Oprah Winfrey
Photo: Chris Craymer
The late film critic Gene Siskel used to ask in his celebrity interviews, "What do you know for sure?" The first time he asked me this question, it threw me. Since then the question has become a way of taking stock of my life—hence this monthly column, in answer to Gene.

Oprah on...
  • Age and Wisdom
  • Confidence and Self-Esteem
  • The Pursuit of Excellence
  • Finding Your Passion
  • Health
  • Happiness
  • Perseverance
  • Love and Relationships
  • Spirituality

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  • Age and Wisdom

    "Events that used to leave me reeling, with my head in a bag of chips, no longer even faze me."

    "I feel my greatest work is yet to come."

    "Every birthday, you decide whether to mark it the end of your greatest days or the beginning of your finest hour."

    "Reading gives you the ability to reach higher ground."

    "When you know who you are and what you stand for, you stand in wisdom."

    "Your gut is your inner compass."

    "All these years I've been feeling like I was growing into myself. Finally, I feel grown."

    "Every 'for sure' I've known in recent months, I've had to abandon because life keeps getting in the way."

    Confidence and Self-Esteem

    "I know that I am more than my personality, my body, and my body image."

    "You are built not to shrink down to less but to blossom into more."

    "You're not your body, and for sure you're not your body image."

    "This is the body you've been given; love what you've got."

    "The same questions follow every woman through girlhood and adolescence: Can I really do this? Will I get it right? Am I okay?"

    "A lack of intimacy is not distance from someone else; it is disregard for yourself."

    "Self-esteem comes from being able to define the world in your own terms  and refusing to abide by the judgments of others."

    "When you get the chance, go for it.  You can't accomplish anything worthwhile if you inhibit yourself."


    "Use what you have to run toward your best —that's how I now live my life."

    "A year ago I was writing about my great hope for the school. That hope is stronger than ever."

    "There's been so much talk of getting back to normal, but I really hope we don't. I pray we transcend what was normal  for many of us."

    "Live so that at the end of each day, you can say, 'I did my very best.' "

    "What have you done today to make you feel proud?"
    Finding Your Passion

    "If you can get paid for doing what you love, every paycheck is a bonus.

    "The work of your life is to discover your purpose and get on with the business of living it out."

    "If you don't know what your passion is, realize that one reason for your existence on earth is to find it  ."

    "Knowing your deepest intention can be your guiding force  in the creation of a better life."


    "When you nurture your body it reciprocates."

    "I won't waste a meal by eating food that doesn't fully satisfy me."

    "Getting my lifelong weight struggle under control has come from a process of treating myself as well as I treat others in every way."

    "The ultimate in being healthy is to operate at full throttle—physically, emotionally, and spiritually."

    "Making the decision to look after yourself is the ultimate in healthcare."

    "I don't believe in accidents. I know for sure that everything in life happens to help us live."

    "Alone time is when I distance myself from the voices of the world so I can hear my own."

    "A little restoration goes a long way."

    "I've learned not to worry about what might come next."


    "It makes no difference how many peaks you reach if there was no pleasure in the climb."

    "Your base level of pleasure is determined by how you view your whole life."

    "I've decided I want more joy in my life."

    "I created this happiness by choice."

    "Every day brings a chance for you to draw in a breath, kick off your shoes, and dance."

    "Joy is a sustained sense of well-being and internal peace—a connection to what matters."   "They surprised themselves with how big they could give—and how great it could feel."

    "I see in these girls' faces the light of my own."

    "Great and miraculous things happen when people come together with an intention to create hope and opportunity."

    "It's more fun to give than to receive."

    "Every sunrise is like a new page, a chance to receive each day in all its glory."


    "Once you decide what you want, you make a commitment to that decision."

    "Trust in this: You'll handle whatever shake-up the next moment brings when you get to it."

    "Ultimately, you have nothing to prove to anyone but yourself."

    "The problems that make you want to holler 'Mercy!' will build your courage and determination."

    "Failure is just a way for our lives to show us we're moving in the wrong direction, that we should try something different."

    "Whatever your goal for this year, you can get there—if you're willing to do the work."  

    "Use what you have to run toward your best—that's how I now live my life."


    "The world can only value mothering to the extent that women everywhere stand and declare that it must be so."  

    "If you can survive 11 days in cramped quarters with a friend and come out laughing, your friendship is the real deal."

    "In all my triumphs—in every good and great thing that has ever happened to me—Gayle has been my boldest cheerleader."

      "For the first time in my adult life, I feel part of a community."

    "Every time we're hurt or feel like we can't go on, it's someone reaching out and connecting that makes the difference."

    "Listen. Pay attention. Treasure every moment."

    "Great communication begins with connection."

    "To know that people care about how you're doing when the doings aren't so good—that's what love is."

    "All kids want what other kids have—but it can't be given with abandon."

    "Whenever you've been touched by love, a heart-print lingers."

    "As long as we play the 'us and them' game, we don't evolve as people, as a nation, as a planet."

    "If you feel incomplete, you alone must fill yourself with love in all your empty, shattered spaces."

    "We all want to feel like we matter to somebody."

    Even in the most mature spiritual partnership, a mate is only there to give you back to yourself."

    "A healthy relationship brings joy—not just some of the time but most of the time."


    "I believe in the power that not only allows the sun to rise but turns seeds into flowers and dreams into realities."

    "People are getting it: Being aware of the moment is what matters most."

    "It's the greatest discovery of life: to recognize that you're more than your body and your mind."

    "Life isn't about what you have; it's about what you have to give."

    "I've heard truly amazing stories over the years about almost every human situation. ... Recently, I heard something that left me in awe."

    "If you peel back the layers of your life—the frenzy, the noise—stillness is waiting."

    "There are no ordinary moments."

    "Become the change you want to see—those are words I live by."

    "You are the only person alive who can see your big picture —and even you can't see it all."

    "I believe miracles happen in our lives not just sometimes but every single day."

    "Your life is a journey of learning to love yourself first and then extending that love to others in every encounter."        


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