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5 lessons from Oprah’s life

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This article has been translated from our English edition.

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5 lessons from Oprah’s life
5 lessons from Oprah’s life


Few people in history have achieved the same level of performance as Oprah Winfrey.

Winfrey is best known for her multi-award winning talk show a day. She has also started a television network (OWN), won the Academy of Arts and Sciences’ Bob Hope Humanitarian Award, was nominated for an Oscar, and was recognized as the first African American billionaire in the United States.

While Oprah is known for encouraging others to live their best lives, there are valuable lessons we can learn from their own life story.

1. Your past does not define you

Oprah’s success is in stark contrast to her education. Born to a teenage single mother, she spent the first few years of her life in extreme poverty on her maternal grandmother’s farm. Winfrey left the farm when she was 6 to join her mother Vernita in Milwaukee. Unfortunately, living conditions have not improved. While her mother was at work, Oprah was repeatedly mistreated by male relatives and a family friend.

This abuse set Winfrey down a dangerous path to promiscuity and pregnancy at the age of 14. After their son died shortly after he was born, Oprah moved to Nashville to live with her father, Vernon.

The move turned out to be a turning point. Under the guidance of Papa’s strict rules, Oprah became an honorary student, won awards for dramatic recitation at the age of 17, and won the title of Miss Black Tennessee.

Winfrey did not let her previous experiences define her. Instead of basing her identity on a past life of poverty, abuse and self-destructive behavior, Oprah focused on her potential and took a new path.

2. Education is the key to progress

Oprah has stated that her father’s love of learning was key to changing her life. She believes the only way a person can really grow is by changing the way they think.

Winfrey learned this lesson after a failed attempt to help poor families in the Chicago area. As Oprah describes in an article for O magazine::

“… I had the wrong idea to move the families from the projects to new houses. Trying to show people how to build a successful life has been overwhelming. She assumed they understood what it meant to go to work, be on time, and make sure their kids go to school and do their homework. I failed with this idea, but I learned something invaluable: To make meaningful change, you have to change the way people think. “

The only way to improve your life is to first change your mind about what is happening through education.

3. Don’t be afraid to try something new

Much of Oprah’s success comes from taking risks and being willing to break new ground. Winfrey began her broadcasting career at a radio station in the Nashville area and worked there for several years until she was offered a job as a news anchor for a local television station.

This was only the first of many opportunities Oprah took. Other people in a similar situation can let the fear of failure deter them from taking risks. But instead of being complacent, he kept learning and growing.

This willingness to take risks and break new ground has continued throughout his career. Even after the amazing success of The Oprah Winfrey ShowHe refused to rest on his laurels.

4. Be authentic and intentional

When Winfrey’s talk show started, it focused on sensational topics like most of the day’s specials. After filming an episode in which a woman on the air discovered that her husband had been unfaithful to her, Oprah made a conscious decision to change the format of the show to suit her values.

As Winfrey explained in another article O magazine::

“It was then that I decided never again to be part of a program that humiliates, shames, or disparages another person. I have replaced the “If You Bleed Lead” news philosophy with an intention that still guides me: to use the medium of television for your greatest good. “

From that point on, the Oprah Winfrey Show shifted its focus from lewd to self-improvement.

Regardless of the risk of uncharted territory, Oprah let her principles take the lead. She explains, “When the spotlight came on for me that day, my calling was to create programs that would encourage and inspire as much as they entertain. A television that gives guests their dignity and helps us all to see our lives in a different way. “

The change in format was beneficial; This resulted in even greater recognition and popularity, and proved that you don’t have to compromise your values ​​to be successful. On the contrary, authentic and deliberate decisions can often lead to greater success.

5. Find success through service

Oprah did not achieve the height of success by constantly following him. Instead, her primary goal was to fulfill her calling as a teacher and to serve others.

As Winfrey said in another article for O magazine::

“What I know for sure is that if you want to be successful, you cannot make success your goal. The key is not to worry about it, but to work wisely, and success will of course follow. How can you make your way to greatness? When you shift your focus from success to service, your work as a teacher, clerk, doctor, or point of sale immediately becomes more meaningful. “

Our culture tends to believe that success must be persistently pursued at all costs. Oprah’s life shows that you can be successful simply by serving others.

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