Oprah Winfrey's 2008 Stanford Speech

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This speech was about three lessons that Oprah Winfrey has come across in her professional and personal life. She talked about striving to be yourself and not anyone else and how you can grasp failure and turn it around by embracing it and finding the solution, and lastly how happiness comes when you give back to others.

Her first lesson was about striving to be your own self; she talked about in the beginning of her professional career when she had a job in Baltimore as a news anchor. She was constantly holding Barbara Walters as the image she wanted to be in her career and wanted to be like. So she was always trying to talk like Barbara, look like Barbara and act like Barbara… And she kept getting it wrong. She felt the need to be spontaneous and more of herself when she would read some of the headings…. Especially upsetting headings with disasters involved. So she would sometimes not pre-read any of headings until she was live so it would come across more realistic. She once covered a story of a horrible fire and afterwards ran to the scene and helped the fire victims by providing blankets. She never lost her empathy. She ran into some barriers during this job that ultimately helped her find her true purpose in life. The first barrier was that her boss let her know that they did not like the way she looked, and that they wanted to give her a new name that they thought would be more “friendly” and would be remembered by the public. She refused to change her name but did try to improve her looks by getting a perm that eventually made her hair fall out. She was let go from her position as the news anchor and placed on a talk show instead. It was there on the talk show that she felt she was at home and knew she had found her purpose in her life. So here she learned that she should never try to be anyone other than herself… and that when you are doing something you are supposed to do you will feel right about it. She referred to it as feeling “at home”.

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