100 Oprah Winfrey Quotes to Empower and Inspire You

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Oprah is an American media executive, actress, talk show host, producer and philanthropist. She was born into poverty to a teenage single mother, and raised in inner-city Milwaukee.

Her story is full of ups and downs, epic highs, and crashing lows.

The Oprah Winfrey Show was the highest-rated TV program of its kind in history and earned her the title of “Queen of All Media.”

Oprah was the richest African American of the 20th century and North America’s first black multi-billionaire.

As well as making her exceptionally wealthy, Oprah has used the power and influence she has gained in the media to help others and has been ranked as “the greatest black philanthropist” in American history.

Learn more about her inspiring story with these Oprah Winfrey quotes about success, happiness, wealth, and growth.

Oprah quote "Do what you have to do until you can do what you want to do"
“Do what you have to do until you can do what you want to do.” – Oprah Winfrey

Oprah on Failure and Moving Forwards

Oprah may be extremely successful in the media business now, but like most people she started at the bottom.

During high school, she landed a job working on the local radio station before making the switch to television. In 1976, aged just 22, she was co-anchor of the six 0-clock news on Baltimore’s WJZ-TV.

However, a year later she was removed and forced to work lesser jobs at the station. The producer told her that she didn’t have “the look” and therefore wouldn’t be able to “connect” with the viewers.

Oprah quote "The greatest discovery of all time is that a person can change his future by merely changing his attitude"
“The greatest discovery of all time is that a person can change his future by merely changing his attitude.” – Oprah Winfrey

Where there is no struggle there is no strength.

It doesn’t matter who you are, where you come from. The ability to triumph begins with you – always.

Forgiveness is letting go of the hope that the past can be changed.

I would like to thank the people who’ve brought me those dark moments, when I felt most wounded, betrayed. You have been my greatest teachers.

The great courageous act that we must all do, is to have the courage to step out of our history and past so that we can live our dreams.

Oprah Winfrey quote "Turn your wounds into wisdom"
“Turn your wounds into wisdom.” – Oprah Winfrey

You look at yourself and you accept yourself for who you are, and once you accept yourself for who you are you become a better person.

If you want your life to be more rewarding, you have to change the way you think.

In the mist of Difficulty lies Opportunity.

Doing the best at this moment puts you in the best place for the next moment.

Do the one thing you think you cannot do. Fail at it. Try again. Do better the second time. The only people who never tumble are those who never mount the high wire. This is your moment. Own it.

“I know for sure that what we dwell on is who we become”
“I know for sure that what we dwell on is who we become.” – Oprah Winfrey

Wherever you are in your journey, I hope you, too, will keep encountering challenges. It is a blessing to be able to survive them, to be able to keep putting one foot in front of the other—to be in a position to make the climb up life’s mountain, knowing that the summit still lies ahead. And every experience is a valuable teacher.

Every time you suppress some part of yourself or allow others to play you small, you are ignoring the owner’s manual your Creator gave you. What I know for sure is this: You are built not to shrink down to less but to blossom into more. To be more splendid. To be more extraordinary. To use every moment to fill yourself up.

One of the hardest things in life to learn are which bridges to cross and which bridges to burn.

Oprah Winfrey quote “You can have it all. Just not all at once”
“You can have it all. Just not all at once.” – Oprah Winfrey

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

When people show you who they are … believe them!

You get to know who you really are in a crisis.

If friends disappoint you over and over, that’s in large part your own fault. Once someone has shown a tendency to be self-centered, you need to recognize that and take care of yourself; people aren’t going to change simply because you want them to.

True forgiveness is when you can say, ‘Thank you for that experience.’

“I trust that everything happens for a reason, even if we are not wise enough to see it”
“I trust that everything happens for a reason, even if we are not wise enough to see it.” – Oprah Winfrey

I believe that every single event in life happens in an opportunity to choose love over fear.

I don’t believe in failure. It’s not failure if you enjoy the process.

Real integrity is doing the right thing, knowing that nobody’s going to know whether you did it or not.

You are responsible for your life. You can’t keep blaming somebody else for your dysfunction. Life is really about moving on.

“So go ahead. Fall down. The world looks different from the ground”
“So go ahead. Fall down. The world looks different from the ground.” – Oprah Winfrey

In 2013, Oprah Winfrey was the commencement speaker at the 2013 graduations at Harvard University. Her speech was inspiring and encouraging to the new graduates, because it talked about her failures as well as her successes.

Rising from a background of poverty and need, often told that she would not succeed, Oprah offered her own unique brand of advice about failure to the audience:

“It doesn’t matter how far you might rise. At some point you are bound to stumble… If you’re constantly pushing yourself higher, the law of averages, not to mention the Myth of Icarus, predicts that you will at some point fall. And when you do I want you to know this, remember this: there is no such thing as failure. Failure is just life trying to move us in another direction.

Oprah Winfrey quote "Everyone is the keeper of a dream"
“Everyone is the keeper of a dream.” – Oprah Winfrey

Oprah Quotes about Dreams

Oprah is often said to be the perfect embodiment of the American Dream.

She is certainly extremely successful and wealthy, and has faced plenty of adversity. Many of these Oprah Winfrey quotes are inspired by her struggles and speak directly about following your dreams.

Oprah quote "Self-esteem means knowing you are the dream"
“Self-esteem means knowing you are the dream.” – Oprah Winfrey

You’ve got to follow your passion. You’ve got to figure out what it is you love – who you really are. And have the courage to do that. I believe that the only courage anybody ever needs is the courage to follow your own dreams.

The key to realizing a dream is to focus not on success but significance, and then even the small steps and little victories along your path will take on greater meaning.

I have crossed over on the backs of Sojourner Truth, Harriet Tubman, Fannie Lou Hamer, and Madam C. J. Walker. Because of them I can now live the dream. I am the seed of the free, and I know it. I intend to bear great fruit.

All of us need a vision for our lives, and even as we work to achieve that vision, we must surrender to the power that is greater than we know. It’s one of the defining principles of my life that I love to share: God can dream a bigger dream for you than you could ever dream for yourself.

“The more you praise and celebrate your life, the more there is in life to celebrate”
“The more you praise and celebrate your life, the more there is in life to celebrate.’ – Oprah Winfrey

The way to choose happiness is to follow what is right and real and the truth for you. You can never be happy living someone else’s dream. Live your own. And you will for sure know the meaning of happiness.

Bravery shows up in everyday life when people have the courage to live their truth, their vision and their dreams.

Whatever our dreams, ideas, or projects, we plant a seed, nurture it — and then reap the fruits of our labors.

I urge you to pursue preserving your personal history to allow your children and grandchildren to know who you were as a child and what your hopes and dreams were.

Your calling isn’t something that somebody can tell you about. It’s what you feel. It is the thing that gives you juice. The thing that you are supposed to do. And nobody can tell you what that is. You know it inside yourself.

Oprah quote “You don’t become what you want, you become what you believe”
“You don’t become what you want, you become what you believe.” – Oprah Winfrey

The best thing about dreams is that fleeting moment, when you are between asleep and awake, when you don’t know the difference between reality and fantasy, when for just that one moment you feel with your entire soul that the dream is reality, and it really happened.

I’ve come to believe that each of us has a personal calling that’s as unique as a fingerprint – and that the best way to succeed is to discover what you love and then find a way to offer it to others in the form of service, working hard, and also allowing the energy of the universe to lead you.

Don’t worry about being successful, but work toward being significant and the success will naturally follow.

The biggest adventure you can ever take is to live the life of your dreams.

Listen to the rhythm of your own calling, and follow that.

Oprah Winfrey quote "Anything you can imagine you can create"
“Anything you can imagine you can create.” – Oprah Winfrey

Oprah On Financial and Personal Success

The Oprah Winfrey Show broadcast for the first time on national TV on 8 September 1986 and quickly became the number-one daytime talk show in America.

This down-to-earth, emotional and inquisitive nature is the key to Oprah’s success, which has continued for three decades.

What started out as a tabloid talk show slowly transformed into something much bigger – a show dealing with charity work, substance abuse, cancer and heart disease, and many other topics.

"The reason I've been able to be so financially successful is my focus has never, ever for one minute been money"
“The reason I’ve been able to be so financially successful is my focus has never, ever for one minute been money.” – Oprah Winfrey

Cheers to a new year and another chance for us to get it right.

Your true passion should feel like breathing; it’s that natural.

As you become more clear about who you really are, you’ll be better able to decide what is best for you – the first time around.

When I look at the future, it’s so bright it burns my eyes!

You have to find what sparks a light in you so that you in your own way can illuminate the world.

Challenges are gifts that force us to search for a new center of gravity. Don’t fight them. Just find a new way to stand.

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

Oprah Winfrey quote “To love yourself is a never-ending journey”
“To love yourself is a never-ending journey.” – Oprah Winfrey

Leadership is about empathy. It is about having the ability to relate to and connect with people for the purpose of inspiring and empowering their lives.

The big secret in life is there is no secret. Whatever your goal. You can get there if you’re willing to work.

I am grateful for the blessings of wealth, but it hasn’t changed who I am. My feet are still on the ground. I’m just wearing better shoes.

Luck is a matter of preparation meeting opportunity.

With every experience, you alone are painting your own canvas, thought by thought, choice by choice.

Oprah quote "Use your life to serve the world, and you will find that it also serves you"
“Use your life to serve the world, and you will find that it also serves you.” – Oprah Winfrey

Think like a queen. A queen if not afraid to fail. Failure is another stepping stone to greatness.

The more thankful I became, the more my bounty increased. That’s because – for sure – what you focus on expands. When you focus on the goodness in life, you create more of it.

What I know is, is that if you do work that you love, and the work fulfills you, the rest will come.

I was once afraid of people saying, ‘Who does she think she is?’ Now I have the courage to stand and say, ‘This is who I am.’

Passion is energy. Feel the power that comes from focusing on what excites you.

Oprah quote “You know you are on the road to success if you would do your job and not be paid for it”
“You know you are on the road to success if you would do your job and not be paid for it.” – Oprah Winfrey

Oprah Winfrey on Life

The Oprah Winfrey Show aired for the last time in May 2011. However, we still talk about her show, and Oprah herself is more successful than ever.

The reason for this is because Oprah has never stopped evolving.

As an actress, she has stared in or voiced characters in many films and TV shows – from The Color Purple to Crash, Disney’s The Princess and the Frog and A Wrinkle in Time.

She is also a writer, has her own magazine, and appears on the radio on her very own XM station.

She is often recognized as one of the most influential people in the world because so many people are still inspired by her story and her success.

"Breathe. Let go. And remind yourself that this very moment is the only one you know you have for sure"
“Breathe. Let go. And remind yourself that this very moment is the only one you know you have for sure.” – Oprah Winfrey

This is a call to arms. A call to be gentle, to be forgiving, to be generous with yourself. The next time you look into the mirror, try to let go of the story line that says you’re too fat or too sallow, too ashy or too old, your eyes are too small or your nose too big; just look into the mirror and see your face. When the criticism drops away, what you will see then is just you, without judgment, and that is the first step toward transforming your experience of the world.

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

Everyone wants to ride with you in the limo, but what you want is someone who will take the bus with you when the limo breaks down.

Some women have a weakness for shoes… I can go barefoot if necessary. I have a weakness for books.

Oprah quote “Every day brings a chance to live free of regret and with as much joy, fun, and laughter as you can stand”
“Every day brings a chance to live free of regret and with as much joy, fun, and laughter as you can stand.” – Oprah Winfrey

Follow your instincts. That’s where true wisdom manifests itself.

Meditate. Breathe consciously. Listen. Pay attention. Treasure every moment. Make the connection.

The whole point of being alive is to evolve into the complete person you were intended to be.

Only make decisions that support your self-image, self-esteem, and self-worth.

Forgiveness is giving up the hope that the past could have been any different.

You are where you are in life because of what you believe is possible for yourself.

Oprah Winfrey quote "Surround yourself with only people who are going to lift you higher"
“Surround yourself with only people who are going to lift you higher.” – Oprah Winfrey

If a man wants you, nothing can keep him away. If he doesn’t want you, nothing can make him stay.

Education is the key to unlocking the world, a passport to freedom.

Books were my pass to personal freedom. I learned to read at age three, and there discovered was a whole world to conquer that went beyond our farm in Mississippi.

Dogs are my favorite role models. I want to work like a dog, doing what I was born to do with joy and purpose. I want to play like a dog, with total, jolly abandon. I want to love like a dog, with unabashed devotion and complete lack of concern about what people do for a living, how much money they have, or how much they weigh. The fact that we still live with dogs, even when we don’t have to herd or hunt our dinner, gives me hope for humans and canines alike.

I have a lot of things to prove to myself. One is that I can live my life fearlessly.

Oprah Winfrey quote “I don’t want anyone who doesn’t want me”
“I don’t want anyone who doesn’t want me.” – Oprah Winfrey

When you make loving others the story of your life, there’s never a final chapter, because the legacy continues. You lend your light to one person, and he or she shines it on another and another and another.And I know for sure that in the final analysis of our lives- when the to-do lists are no more, when the frenzy is finished, when our e-mail inboxes are empty- the only thing that will have any lasting value is whether we’ve loved others and whether they’ve loved us.

My idea of heaven is a great big baked potato and someone to share it with.

Even people who believe they deserve to be happy and have nice things often don’t feel worthy once they have them.

Step out of the history that is holding you back. Step into the new story you are willing to create.

“When you undervalue what you do, the world will undervalue who you are.” – Oprah Winfrey

We hope you’ve enjoyed this inspiring collection of Oprah Winfrey quotes.

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Natalie Seale

Natalie Seale is a writer and researcher with an MA, MSc, and PhD in History from the University of Edinburgh. Natalie is an avid reader, a keen traveller, and enjoys cooking and walking with her English Spaniel. Her posts focus on inspiring ideas and tips that help people learn, gro, and inspire others.

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