Book review
Oprah Winfrey
What I know for sure

Okay, I might be a bit biased when it comes to Oprah Winfrey, because everything this woman says, does and writes is pretty amazing to me. The wisdom this woman breathes is unbelievable but at the same time explanable given the fact she interviewed numberous people during her time hosting The Oprah Winfrey Show.

This book consists of a selection of her monthly columns she wrote for       O Magazine. She calls it her private book of revelations and states about the colums she choose for this book: “When you know something, really know something, it tends to stand the test of time.”

The book is divided in eight themes (joy, resilience, connection, gratitude, possibility, awe, clarity and power) and each theme contains lessons Oprah struggled with, cried over, run from, circled back to, made peace with, laughed about and at long last came to know for sure, as she says.

Oprah states that by frequently asking yourself the question: “What do I know for sure?”, it will lead you to finding yourself, your truth. And don’t we all want that?

Here are some of the insights this book gave me on the eight themes:

Joy
When it comes to joy, you always have a choice: “You can either waltz boldly onto the stage of life and live the way you know your spirit is nudging you to, or you can sit quietly by the wall, receding in the shadows of fear and self-doubt. ” Joy is something you can create and be aware of when it happens. A lot of people don’t recognize the, what Oprah calls, ‘four and five star experiences’. Try to notice them, feel them, enjoy them and create them more in daily life. Make more time to do the things you really enjoy. To experience joy is to live in the moment. Ask yourself the question: ‘if my life ended tomorrow, what would I regret not doing?’ and then just go for it!

Resilience

Past
Healing the wounds from the past is an important part of resilience. Getting insight in how you were programmed through parenting and education leads to the knowledge how you can change that program. Only you can change it and every choice gives you a chance to pave your own path.

Present
Accept the fact that you can’t avoid daily tremors as they come with being alive. The only way to endure them is to adjust to them. Try to keep your balance. And remember, you are in charge: “No matter what challenge you may be facing, you must remember that while the canvas of life is painted with daily experiences, behaviors, reactions, and emotions, you’re the one controlling the brush. […] We can use as many colors and brushstrokes as we like.” When you get overwhelmed, go to a quiet place to turn inward and get still. Ask yourself the question: “What is this here to teach me?” Every experience is a valuable teacher. The key to improve your situation is to change the way you think about it. Being open to learning from those challenges is the difference between succeeding and getting stuck.

Future
If you are facing a difficult decision, ask yourself: “What would I do if I weren’t afraid of making a mistake, feeling rejected, looking foolish, or being alone?” When you remove the fear, the answer often is crystalclear.
We are guided on our path by what Oprah calls sweet spots (the truest expression of ourselves) and dark patches (a way for the universe to point you in a new direction). Pay attention to those events and never loose faith in the path it takes to get you where you want to go. There is no strength without challenge, adversity, resistance, and often pain.

Oprah states that by frequently asking yourself the question: “What do I know for sure?”, it will lead you to finding yourself, your truth. And don’t we all want that?

Connection                                                                                                          You are only capable of true connection with another person if you love yourself deeply first. We all want to feel valued, loved and approved. But those feelings cannot be found outside yourself. Nobody but you can heal you. The good part is that you have the power to give yourself the love you need. If you feel incomplete, you must fill all your empty, shattered spaces with love. Realising that you alone make a whole person, will improve any relationship. And when it comes to relationships, it should involve bringing all of who you are to the table – an walking away with even more.
The key to any relationship is communication. By just asking what the other person needs, and really listen, will improve your relationship with them. Loving others is the only thing that will have lasting value. Share what you have: time, money, attention. Try to always expand the circle of people around you, for it can add new meaning to your life. To know that people care about how you’re doing when the doing isn’t so good – that’s what love is.

Gratitude
Make gratitude a daily priority. Look for things to be grateful for, and when you do, something always shows up. Appreciating whatever shows up for you in life changes your whole world. It alters your vibration, moving you from negative energy to positive. You create more goodness for yourself when you’re aware of all you have and not focussing on your have-nots. In order to feel it, your ego has to take a backseat. What shows up in its place is greater compassion and understanding. Instead of being frustrated, you choose appreciation. And the more grateful you become, the more you have to be grateful for.

Possibility
You must decide that no matter how difficult the path ahead seems, you will push past your anxiety and keep on going. Making a bold move is the only way to advance toward the grandest vision the universe has for you. Ask yourself: “What am I afraid of?”, because we can’t change what we don’t acknowledge. And keep in mind: you have nothing to prove to anyone but yourself. Having the courage to stand up and pursue your dreams will give you life’s greatest adventure and reward. Stop paying attention to the ‘naysayers’ in your life. They’ll always feel threatened because they don’t believe they are enough.
When it comes to creating possibilities, choose your intentions according to the effects you desire to produce. As you make choices that honor who you are, you’ll get exactly what life intended for you – the chance to reach your greatest potential. Starting over begins with looking inward. It’s the only way you can connect with where your spirit is leading you. Don’t give your power to someone else. Know what the truth of your life is. The truth is what feels right, good and loving.

Awe
The big miracles are happening right in front of you, if you are open to seeing them. Miracles are confirmation that something larger than us is at work. Every day holds within it the possibility of seeing the world with wonder.

Clarity
When it comes to getting clarity, ask yourself: “What do I really want – and what is my spirit telling me is the best way to proceed?” The answer leads to your passion. Let go of the outside pressures and distractions. Doubts often means don’t. Your instincts are your compass. Listen to it carefully. Give yourself time just be. Protect your time. Schedule little moments of calm, it will refill your tank. Nurture yourself so you’ll have more nurturing to give to those who need you most. And before you say yes to anyone, ask yourself: “What is my truest intention?” It should come from the purest part of you, not from your head. When it feels right, your whole body feels it.

Power
You are in control of your life. Nothing happens until you decide. You can wake up in the morning and decide for yourself what to do with the day. When you don’t know what to do, do nothing until clarity comes. Getting still quickens clarity. Then make a decision and start where you are. The right to choose your own path is a sacred privilige. Don’t take that gift for granted. Use it wisely. When your life is on course with its purpose, you are at your most powerful.

Conclusion
With her insights, Oprah encourages us to be our best selves and lead our best lives. When I speak of Oprah Winfrey to others and the lessons she taughed me along the way, most people react like: “It is easy for her because she’s got all the money in the world. If I had that, my life would be different too.” I think that’s bullcrap because people with money struggle in life too. I think that the phrase ‘I don’t have enough money’ is just one of the excuses to not accomplish your full potential in life.

What I know for sure is that this book reminded me of what I already knew and gave me some pretty amazing new insights. It made me feel powerful again: it is up to me to feel grateful for what I have and to make bold changes to live the life I always wanted.

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