Year To Success

Lesson 25: Inspiration from Oprah Winfrey

Oprah Winfrey (1954–) is one of the most important figures in popular culture, most well known as the talk show host on her TV show, “Oprah.”

Success is putting the past behind you no matter how terrible. Despite suffering abuse and molestation as a child, Oprah Winfrey found it in herself to be the best she knew she could be, and eventually become one of the most influential people in history (Forbes Top 100).

Success is helping others. In 1994, President Clinton signed the “Oprah Bill,” a law designed to protect children from abuse.

Success is doing it better. In 1986, her show, “The Oprah Winfrey Show” took over Donahue as the nation’s top-rated talk show, even though Donahue pioneered the talk show format.

Success is holding tight to your morals and values, even at the expense of your career. In 1994, when talk shows started to become increasingly trashy and exploitative, Winfrey pledged to keep her show free of tabloid topics. Although her show’s ratings initially fell, Oprah earned the respect of her viewers. This earned respect did more for her career in the long run than by giving in to the public’s demand for daytime TV trash ever will.

Success is having the power to influence. Any book she promotes on her show becomes an instant best seller. Any charity she supports on air sees phenomenal increases in donations. Any industry she condemns on air suffers serious financial losses—as in the beef industry. (Author’s note: If anyone reading this knows Oprah, can you please put in the good word for my book? Gracias.)

Success is diversification. In addition to her huge success with her television show, Oprah owns several businesses, has written several books, made several movies, and publishes her own magazine.

Success is reaching people on a personal level. Oprah is known for her empathy for others. When a guest’s story moves her, she cries and offers the guest a warm embrace.