you’re constantly doing what we do, raising the bar. If you’re constantly pushing yourself higher, higher the law of averages not to mention the Myth of Icarus predicts that you will at some point fall. And when you do I want you to know this, remember this: there is no such thing as failure. Failure is just life trying to move us in another direction.

17. On success and happiness:

You will find true success and happiness if you have only one goal. There really is only one, and that is this: To fulfill the highest, most truthful expression of yourself as a human being. You want to max out your humanity by using your energy to lift yourself up, your family, and the people around you. Theologian Howard Thurman said it best. He said, ‘Don’t ask yourself what the world needs. Ask yourself what makes you come alive and go do that, because what the world needs is people who have come alive

18. On accountability:

You are responsible for your life. If you’re sitting around waiting on somebody to save you, to fix you, to even help you, you are wasting your time. Only you have the power to move your life forward.

19. On confidence

That’s the number one thing you have to do, is to work on yourself and to fill yourself up and keep your cup full. Keep yourself full. I used to be afraid of that. I used to be afraid, particularly, from people who’d say, oh, she’s so full of herself. Mm, she’s so full of herself and now, I embrace it. I consider it a compliment that I am full of myself because only when you’re full. I’m full, I’m overflowing. My cup runneth over. I have so much. I have so much to offer and so much to give and I am not afraid of honoring myself.

20. On overcoming challenges:

The way through the challenge is to get still and ask yourself what is the next right move? Not think about oh, I got all of this to, what is the next right move and then from that space make the next right move and the next right move and not to be overwhelmed by it because you know your life is bigger than that one moment.

21. On self love:

There is one irrefutable law of the universe: We are each responsible for our own life. If you’re holding anyone else accountable for your happiness, you’re wasting your time. You must be fearless enough to give yourself the love you didn’t receive.

Aman Basra

About Aman Basra

Aman Basra is a recent graduate from the University of British Columbia where she studied International Relations and Economics. She is an avid reader and particularly enjoys classics by Fitzgerald. She also enjoys long distance running and has completed 6 marathons and counting. She considers her writing a side hustle and writes extensively on her blog (http://thehardlifeofawriter.blogspot.ca/) and for online publications such as Thought Catalog, Her Agenda, The Financial Diet and Elite Daily. You can reach her on Twitter @ameecbasra (https://twitter.com/ameecbasra)
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