Oprah Winfrey: A Woman Leader

Oprah Winfrey (1954) is a tv hostess, producer, entrepreneur, and philanthropist. She has won on several occasions the Emmy award for her show "The Oprah Winfrey Show", the most successful tv talk show in history. According to Forbes magazine, she was the richest African American person of the 20th century and the only black person who has possessed a net worth of more than 1 billion dollars for 3 consecutive years. She was also the most powerful woman in 2005, according to the same publisher. Life magazine has classified her as the most influential woman of her generation, and Time magazine has included her in the list of the 4 people who have given shape to the 20th century and early 21st century. In 2005, the Business Week magazine called her the most relevant African American philanthropist in the history of the U.S. And, in 2010, Forbes magazine categorized her as the most influential famous woman in the world. Her biography is in the book "Oprah: A Biography", by Kitty Kelley.

Oprah Winfrey in 2019

Now, let's analyze some of her most famous quotes. I remind you that is preferable that you take your time to read very carefully each explanation and think about them for a little while.

1. Doing the best we can do at this moment leaves us in the best position for the next moment.

This is a good philosophy of life for success. If you give everything you have in each moment, in each project, in each challenge, as it were your last opportunity in life, at the end that opportunity ends up emerging. Commit yourself fully with each task, and you'll see how new, more fascinating challenges and projects will start appearing in your life. Opportunities grow as far as they are exploited.

2. You become what you believe. The position where you are right now in your life is due to everything in which you have believed.

What you believe, is what you will become, simple as that. Your beliefs determine your realities because your beliefs encourage you to act in a specific way; stimulant beliefs trigger winning behaviors; limiting beliefs trigger losing behaviors. As Robert Oxton Bolt (English scriptwriter, winner of 2 Oscar awards) once claimed: "A belief is not simply the idea that our mind possesses, it's an idea that possesses our mind". Cogently, but true.

3. The great secret of life is that there's no secret. No matter what your goal is, you can reach it, if you are determined to work hard.

One of the main causes which explains why so many people don't reach their objectives is "sloth". They are not determined to sacrifice anything. And sacrifice means "unconditionality". The character of William Wallace in the film "Braveheart" (1995) shouts: "Every man dies, not every man really lives". Any alternative has a cost. Always. You decide if you want to pay for them or not. If you really want to reach your goals, nothing and nobody will stop you. Circumstances can temporarily put you aside from your objectives, but finally, you will end up finding the way to reach what you desire.

4. I think everything happens for a reason, even when we are not ready to cope with it.

At some point, the pieces of the puzzle end up fitting together. You only have to be patient and leave events to continue their course. Take each experience as a lesson, no matter if it hurts at first. Over time, you will end up learning why. Life is lived looking towards the future, but it is understood looking back in time. Do not try to understand everything immediately, accept what happens and continue your march towards the front.

5. If you want your life to be more grateful, you have to start thinking differently.

Our thoughts, for better or worse, dominate us. They drive us to follow one path or another. The key is to be able to transform all those daily negative thoughts which boycott us, into others of the opposite sign. Each time your mind gets a negative thought, make a pause and see if it makes sense. This is what is called "conscious attention". According to different studies and investigations, there's a quarter of a second between the moment a person feels a drive or impulse and the moment the person acts consequently. If you take that quarter of a second to practice "conscious attention", you can question your decisions. The "conscious attention" is something like this: I stop to choose the best for me. The thoughts, when they are not dominated, they could transform our mind into a kind of concentration camp.  One study from Harvard University concludes that 92% of our worries will never occur.

6. The true integrity is to do the correct thing knowing that nobody will note if you've done it or not.

People don't behave in the same way when they feel they are being supervised than when they feel nobody is looking at them. The lack of ethics is produced quite often as a result of the person who behaves in an unethical way, who doesn't think they will ever "catch him/her" because, if he or she thought the opposite, that person wouldn't act in that way. The true integrity doesn't mean to look "correct" only while posturing, but also, and especially, when someone is not being observed. This is on what is based the quote "do good for the good in itself" beyond other considerations.

7. I don't believe in failure. If you liked the process there's no failure.

Everything doesn't have to be interpreted as "win or lose". One must be open-minded and capable of considering things in the long term. Sometimes, it is about learning and adding experiences with no relation to the final result. Very often, failure is simply the opinion that someone has about how things should be done. Every lesson is just one more paving stone on the road towards success. Oprah says: "There is a lesson from everything that happens, and learning that lesson allows us to continue progressing."

8. Everyone wants to go with you in the limousine, but the important thing is to have someone determined to take with you the bus when the limousine gets broken down.

Friendship, like all valuable things in life, has to be tested; it flourishes or vanishes in difficult times. There are two fundamental proofs for that: the proof of failure (economic, professional or emotional failure), when you realize your friend is truly at your side; and the proof of success, because success always awakens a lot of jealousy around you, especially, among the closest.

9. You can have everything you want in life, but not at the same time.

This idea is related to "focus", to know what alternative to choose implies renouncing to others. All the "good things" have their "bad things" with no exception. The universe is like a catalog of infinite possibilities at your disposal. There are no limits, but you have to decide what you want to achieve to be able to focus on it and achieve it. If you pretend to achieve everything fast, in the end, you will get nothing.

10. The only thing I know for certain is that everything you give goes back to you.

We could add that, it goes back to you multiplied by two. Get obsessed with putting your knowledge, experience, and skills at the disposal of others. Above all, try to be as useful as possible, and do it with many people, the more people, the better. Life is like a boomerang, and what you sow today is what you'll harvest tomorrow. The people who are great in spirit make from the service to others, their lifestyle. It's the most intelligent strategy, the one that generates more benefits and the one which produces more satisfaction.   

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