[music] [noise] thank you. whoo. love it. love, love love. tweet, tweet. [sound] whoo! [sound] you. [inaudible] so happy to be in the bubble.
[laugh] love it. aren't you all the luckiest people in theworld? oh my god, i envy you. hi amanda. >> hi oprah. [laugh]. >> i can't believe i just said that[laugh]. so we have been so excited and eagerlyanticipating this day. this campus has been buzzing since theannounce, announcement
was made last week that you'd be cominghere. and i received. >> thanks for the buzz. i'm so glad you know i still have buzz. so good. >> i received a lot of support and advicefrom my friends and that was really great and ijust wanted to say i think the best advice i've heard wasdon't worry amanda, if you mess up, oprah can justinterview herself [laugh].
>> [laugh] so, if i falter, feel free to ask yourself some questions, and we'll,and we'll be good. [laugh] but to get things started, i want,i thought we'd frame today's talk withframing three sections with quotes of yours that you shared afterwrapping up your 25th season and final season of the oprahwinfrey show. and i thought some of these quotes, i meanyou share so much wisdom but, these these really spoke to me, and thought would be agreat way to frame our discussion. >> okay.
>> so this first one that i will read foreveryone and for you so you don't have to strainyour neck is you have to know what sparks the lightin you so that you, in your own way, canilluminate the world. so i wanted to take this time to talk about your early career and how youdiscovered your calling. so lets go back to when you were collegeage. did you know that you wanted to get intotv and media specifically? >> no i did not.
i thought that i was going to be ateacher. i was in my sophomore class at tennesseestate university. i'd already been working in radio since iwas 16 and my i remember i was in mr. cox's drawingclass for theatre. and i was terrible drawer. he said, i couldn't draw a straight linewith a ruler. [laugh] and and i got a call in thatclass, from a guy at the local station cbs, and he have been calling meseveral times when i was working in radio. so i started working in radio at 16, andone
of them is fire prevention contest,another one story. and so when i went back to the station topick my prize, some guy said, would you like tohear your voice on tape. i said sure and i started reading thiscopy on tape. they called everybody in the building,said here this kid read. i was 16 they hired me in radio. so i was in radio at 16. and so i started getting calls about myfreshman year to come into television. i had never thought about it.
and still was living at home, and couldn't figure out how i'd manage those, i hadbiology at 1 o'clock, and so i couldn't figure outhow i would be able to manage my schedule. [cough] and mr. cox said to me, the onesame, same professor said you can't draw a straightline with a ruler. he said, i came back from, from takingthis phone call and he said who was that i said there's thisguy at cbs he keeps calling me, he wants me tointerview for a job, and mr. cox said, that is why you go toschool fool.
[laughing] so that cbs can call you. [laugh] that is why you are in school. so i, he said you, you leave now and gocall him back. and, and, i did. and i was hired in television not knowinganything about it. >> mm-hm. >> having in mind barbera walters butthinking. oh, okay i can do that. not knowing how to write or film oranything.
>> and i think it was because it was the,it was the times and i literally had somebody who was willing to work with methat i, that i managed to, to find my way. but i had to find my way, because, thereporting never really fit me, and what did work forme. i'm this old, i'm so old that when i started that it was the year of liveaction cam. [cough] and so, it was like video cameraslive, and so, the news stations would do a live, a live shot they would throw to somebody live even if nothing was goingon.
>> right. >> just so they could say live action cam. and what i found was i wasn't so good atthe writing part but if i was just standing up and talking aboutwhat had just happened it was really good. and then i started to feel, so i started at 19 working in television, became ananchor immediately afterwards. my father still had an 11 o'clock curfew. can you believe such a thing? [laugh] that i am, that i am
the 10 o'clock anchor [laugh] in nashvilletennessee. i am the woman on the newscast. [laugh] reading the news, and my fatherwould say be home by 11. [laugh] and i'd say, dad, the news is onat ten, he goes and it's off at 10:30 so be homeby 11. [laugh] so i, i, i had a very strictgracier father. so, anyway, i, i could feel inside myself,that reporting was not the right thing for me even though iwas happy to have the job. >> i got an offer to go to atlanta.
i was making $10,000 a year in 1971, butstill in college, so i was thinking i was doingpretty good. >> yeah. >> i got an offer to go to atlanta for$40,000 which i thought. it's over. [laugh] i'm gonna make $40,000. and my boss at the time said to me you donot know what you don't know. >> and you need to stay here until you canlearn to write better until you can can perfectyour craft as, as a journalist.
and so i, i he said we can't give you 40,but we can give you 12. so [laugh] so i stayed and you know thereason why i stayed is cuz i could feel inside myself that even though the 40was alluring at the time, that he wasabsolutely right. so to make a long story short, cuz i'd be here all day just talking about how it allcame about. i started listening, to what felt like thetruth for me. >> a couple of years later i moved tobaltimore. i could feel that as a reporter, and bythis time, 22, i'm making 22,000.
i met my best friend gale there who saidoh my god, can you imagine when your thirty andyour making 30,000. [laugh] and then you're 40 and then it's40,000. [laugh] we actually had that conversationin the bathroom. so this is i started to feel thatreporting wasn't for me. but i had my father, i had my friends. everybody was saying, oh my god, you're,you're an anchorwoman, you're on tv. i mean, you can't give up that job. >> and when i was, by the time i was
making 25, my father goes, you just hitthe jackpot. you not gonna make no more money thanthat. that's just it. so i was torn between what the world wassaying to me, and what i felt to be the truth for myself. it felt like an unnatural act for mereporting, although i knew that to a lot of people, it wasglamorous. and, i started to just inside myself thinkwhat, what
do i really wanna do, what i really wannado. and i will say this. knowing what you don't want to do is thebest possible place to be if you don't knowwhat to do. because knowing what you don't want to doleads you to figure out what it is that you really dowanna do. so you discovered talk then, right? around that time? >> i didn't discover talk.
i was being, i got demoted. >> god. >> they wanted to fire me but i was, i wasunder contract. they didn't wanna give up the 25,000 sothey were trying to keep me on to the end of theyear. so they put me on the, this is how lifeworks, [crosstalk] they put me on a talk show to try andavoid having to pay me the contract out and the momenti sat on the talk show interviewing the carvel icecream man and his multiple flavors.
[laugh] i knew that i had found home formyself. because when i was a news reporter, it wasso unnatural for me, i, you know, to cover somebody's tragedies and difficulties andthen to not to have feel anything for it. and i would go back after a fire. >> and i would take the blankets and theni would get a note from my boss saying, what the hellare you doing? >> you're just supposed to report on it. >> can't be that empathetic. >> can, cannot be that empathetic.
and it felt unnatural for me. so if i were to put it in business terms,if it were were to leave you with a message, that the truth is i have from thevery beginning listened to my instinct. all of my best decisions in life have comebecause i was attuned to what really felt like the nextright move for me. and so, it didn't feel right. i knew that i wouldn't be there forever. i never even learned the street inbaltimore, because i thought i was there longer than i thought, i was there eightyears i should've learned the streets.
[crosstalk] i kept saying to myself i'mnot gonna be here long, i'm not gonna be here, i'm not gonna be here soi'm not gonna learn the street. so when i got the call to come to chicago. >> after you know starting with a, with acoanchor and, and working in talk, for several years, i knew that itwas the right thing to do. and i knew that if i didn't even if i,didn't succeed cuz at the time, there was a, there was a guynamed phil donahue. >> who was the king of talk. and was on in chicago, and every singleperson,
except my best friend gale, said you aregonna fail. every single person, [inaudible] my bossesby this time thought i was terrific, and said, you're gonna, you're,you're waking into a land mine. you're gonna fail. chicago's a racist city. you're black you're not gonna make it. everything to, to keep me same. then they offered me a car and apartmentand all this stuff, and i said no. if i fail, then i will find out what isthe next thing for me.
>> what is the next true thing for me. >> it felt right to you, so you went forit. >> cuz it felt like this is now the move ineed to make. and i was not one of those people you know, all of my the people who worked withme in the news, they would have their tapsand they'd have their stories, and they'd have youknow resume's ready. i didn't have any of that, cuz i knew thatthe time would come. >> where i would, where what i neededwould show up for me.
>> and when that showed up, i was ready. because my definition of luck, is preparation meeting the moment ofopportunity. >> and i was prepared to be able to stepinto that, that, that world of talk in a way that i, i knew icould do it. >> great. so, often in your career i'm sure you werea minority. perhaps as the only woman. the only black person, the only personfrom a poor family.
did this pr, affect you on yourprofessional path? and how did you navigate situations inwhich you might have felt more alone? >> hm. >> and now how did that impact how youlead and how you might help people who may befeeling that same thing? >> okay, that's a lot of questions. >> i'm sorry, all right let's let's-. >> let me put my glasses on. >> i figured i had you here, i was gonna,i was gonna ask as much as i can.
>> oh, amanda went deep on me for a minutethere. whoa. back up sister girl, c'mon, back up. [laugh] so first one is. >> so how did you navigate in which youwould have felt more- >> always the only, only woman walk in theroom- >> still and there is a room full of whitemen, usually older thrills me. just thrills me. [laughing] i just, i just love it.
[laughing] usually the only black personin the room. also, never really concerned me because i,i don't look at people through color. i didn't get to be where i am by, and, who i am, by looking at the color ofpeople's skin. i really, literally, took martin lutherking at his word. and, understand that the content of aperson's character, and, refuse to let anybody else do that tome. so, i love it, just love it. and there's a wonderful phrase by mayaangelou, from a poem that she wrote called
to our grandmothers, that she says, when icome as one but i stand as 10,000. [cough] so when i walk into a room and particularly before i have somethingreally challenging to do or i'm gonna be in a circumstance where i feel i'm going to be you know, againstsome difficulties. i would literally sit, and i would call onthe 10,000. >> i would call on back to the ancestors,iwould call on those people who come before me, call onthose women who forged a path that i might be able to sit in theroom
with all of those white men, and i love itso much. [laugh] i, i call on, i call on that. >> because i know that my being where iam, and first of all, being who i am and where i am didn't come just out of myselfthat i come from a heritage and so i own that. >> and i step into that room not just as myself but i bring all of that, that,energy with me. so it has never been an issue for meexcept when i was, i think, 23, still working in,still working in baltimore.
>> i'd gone to my boss and said that theguy who was working with me, co, co, my cohost on the people are talking show,was making more money than i. and we were, we were cohosts. so i went to my boss and i said, this wasin 1970, i was older than 23, this was 1979, 80, and i said i, ijust would like to-. you know how intimidating it is to go tothe boss in the first place. [inaudible] but i'm gonna go, and i'mgonna stand up for myself. [laugh] and, i said, richard's making moremoney than i am, and i, and i, and i don't think that's fairbecause we're doing the same job.
we sit in the same show. we do the same. and, my general manager said, why, whyshould you make as much money as he? and i said, cuz we're doing the same job. and he said but he has children. [laugh] do you have children? and i said no. he said, well he has to pay for collegeeducations. so he has, he owns his own home.
do you own your home? i said no. he said, he has a mortgage to pay. he has insurance, he has do you have that? no. so, tell me, why, why do you need the sameamount of money? and i said, thank you for your time. and i left. i left.
i didn't complain about it. i didn't file a, a, a, a suit about it. i knew, that in that moment, it was timefor me to go, and that i started the process for myself, of preparing myselffor, you will not be here long. you are not gonna be able to get what youneed. i had a boss at the time who was africanamerican, and had just been for the first time, made an assistant newsdirector, and was drunk with power. drunk with power, and felt it his, ithink, i don't know, i think he woke up in the morning thinking ofthings he could do to harass me.
i decided not to file a suit against it,cuz i knew, at the time, i would lose. >> that no good would come of it, that iwould be blackballed in television, that it would turn into a major thing, and iknew, i didn't have long to stay there. i had a vision for what the future was,even though i couldn't place exactly where my future would be, i knewwho held the future. cuz i am really guided by a force that'sbigger than myself. i know that my being here on the planet isnot just of my own being. >> so you used that as momentum to justleave, cut your losses and go. >> no, i just [inaudible] and i filed itaway.
>> [crosstalk] yeah. >> there will come a time. >> [laugh] huh, it's gonna come back. yeah, you were right. i think you were right. >> when i will be sitting in the sameroom. and it happened, like, in the late 90s. i had the oprah show and i ran into thatguy. lord, jesus, thank you.
[laugh] [laugh] oh my god. oh, one of the sweetest moments i've everhappened. [laugh] oh, go ahead. [laugh] here we go. so, right now, as we sit here, we're about five miles from facebook and sherylsandberg. and last year, she published the book leanin. and it's gotten incredible traction. it had some, you know, criticism as well.
and i was wondering if you were to write abook on women in careers. what would your title be? >> mine would be, actually. mine wouldn't be lean in. it would be, step up and into yourself,because, this is the truth. there is no real doing in the world,without being first. for me, being. your presence, your connection toyourself, and that which is greater than yourself, is far moreimportant than what you do.
but also, is the thing that fuels what youdo. >> and i know that one of the things thatis so important for what happens here. at the graduate school, is that you haveleaders who are self actualized, and understand what your contribution tochange the world can be. you can only do that, if you knowyourself. you can only do that, unless you take,unless you, you cannot do it unless you take thetime. to actually know who you are, and why youare here. now, i happen to know, for sure, thatevery human being comes, comes called.
and that the calling goes beyond thedefinition of what your job is. that there is innate, there is an innate,supreme moment of destiny, for everybody. and, that's why when i was in baltimore, icould feel, this isn't it. >> this isn't it. and then in chicago after 25 years ofsuccess on the show, i started to feel, this isn't it, there is something more, somethingmore, something more that's calling me to what is the suprememoment. and everybody has that.
and you cannot fulfill it, unless you havea level of self awareness, to be connected to what is the inner voice, or the instinct, i call it your emotional gpssystem. that allows you to make the best decisionsfor yourself. and every decision, that has profited me. >> has come from me listening to that inner voice first, and every deci, everytime i've gotten into a situation where i was in trouble, it's because i didn't listento it.
i overrode that voice, that instinct, withmy own, with my own head, my own thinking. i tried to rationalize it, i tried to tellmyself. but, you know, okay, you're gonna make alot of money oh, no. and so, i am, i sit here you know,profitable, successful, by all the definitions of theworld. but, what really, really, really resonatesdeeply with me. is that i live, a fantastic life. my inner life is really intact. my, i live from the inside out.
and so, everything that i have, i havebecause i let it be fueled by who i am. and what i realized my contributions tothe planet could be. and what my real contribution is, it lookslike i'm a, i was a talk show host. it looks like, you know, i'm in themovies. it looks like, you know, i have a network. but my real contribution, the reason whyi'm here, is to help connect people tothemselves. and the higher ideas of consciousness. i'm here to help raise consciousness.
so my television platform, was to helpraise consciousness. at the beginning i didn't realize that. i thought, oh my god, i got a show! [laugh] and it wasn't until i wasinterviewing the ku klux klan one day. and, can you, imagine all the greatlessons come from things that are, that aresometimes challenging. i was interviewing ku klux klan, and i thought, as an african american oh, i'mgonna get them, i'm gonna show for every jewish
person, for every person who's beendiscriminated against. and during the commercial break, i saw the klan exchanging signals and looks at eachother. and then something inside, that instinct,i thought, i am doing nobody any good. they are loving this. they are using me. i think i'm doing an interview. i did not know it at the time. i brought them on, actually, those sameguys back, in for my last year.
and they told me, that they used thatshow, for their recruitment. i could feel that happening. and i made a decision after that show,i'll never do anything like that again. i'll never let my platform be used. >> and i will not be used. and, at the time, in the 90s, early 90s, everybody was doing,confrontational television. and i thought i was above the fray, cuzi'm, cuz i'm not like like jerry springer, idon't do that.
[laugh] so in my egoic delusion, i thoughtbecause i am not that bad. i'm really not bad. but i was doing confrontationaltelevision. i thought i was exposing, men withaffairs. we happened to have a guy on who was talking about how he had an affair withhis wife. and he was crazy enough to come on, withhis wife, and his girlfriend. people ask me, why do people do that. it's because, nobody ever asked him so.
[laugh] you say, would you come on withyour wife and girlfriend? he goes sure>> [laugh] he was thinking. >> he was thinking. so, he comes on with the wife and thegirlfriend. this is the life-changing moment for me. the klan, and this woman. the wife is there. he's in the center, and the girlfriend. and he tells his wife, he announces.
we were live television at the time. and he announced that, to, to, to theworld and to his wife, that his girlfriend waspregnant. and i did, you see her face? your mouth's open, right there. [laugh] i did exactly that. i went, oh my god! and you could hear the gasp in theaudience. and, they're like, and, i literallyreally, it
still makes my eyes water to think aboutit. i looked at her face, and i felt herhumiliation. i felt her shame, i felt it, and i, saidnever again. [cough] i will get outta television, if ihave to do this. and i went and i had a meeting with theproducers, cuz i just had the klan before, now i got theadulteress here. [laugh] and [laugh] some uplifting show, imust say. [laugh] and i said to the producers, weare gonna change. we're gonna turn this around.
and i am no longer gonna be used bytelevision. i am going to use television. what a concept! i am gonna use television, as a force for,for, i didn't say at the time for good, i said. you know, let's think about what we wannasay to the world. >> and how we wanna use this as aplatform, to speak to the world. how do we want to see the world change? how do we wanna impact to the world, andthen let
all of our shows really, be focused, andseated around that. i then said to the producers exactly whati said to you backstage. >> do not bring me a show, unless you have fully thought out what is your intentionfor doing it. because, if there is, if, if, if there isa religion, or a mantra, or law that i live by, i live by the thirdlaw of motion in physics. which is stanford. which is [laugh] for every action, there'san equal and opposite reaction. that is, that is, that is, that is myreligion.
i know that what i'm thinking, andtherefore gonna act on, is going to come back to me, in this, in a, in a, in acircular motion. just like gravity. like what goes up comes down. and so, what also propels the action, isthe intention. so, i don't do anything, without beingfully clear, about why i intend to do it. because the intention, is going todetermine, the reaction, the result, or the consequencein every circumstance. i don't care what it is.
so, i said to my producers, come to me with your intention, at whatever it is,whatever shows you're proposing, whatever ideas you'reproposing, and then i will decide based upon the intention, do i reallywanna do that? >> is his is how we wanna use thisplatform? and that really is the secret to why wewere number one, all those years, is because it was an intention-fueled, intention-based comingout of purposeful programming. [crosstalk] yeah, that's what it was.
>> great, and that's a perfect segue to goto our second section. which i read this quote, and it juststruck me as so true, and i wanted to delve into it. i've talked to nearly 30,000 people onthis show, and all 30,000 had one thing incommon. they all wanted validation, i will tellyou that every single person, you will ever meet, sharesthat common desire. so, oprah, you are a true renaissancewoman. you know, you have your own network, you
had this amazingly successful show for 25years. you've been in movies. you are one of the most importantphilanthropists of our time. so, what are the qualities? >> i love hanging around you what else areyou gonna say? [laugh] i'm just taking it all in. >> i love it too so we [crosstalk]. >> you know, the part i love the most, isrenaissance woman. when she said that, i went, what does thatreally mean?
>> i don't know but i like it. >> i was a history major so it seemed likea natural. >> i'm a renaissance woman. [laugh] who knew? okay, go ahead. >> good, i'm glad you like it [laugh][cough] what are the qualities of your leadership that make yousuccessful at such diverse pursuits? >> mm. >> and what works for, in one area, thatmaybe doesn't work in another?
[cough]. >> well, i tell you. it, it works in all areas because i, mylife is fueled by my being. >> yep. >> and the being fuels the doing, so, icome from a centered place. i come from a focus place, i come fromcompassion it's just, it's just my nature, i come from awillingness to understand. and to be understood. and i come from wanting to, to, toconnect.
i mean, the secret of that show, for 25 years, is that people could see themselvesin me. all over the world. they could see themselves in me. and even as i became. more and more financially successful,which was a big surprise to me. i was like, oh my god! this is so exciting! [laugh]
>> you mean, you got more than that30,000? >> i got more than 30,000, by the time iwas 30, so [laugh] so my. [laugh] but, what, what i realized is. through the whole process, because i'mgrounded, in my own self, that although i could have more shoes, myfeet stayed on the ground. although i was wearing better shoes, theseare kinda cute today too. [laugh] so i could keep my feet on the ground, even though i could get moreshoes. and i can understand.
i could understand that it really was,because i was grounded. i've, i've done the, was doing, andcontinued to this day, to do the consciousness work. i work at staying awake. and being awakened, is just another wordfor spirituality, but spirituality throws people off, and theythink you mean religion. when i was hiring people for my company,for own looking for presidents. when people would come in, i'd say, tellme what is your spiritual practice? and literally, would throw out, peoplewould [unknown] well, i'm not religious.
i said, i didn't ask you about yourreligion. i asked you what's your spiritualpractice. what do you do, to take care of yourself? what do you do to keep yourself centered? what do you do to let, and, you know onewomen started crying. you know that's not the person. that's a sign. >> that's a sign. so, so to answer your question.
>> everything is fueled that comes from me really wanting to be a better person onearth. >> and this is what i know to be true, the reason why the show worked is because iunderstood that that audience. my viewers, the people who watched useveryday, and would come, and just like you all did. get tickets, and they would come withtheir, you just came across campus, but that'sgood, too. but people would come from all over theworld, just to be
there with their aunts, their mothers, andthey'd come with their cousins. and there'd be a few men and they'regoing, what the hell [laugh]. or saying, well, i went to oprah with you,i went to oprah. at least get me clear for three or fourweeks, i went to oprah. i had such regard for that, and i just had a conversation with john mackey whoruns whole foods. and has written this fabulous book, you should get it, called consciouscapitalism. hm.
>> and he was talking about how the investment in the stakeholders, the peopleyou are serving. that connection between the people whoyou're trying to serve and sell to is equally as important as the peoplewho you're buying from. >> equally as important as the people whoare, you know, supporting you financially. as your stockholders if you were, youknow, you know a public company. so, i always understood that there really was no difference between me and theaudience. at times, i might have had better shoes.
but at the core, the core of, of whatreally matters, that we are the same. you know how i know that? cuz all of us are seeking the same thing. you're here at this fabulous school andwill go out into the world. and each pursue, based upon what youbelieve your talents are, what your skills are, maybe your gifts are, butyou're seeking the same thing. everybody wants to fulfill the highest,truest expression of yourself as a human being. that's what you're looking for.
the highest, truest expression of yourselfas a human being. and because i understand that. i understand that if you're working in abakery and that's where you want to be. and that may be the, that may be what youalways wanted to do is to bake. >> mh-hm. >> pies for people, or to offer your gift. then, then that's, that's for you. and there's no difference between you andme, except that's your platform. >> that's your show everyday.
so my understanding of that has allowed meto, you know. >> reach everyone. >> to reach everyone. and, and there's no way that you wouldn't. because that, that's what i truly feel. and when i sit down to talk to somebody,whether i'm talking to a murderer. i sat down and i interviewed a guy who,killed his twin daughters. i've interviewed child molesters. trying to figure out what, what it is,what is,
what it is they do and why they do it. obviously lots of people who have beenvictimized through molestation. presidents, politicians, beyoncã© herself[laugh]. >> ha beyoncã©. >> at the end of every interview themurderer to beyoncã©. the question everybody asks that you mentioned is, wasthat okay, how was that. everybody says that and i, and i know justwait for it. was that okay, was i okay, and when ifinish i'll say to you, was i okay.
>> i'm gonna ask you too. you're very okay. you're doing very okay, very okay. >> whew! >> very okay, so, what i started to feel,feel, sense, is that there's a common thread that runsthrough every interview. it doesn't matter what is, or what it isabout, everybody wants to know. and this is the truth, all of yourarguments are really about the same thing. it's about.
did you hear me? did you see me? and did what i said mean anything to you? that's what everything's about. so the reason why i left my boss's office,when i was asking for a raise, i, i knew he didn't hear norsee me neither. and that i was not going to get thevalidation that i needed. now i couldn't articulate that at thetime, but i just knew let met get out of here.
but now, i know, i can feel it inside ofmyself. i'm not going to get the validation thati'm looking for. i also know, that that's what every humanbeing is looking for. they are looking to know, are you fullyhere with me. are you fully here, or are you distracted? that's what your, that's what yourchildren want to know, that's your, what the people you work for want to know,that's what you want to know. is did, did, did you hear me? and every argument isn't about what youthink your arguing about.
it's really about, but can you hear me? >> yes ma'am. >> and many people have even said it. >> yes. >> have you not said it? you're not hearing me. >> you're not hearing me. so, having, having that understanding. and i would have to say that the show, oneof the reasons why
i live such a fantastic life, is because ipay attention. i pay attention to my life. and your life is your greatest teacher. every single thing that's happening to youevery day. your, your joys, your, your, yoursadnesses, your challenges, your worries, your, everything is happening to bring youcloser to in here. everything is trying to take you home toyourself. and when you're at home with yourself,when you're solidly there, connected towhatever you call creation.
even if you don't call it anything,connected to an energy force that is. that has unlimited power for you. you could connect to, to that. you, you, you are your best. my greatest, one of my greatest lessonscame from a guy who wrote a book called seed of thesoul. i was doing him on the show and i startedtalking this consciousness spiritual talk, you know,two months after i started the, the show. and my producers will all be like, oh god,there she goes again.
but i knew that even though masses ofpeople were not tuning in for that. that the whole purpose of that platformwas to try to lift people up. and now, i have a network and i canarticulate what it is i'm trying to do. i'm trying to bring little pieces of lightinto people's lives. because what is my job? my job is not to be an interviewer. my job is not to be a talk show host orjust to own a network. i am here to raise the level ofconsciousness, to connect people to ideas and stories, so that they can seethemselves and live better lives.
>> thank you. i want to switch gears and focus a bit onphilanthropy. >> are you worried about getting all ofyour stuff in? >> no, we're doing great. we're just going to keep going. i think everyone likes this, right? we're good? [sound]. >> so, i watched your interview with theforbes conference on philanthropy.
and you said something really interesting. which is that early on some of yourbiggest mistakes in giving were because you madeemotional decisions. >> and yet we learn here at the gsb like, one of the crucial messages that we takeaway from us. is that it is really important to be, as you said before, self aware, to beunderstanding. often to share our emotions with others. you yourself have been the master of youknow,
harnessing vulnerability, with yourselfand your guests over the years. so, how do you strike a balance betweenemotion and logic. how do you make sure that you're makinglogical decisions when you're giving. >> these are so well thought out. >> okay, let me think about that for amoment. very good. well i would have to say, that, you needboth. you need emotion and you need logic. so, in the beginning, i was purelyemotional.
made a lot of mistakes. i happened to be sitting. i was sharing this story with dean salonerjust before he came on. i was sitting in nelson mandela's living room. and i'm not just saying that to name drop. >> [laugh]. >> i was actually sitting there. >> you stayed with him, right.
>> i stayed with him for, stayed with himfor ten days. and as i said to the dean [unknown] icould have, i literally could have written abook called 29 meals. cuz i had 29 meals with him at thatparticular time. i wish i had. >> yeah you should. >> i should've. >> you should do it now. >> i didn't record it so some things i
think was that the 2nd meal or the 12thmeal. anyway, so i was sitting in nelson,sitting with adiva and. we were talking about how, how do youreally make an impact in the world. and we were reading the paper and we, i'dreached the point where i was no longer like, oh my god what am igonna say. cuz we were just sitting in silencereading the paper. and there was an article in the paperabout, you know, some tragic situation. and we both started talking about the wayto end poverty is through education. and i said to him, i really at some pointwould like to build a school over there.
and then, he got up and called theminister to education, and said get over here now, oprah wants tobuild a school. and i was like well i was thinking aboutit. i didn't say i wanted to do it today. but so we literally started the processthen. it was an emotional decision for me inthat i think philanthropy should come out of you, your doing shouldcome out of your being. everybody knows my story as a poor negrochild growing up in apartheid mississippi. and if it were not for education and beingborn at the right time.
cuz i was literally born in the year ofdesegregation. five years before, three years before, twoyears before, nobody would of even had the hope that my life could ofbeen any different. so because i was born at that time, andliterally moved out of mississippi by the time i was in my firstclassroom. i was in kindergarten. wrote my kindergarten teacher a letter,ms. new. i said, dear ms. new, i do not belonghere. >> oh.
>> cuz i know a lot of big words. and then, i wrote every big word i knew. elephant [laugh], hippopotamus,mississippi, nicodemus. shadrackmeshackinthebindigo from thebible, so, and then ms news says, who did this? i said, i did. so,they marched me off to the principalsoffice, the only time i was ever in there. principals office, principal made me write thosewords again and
i got myself out of kindergarten, intofirst grade. >> oh my god. >> first grade, skipped second grade,hellerher. the renaissance began. >> yea. yea, yea. >> you've always had this conviction. you've always, it seems like you've alwaysknown who you are, even if you were. >> well i knew i didn't belong there withthose kids.
>> you knew that. >> in kindergarten, you're sitting there,that's what i'm talking about listen to yourinstincts. you're looking around and say these kids[laugh] they are playing with some blocks[crosstalk]. and i know nicodemus [laugh]. i do not think i belong in here, i do notbelong in here so my point is, [laugh] my point is education reallyopened the door as we all know. i'm not gonna give you the educationspeech.
how do you change a person's life. i had prior to starting my school in southafrica, i had this big idea that i was going to,emotional. that i was gonna take all, 100 familiesout of the projects, in cabrini green. and i was gonna give them a new life and i was gonna buy them homes and stuff andthat did not work. it failed miserably. i had a big sister program that i started,failed miserably. so i realized that for me.
first of all, i realize you don't change, as you all are recognizing through theseed program. you first have to change the way a personthinks and see themselves. so you've gotta to create a sense ofaspiration, a sense of hopefulness so a person can see, can begin to even have avision for a better life. and if you can't connect to that, then,then, then, then you, then you lose. you lose and they lose. and it's just money after money aftermoney. so, for me it's using my philanthropy todo what i have found to be
enormously, helpful. you know, the light in my life waseducation. so for me, in the beginning when i startedto make money, especially when it's published,everybody and your brother calls you. and then you've got to make a decision. am i going to do what everybody else wantsme to do? or, am i going to be led by who i reallyam? and i learned, as will happen to anybodywho's successful in your family, people start treating youlike the first national bank.
and, you've got to decide. you've got to draw the boundaries foryourself. and decide, how are you gonna use, yourmoney, your talent, your time, in such a way that it's going toserve you first. because if you, if it doesn't allow you tobe filled up. then you get depleted and you no longer,you can't keep doing it. so my decisions are now emotional andlogical. meaning i choose education, but i do it insuch a way that's actually going to benefit theperson that i'm serving.
then it's not just, oh i want to helppeople. so to move on to our last part, you saidat the end of your 25 years, gratitude is the single greatest treasure i willtake with me from this experience. so now, you started your own network andyou continue to be very involved in your philanthropyand your school. is there anything left that you're scared totry? >> whoa, amanda. you must have been up all night long.
>> i've prepared a little bit. just a little. >> oh, my goodness. anything left that i'm scared to try? no. [laugh] no, and i'm just trying to thinkwhat, i'm just trying to think, well, is there somethingthat i haven't thought of. >> well, there's not much you haven't doneso. >> well, but i stay in my lane.
>> i stay, i know where my lane is. i know what my lane is. i know that my real calling is what i saidearlier. i know what it looks like to the rest ofthe world. oh, she's a talk show celebrity but ireally know what i'm here to do, which is the number one thing iwould say to you. first let me answer your question. so no, there's nothing, i'm not scared totry? i haven't even, i had hit my stride but ihaven't done what i ultimately came to do.
there still is a supreme moment of destinythat awaits me and i also knew that during the oprahshow. i've kept a journal since i was 15 yearsold. it's so pitiful when you go back and see how pathetic you were as a person,sometimes. but i always knew even during that show,that the show, we live in a fame culture, we lived in a famecentered world, you know. had this literally been during the renaissance, people would have valueddifferent things.
we've been doing the transcendentalistperiod, people valued different things but in our culture wevalue fame. so i always understood that that was the basis for me being known, in the worldbecause people wouldn't be able to hear you,unless you came with some swag or swagger, youknow? and i also understood that that was justthe foundation to be heard but that there was a lot moreto be said. so for me, owning a network or being apart of a network is
about continuing to use that platform toraise the consciousness. i do a show on sundays, which you can seelive called super soul sunday, where i literally talk to thought leaders from around the world and ask thequestions. not as good as you, i'm gonna consult withyou. >> ask the questions in life that reallymatter to get people thinking about what reallymatters in their lives and the responses that i get from people,just regarding that show let me know that i'm on theright track.
i'm moving in the right direction and so,i'm not afraid because i know that all of us have limitedtime here but the real question is who are you and what doyou want to do with it? and how are you going to use who you are? my favorite line from seed of the soul iswhen the personality, comes to serve the energy of your soul, that isauthentic empowerment. so as graduates of this great school, totake what you've learned here, to take what is apart of your nature and what you've developed as skillsand
what really feeds your passion, to takethat and to align that with the deeper potentialimpossibility of your soul's coming. if you align your personality with whatyour soul came to do, and everybody has it, alignyour personality with your purpose and nobodycan touch you and you wake up everyday and you are firedup. you're just like oh, my god, another day! it's so great!
because everybody has a purpose. so you're whole thing is to figure outwhat that is. your real job is to figure out why you'rereally here and then get about the business of doing that. >> that's it. >> so we all know now what we have to do,right? only wait. [laugh]>> yeah. >> so oprah, thank you so much.
>> are we gonna take some questions? >> well, yeah, so that's what i wanted tosay. i'd love to put it up. >> everybody has a class at 1:15, right? okay, i'll get you out of here. [laugh] they told me hard out. one o'clock. yeah. but so we think we have, do we
have a first question from twitter, comingforward? throughout the session, the first questionasked today was matt sucedo who asked, will youmarry me? >> oh, it looks like he's up there. >> matt, where's the ring? >> matt, do we need marriage? oh my god, that's gonna be such a pre-nupbetween us, i've gotta say. [laugh]>> what else you got, andre?
>> and then we had javier hernandez, whoasked, oprah who has been your favoriteinterviewee and why? >> well, actually, i would have to say,there's so many over the years and the truth is thatthe people whose names that i can't evenremember and you probably wouldn't remember, have been themost revelatory, the most impactful. i mean, watching people step out oftragedies and define triumph for themselves. those people, really, have been the onesthat really
shaped me and made me a better humanbeing. i did an interview once with a woman andactually with doctor phil, where she had come to the show and then wasplanning to kill herself afterwards she said because her daughter had beenmurdered eight years before and she couldn't getpast it and she just wanted to come on theoprah show and talk about it. and phil said to her, why do you spend allyour time lamenting, all these years lamenting the death, insteadof celebrating the life? you've let the one day define your
daughter's entire life and she looked upat him and she said you know, i never thoughtabout it that way before with tears. i could feel that, the shift in her. so the most important moments for me havebeen when literally, i can see that somebodyhas made a shift in the way they see themselves inthe world or you know, what we call now, an ahamoment. those, i live for that, those are myfavorite interviews but most recently, i just lastweek interviewed pharrell.
oh, my god. i was so happy. >> but you made him cry. i didn't make him cry. i didn't make him cry, amanda. >> but he cried but it was happy tears. >> yeah, i would have to say. i don't actually try to make people cryand if i think, literally, we cut a lot of it because hewent into the ugly cry.
[laugh] he went into the ugly cry. >> you could tell it was real. >> yeah, it was very real and so we said,we gotta save the brother. the brother cannot walk out into the worldwith the ugly cry. it's okay to have a little sniffle snifflebut then just don't go [sound]. but i could also feel him. i mean, i understand, you know why? because i just loved him. i just loved him.
anybody who, and anybody who saw thatinterview if you liked him a little bit before, you really loved him afterwardsbecause that's a person who's absolutely connectedto here. >> and he, yeah, he knows his purpose. >> yeah, he does. >> oh, he's very much connected to it andwhen he saw, he started crying when he saw the videos of people all over theworld dancing to the happy song. >> there is a version made here too. >> here?
>> you guys did one too? >> yeah, i think some of the mba onesright? raise your hand if you are in it. >> yeah! >> didn't it make you happy to do it? yeah, so he saw that video, like 30seconds of video from people in all these different countries and thename of the countries were up. he just felt the emotion and the impact ofusing his life in such a way that you're able now totouch all of those
people, which is really what we're alllooking to do and all of us have the ability to do it, atwhatever level you are. at whatever level, and i always say topeople, oh, i have a big stage. some people have a smaller stage. some people have you know, what's yourstage? we're going to take one from the audiencenow. >> let's do it. all right. here we go.
>> introduce yourself. >> hi, i'm kirsten. i'm a second year mba student here at thejsb. so this week at the jsb we're hostingsomething called climate week to raise awareness about climatechange among the business students here. so you've interviewed people like leo toal gore, president obama on this reallyimportant issue. so i want to get a sense from you, how doyou navigate raising the level of consciousness around issues like climatechange that are important, but are
also very complex and politicized? [laugh]we came prepared. we came prepared today, huh? wow. >> i do not know the answer to thatquestion. i do not know. [sound] if i knew that, we would have, iwould have like, made it a club and we would have, i would have had every bodycome join my environmental club. now, i don't know that is such a complex,beautiful
question and the fact that you are evenasking it or engaged in the process of trying to figureout the answer thrills me, cuz that's what wouldhappen here at stanford. so i really do not have an answer to thatquestion. thank you, do we have time for one more? >> you have to because you can't end on aquestion without an answer. >> we got one. >> i came here to get stumped, yeah. >> hi oprah, my name is melissa and iwanted
to know, how do you think about balancingselflessness with selfishness? selflessness with selfishness. why are you asking me that question? [laugh] it's kind of the tension betweenputting yourself first and also, taking care ofothers. okay. well, i would say this. there is no, you have no, well, everybody's heard the whole oxygen maskthing.
the truth is, you don't have anything togive that you don't have. so you have to keep your own self full. that's your job. you know, one of my daughters is here today from oprah winfrey leadershipacademy. stand up shenay, so everybody can see you. [sound] you're going to end your firstyear soon. oh my god, it's your first year. i say to my girls all of the time, thatyou're
real work is to figure out where yourpower base is and to work on the alignment ofyour personality, your gifts that you have to give with the real reason why you're here. that's the number one thing you have todo, is to work on yourself and to fill yourself up andkeep your cup full. keep yourself full. i used to be afraid of that. i used to be afraid, particularly, frompeople
who'd say, oh, she's so full of herself. mm, she's so full of herself and now, iembrace it. i consider it a compliment that i am fullof myself because only when you're full. i'm full, i'm overflowing. my cup runneth over. i have so much. i have so much to offer and so much to give and i am not afraid of honoringmyself, you know. it's miraculous when you think about it.
first of all, for me, my father and mothernever married. they had sex one time underneath an oaktree because she was wearing a poodle skirt in1953. >> and my dad to this day says, i wannaknow what was under that skirt. that's what i wanna know. he wanted to know what was under theskirt. they didn't really have a relationship. she wanted one but you know, he went underthe skirt and that was it and one time, under theoak tree, bam.
renaissance. >> [laugh]>> woman is born. >> that's why i know my life is biggerthan that. my life has to be bigger, as your is,bigger than a moment, than a poodle skirt. it's much bigger. the design, the reason why i'm here ismuch bigger than oh, i think i wanna see what's underthere. so the ability to take care of that, tohonor that, to honor yourself and that which is greater than yourself, that whichwas the reason for your being here.
there's no selflessness in that. only through that do you have the abilityto offer yourself, your whole self, your full expression of who you are,to the rest of the world. so i remember the very first time i had alife coach.they weren't called that at the time but an expert on whoshared with our audience, the women. she did a list and say where are you onthe list? and literally, in that audience, womenbooed her, when she said put yourself top of thelist. this was in 1992.
in 1992, the idea of being top of your ownlist, was people like, how dare she? she doesn't have children. i said, she didn't say abandon yourchildren and go running in the streets. she just said, put yourself at the top ofthe list. nurture yourself. honor yourself. stop the crazy mind chatter in your headthat tells you all the time that you're not good enough because that's the number one, i've found too, issue witheverybody.
the reason people say, you know, how isthat? how is that? >> it's cuz you wanna know how do youmeasure up. well, to know that your just being here,your just being here, however that sperm, bam, hit thategg, however that occurred for you, that your being here is such amiraculous thing and that your real job is to honor that, is tohonor that. and the sooner you figure that out, ohwow, wow, i'm one of the lucky ones. i got to be here.
so how do you continue to prepare yourselfto live out the highest, fullest, truest expression of yourself asa human being? i jst wanna end with this: there are nomistakes. there really aren't any, cuz you have asupreme destiny. when you're in your little mind, in your little personality mind or you're notcentered, you really don't know who you are but youcome from something greater and bigger. we really all are the same. you don't know that, you get allflustered, you get
stressed all the time, wanting somethingto be what it isn't. there's a supreme moment of destinycalling on your life. your job is to feel that, to hear that, toknow that and sometimes, when you're notlistening, you get taken off track. you get in the wrong marriage, the wrongrelationship, you take the wrong job. yeah, but it's all leading to the samepath. there are no wrong paths. there are none. there's no such thing as failure really,because failure is
just that thing, trying to move you inanother direction. so you get as much from your losses, asyou do from your victory cuz the losses are there towake you up. the losses are to say, fool, that is why you go to school, so that cbs can callyou. so when you understand that you don'tallow yourself to be completely thrown by a grade or by a circumstance becauseyour life is bigger than any one experience and if i had, i alwaysask people on super soul sunday to tell me, what would you sayto your younger self?
every person says in one form or another,i would have said, relax. >> [cough]>> relax. it's gonna be okay. it really is gonna be okay because even ifyou're on a detour right now and that's how youknow, when you're not at ease with yourself, when you'refeeling like [sound], that is the cue that you need to be moving inanother direction. don't let yourself get all thrown off,continue to be thrown off course. when you're feeling off course, that's thekey.
how do i turn around? so when everybody was talking about, wheni started this network, if i had only known, good lord, howdifficult it would be. the way through the challenge is to getstill and ask yourself what is the next rightmove? not think about oh, i got all of this to,what is the next right move and then from thatspace make the next right move and the next right move and notto be overwhelmed by it because you know your life is biggerthan that one moment.
you know you're not defined by whatsomebody says is a failure for you because failureis just there to point you in a differentdirection and that's all the time i got right now. [applause]>> good job! good job! [applause] yeah! wow! [applause]