Oprah Winfrey
Photo: George Burns/Harpo Studios
I have incredible stamina—the what-do-i-got-that-they-ain't-got kind of stamina. I know this because I go through teams of people and wear them out. I had to get a double shift of security to hang with me—one guy would be dead at the end of the day.

I don't have a lot of "I can't" inside me. That started in the third grade. I turned in my book report early, and it got such a great reaction from my teacher that she went into the teachers lounge and told everyone. I was driven from that point on, because I learned that when you do well, people respond. And then when I was in high school, I heard Jesse Jackson speak. He said that excellence is the best deterrent to racism and that it is a way to keep from being discriminated against. That was part of my drive—the need to be, and do, my best—and the feeling that if I didn't do my best, I had failed.

That drive to be successful is a huge part of my stamina, but it's certainly not the only thing that allows me to keep going and going and going.... I've learned some tricks through trial and error.

To begin with, you have to nourish your body and soul. The first thing I do when I get out of bed is meditate for five to ten minutes. That's the grounding work I must do for myself and what makes everything else possible.

As for the body, I'm careful with my diet—and if I'm not, I can feel it. When I eat too many carbohydrates, I notice it makes me sluggish. I cut out caffeine because I started not sleeping well. Also, I don't eat dinner after 7:30 because Bob Greene, my fitness advisor, says you need to stop eating at least two hours before you go to sleep so that everything digests properly.

When I get home at night, I don't automatically turn on the television. I can go months and not watch TV. When it's on, it's such a startling sound. TV has its own energy field—it's sending energy, but it's also taking energy. So I read.

And every day I do some sort of exercise. I run four miles every other day—in the winter I do it inside; this morning I ran outside. I also work out in a gym, on the elliptical machine.

But the biggest reason I have so much endurance is because I do what I want to do. I stopped trying to please other people. The other day I did something because someone else wanted me to and I was exhausted. Why? Because the intention was wrong. I did it instead of holding on to what I knew was the right thing to do. It's an ongoing lesson for those of us taught to be people pleasers: You said yes, but did you really mean no? Because it's going to come back wearing another skirt.

Next: How to know when it's time for a break

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