OPRAH LIFE LESSONS YOU CAN LEARN FROM

NICHE Magazne - - Romantic Fantasy - by Ca­tri­ona Ross

Oprah Win­frey's be­gin­nings, as she likes to re­mind peo­ple, were de­cid­edly un­promis­ing. The un­wanted re­sult of the chance meet­ing of Ver­non Win­frey and Ver­nita Lee un­der an oak tree, she was born into ru­ral Mis­sis­sippi at a time when black women were sec­ond­class cit­i­zens. But she al­ways knew she was des­tined for a dif­fer­ent life to that of her mother and grand­mother. Now, Oprah is one-woman proof that self-be­lief and deter­mi­na­tion can give you wings with which to rise above cir­cum­stance and be­come some­thing great. In her work­ing life, she cel­e­brates the hard-won lessons learnt by celebri­ties, by or­di­nary peo­ple who've achieved the ex­traor­di­nary, and by her­self along the way.

HERE'S WHAT OPRAH dis­cov­ered. LIS­TEN TO YOUR WHIS­PERS.

'What you should be do­ing with your life comes to you in a whis­per, then a mes­sage, then a cri­sis, then a dis­as­ter,' Oprah once told an au­di­ence in Jo­han­nes­burg, South Africa. How of­ten have you looked back at a re­la­tion­ship that turned abu­sive, a job that left you drained, an in­vest­ment scheme that seemed too good to be true, and thought, 'Deep down, I had doubts all along'? One of Oprah's mantras is 'Doubt means don't': when some­thing doesn't feel right, don't rush for­ward. Lis­ten in­stead.

FIND YOUR PAS­SION.

Oprah tells the un­usual story of an Amer­i­can woman who dis­cov­ered that her true pas­sion in life was... pluck­ing eye­brows. Now a sought-af­ter eye­brow guru who charges sub­stan­tial dol­lars to pluck im­per­fect brows into shape, she uses her tal­ent to the ser­vice of oth­ers and makes thou­sands of women feel like movie stars. Which just goes to il­lus­trate one of Oprah's core be­liefs: not ev­ery­one can be fa­mous, but ev­ery­one can be great. We all have a God-given gift and a pas­sion, and it's our job to find out what this is and use it.

STAY IN THE MO­MENT.

This is one of Oprah's fa­vorite stress-bust­ing tools. In­stead of ex­pend­ing emo­tional en­ergy on wor­ry­ing about what should have hap­pened or what might hap­pen next - stay fo­cused on the present. Try to keep your en­ergy for right now. The present mo­ment is where you have im­pact and choices, whereas you have no con­trol over what is past or what is to come. Try her method for get­ting cen­tered when you start feel­ing stressed: go some­where quiet, take a deep breath in, hold it for a few sec­onds, and re­lease it. Con­tinue slowly in­hal­ing and ex­hal­ing. As you fo­cus, sur­ren­der to what's be­yond your con­trol, and con­cen­trate on what you're pre­sented with right now.

YOUR THOUGHTS ARE POW­ER­FUL.

One of the rea­sons Oprah Win­frey is a house­hold name to­day is be­cause, deep down, she al­ways be­lieved she was worth more than the pack­age life ini­tially of­fered her. You be­come what you be­lieve, she says. Grow­ing up in Mis­sis­sippi in the 1950s, she was ex­pected to grow up poor, with few prospects, but, she says, 'I never be­lieved that would be my life.' When she was four, her grand­mother told her to watch and learn how she boiled clothes in a gi­ant pot and hung them out, be­cause she'd have to do this too one day. Oprah re­mem­bers think­ing, 'No, I won't.' If you be­lieve you'll never be happy, never be a suc­cess, never find a job you love, you'll in­ad­ver­tently make that your re­al­ity. Your be­liefs can ei­ther pro­pel you for­ward or hold you back, Oprah main­tains. Pay at­ten­tion to your thoughts and be­liefs, and cre­ate a vi­sion for what you want.

LIGHTEN UP!

Life is com­plex and of­fers many things, dif­fi­cul­ties, lessons, pain, re­wards but it can also be tremen­dous fun. Ev­ery day, Oprah be­lieves, is an op­por­tu­nity to laugh, sing, kick up your heels and dance. You're fre­quently pre­sented with mo­ments in which you can feel the wind on your face and the ex­hil­a­ra­tion of be­ing alive. Don't miss those mo­ments.

DON'T WATCH LIFE FROM THE AU­DI­ENCE get up there and live it.

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