Oprah Gail Winfrey was born on January 29, 1954, in Kosciusko, Mississippi. Oprah's bittersweet childhood was plagued with sexual abuse and early-on success. She was able to read when she was only 2 years old, joined school the following year, and by the end of it, she reached third class.
The next few years of her life, she lived between Milwaukee, with her mother, and Nashville, with her father. After some rebellious years with her mother, she moved in permanently with her father. A few years later, she became Nashville's first African-American woman to co-anchor the evening news, at age 19.
Ever since then, Oprah Winfrey has been a worldwide phenomenon. From morning news host to having her own show the 'Oprah Winfrey Show', she has done it all -- from Steven Spielberg-directed movies to animation voice-over, owning her own channel 'OWN (Oprah Winfrey Network), her production company 'Harpo', magazines, books; the list is endless.
"The biggest adventure you can take is to live the life of your dreams."
Oprah has but 5 rules she sticks to fight adversity and come out on the other side victorious. I've recently written them all down in my Bullet Keeper to remind me of Oprah's inspiring journey.
1. Always Take 'Me' Time
When we're so busy chasing after the life we dreamed of, we tend to forget to take the time to appreciate ourselves. In an overcrowded world of people and technology, it becomes increasingly crucial to take a minute to stop and catch your breath.
"My therapy has come from paying attention to my life."
When you spend your time constantly looking at what's to come, you miss the opportunity to appreciate what's currently available in your world. Oprah suggests 20 minutes of meditation in the morning and in the evening.
2. Live Only in The Present
Given Oprah's troubled past, it's no wonder she likes to focus in the present. Like many others, she chooses every day to let go of her past.
This principle can also be applied in your pursuit of success. Whatever mistakes you made in your past, make sure you extract the lessons you had to learn. Dwelling in it, no matter how terribly you might feel, will further rob you of your precious time.
"Whatever has happened to you in your past has no power over this present moment, because life is now."
Establish healthy habits -- like journaling and meditation, -- will help you stay focused on your goals and steer you away from past mistakes.
3. Balance is Key
If you're going through a tough spot, remind yourself of Oprah's words:
"Where there is no struggle, there is no strength."
What you are trying to achieve is unique, regardless of how many other versions may be out there. As long as you do it, it will always be unique. No one can do anything quite like you. Only you can bring your personality and your energy into what you create.
For that reason, it won't be an easy task. It doesn't mean you need to give it your all until exhaustion. It just means you have to keep trying and learning with each challenge. It will be a long road -- true success usually takes its time to come into your life.
Remember you need to take as much as you give. Give 100% to your dreams, but give 100% to yourself, too.
4. Be Grateful From The Moment You Wake Up
"The whole point of being alive is to evolve into the complete person you were intended to be."
As cliché as it may sound, you need to remind yourself how lucky you are to be alive. Each day you wake up is a new opportunity you get to be the productivity beast you want to be.
I've mentioned in the past the importance of being grateful and keeping a journal helps you with that. Every morning when I wake up, I write down on my Bullet Keeper the things I'm grateful for to remind myself how lucky I am.
When you start your day feeling gratitude, you're immediately setting yourself up for success. The Bullet Keeper, especially, allows me at a quick glance to see the small, but important things in my life I appreciate and bring me strength.
5. Make Your Own "Beauty" Standards
While Oprah was referring to accepting who we are and pushing aside beauty standards, her words can be applied to our lives either way. Success comes in many forms so it is foolish for us to chase after other people's success.
"You become what you believe, not what you think or what you want."
No goal is too small or too big, only your determination is. For you, success might be to get married and start or family; maybe you want to climb the Mount Everest; maybe you've dreamed of owning your own business; whatever you chose, it is your dream -- your version of success.
Never let anyone else what your success looks like. Remember that whatever you achieve, you'll be the one living with it.
When it comes to personal victory, Oprah has it figured out. It all starts with letting go of your past, appreciating yourself and your life, and defining who you want to be. Clear this out in your head, and remember Oprah's words:
"What I know is, is that if you do work that you love, and the work fulfills you, the rest will come."