7 Success Lessons We Can Learn From Oprah Winfrey

40 Books Oprah Winfrey Thinks You Should Read

Dubbed the “Queen of All Media”, Oprah Winfrey is one of the world’s richest black people. She grew up in a poor household and was sexually molested as a child. However, Oprah achieved a lot against all odds and succeeded in building a multi-million company. Given her remarkable success story, there’s a lot we can all learn from Oprah Winfrey.

Derived from various interviews she has granted, below are 7 success lessons from Oprah Winfrey.

Focus On Being A Better You 

There’s always a temptation to lose focus and get distracted by the success of others. However, the only way we can truly succeed is by focusing on ourselves and striving toward becoming better. The measurement should not be based on another person’s success but on how well we are doing in the present in comparison to our past and what we can do in the future to become even better.

Oprah explains this brilliantly* in a speech at the Women’s E3 Summit, she says:

“… Everybody has a different talent and the reason we’re all so messed up is because you’re looking at everybody else’s talent and wishing you had some of their talent. All the energy that you spend thinking about, wishing about, being jealous of, envious of anybody else, is energy that you’re not only putting out. It’s going to come back to you negatively but you’re taking that away from you. All your energy should be forced on ‘what do I have to offer?’; ‘what do I have to give?’; ‘how can I be used in service?’

There’s Always Something To Learn From Every Experience

Experience, they say, is the greatest teacher. Moreover, every experience comes with its lessons. Your job is to always look for these lesson and see how you can apply them to your life. In fact, the goal should be to never fall into the same problems you fell into in the past. And we can only achieve this by learning from our experiences.

In an interview with People TV, Oprah describes what losing her mother taught her.

“This is the beauty of my life. There’s not a thing that happened to me that I don’t look at it as a teaching learning experience. And so, whenever I’m going into any kind of crisis… I’m always looking for what is [in] here to teach me.”

Take Responsibility For Your Life

While giving a speech at The Oprah Winfrey Show finale, Oprah shared a piece of advice with the audience. She said these words: “Nobody but you is responsible for your life. It doesn’t matter what your mama did; it doesn’t matter what your daddy didn’t do. You are responsible for your life. … You are responsible for the energy that you create for yourself and you’re responsible for the energy that you bring to others.”

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Be An Avid Reader 

One of the things that Oprah credits for her success in life is her reading habit. She got her first job as a radio broadcaster due to her thirst for knowledge and ability to acquire it from books. Besides Oprah, many successful entrepreneurs seem to have a penchant for reading books. This is a testament to the fact that reading sets you up for success.

It Starts With Believing In Yourself 

Many successful people like Oprah grew up in poverty but they didn’t let their circumstances define them. At some point in their lives, they decided they too deserve to live an above-average life. And they went all out to make it happen.

You have to start believing in yourself in order to attain the goals you’ve set for yourself. This is the chief quality that sets successful apart from the average.

Money Shouldn’t Be The Sole Aim

Quite understandably, money is a great incentive for people who are striving to be successful. But it shouldn’t be the only reason why one seeks success. You should delve into a business or profession because you’re passionate about it and not solely because of the money. Remember, it is the passion that keeps you going even when you feel like giving up.

On this, Oprah says: “You know you are on the road to success if you would do your job, and not be paid for it.”

Be Yourself

Many people hold back from doing the things they really want to do because of some flaw they have about their appearance, background, or personality. You have to be yourself before you can actually change the things you want to change in your life. The key lies in finding a balance between accepting yourself the way you are and striving towards self-improvement.

According to Oprah Winfrey: “I had no idea that being your authentic self could make me as rich as I’ve become. If I had, I’d have done it a lot earlier.


Here is a recap of Oprah Winfrey’s success lessons

1. Focus on being a better you

2. There’s always something to learn from every experience 

3. Take responsibility for your life 

4. Be an avid reader 

5. It starts with believing in yourself

6. Money shouldn’t be the sole aim

7. Be yourself

How many Oprah Winfrey success lessons did you agree with? Leave a comment below. 


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