Have you ever read a book that just made you sit back and think? I had that experience with this past book I read, "What I Know For Sure," and once I tell you who wrote it, I'm sure you there will be an "of course" moment. The book was written by none other than Mother O herself, aka Oprah Winfrey.
I've always enjoyed her outlook in regard to life. I don't expect her to have the answers to life's biggest questions (as if anyone does), but her experiences and the people she has gotten to speak with amount to a level of wisdom I have yet to reach.
In her book, she addressed a question a reporter once asked her during an interview, "What do you know for sure?" Now, if that reporter was interviewing me, I would probably come up with some smartass answer like "Well hell, nothing is for sure. So, how would I know?" Though, I'm pretty sure the question was meant to be more thought-provoking than that.
So, as Mother O recounted things she knew for sure, I started to wonder the same thing for myself. At this stage in my life, what do I know for sure? Here are five lessons I've learned from Oprah's book:
1. You will never have it all figured out.
No one has anything completely figured out. Some people may think they do, but it's never an absolute fact. I've come to terms that I'm a bit of a control freak, so it's only fitting that the above fact didn't sit so well with me at first. I've always thought when I get older, things will start making sense, and I'll get a clearer picture of things.
Ha. I hate to rain on your parade, but that's not going to happen. The funny part of this is I've actually ended up learning I have more control if I just let some of it go. Now, if that's not some beneficial reverse psychology for you, I don't know what is.
2. A degree doesn't make you special.
This lovely gem of a lesson took me about a year to fully understand. After all, we've been told our entire lives that if we want a good job, we need to go to school to for it. Although this has some substance, no one tells you that a year after graduation, you'll fall flat on your face and wonder, "What am I doing with my life?"
People forget to tell you that even though you have a degree, you still have to take the really crappy jobs before you get the "good job." I like how they left out that minor detail.
3. Listen to your instincts.
Oprah is big on saying that there are no real mistakes in life, and that everything will eventually lead you to your one mission you were put on this Earth to complete. I'm all about this statement. Mistakes give us opportunities to learn.
Your instincts, however, are the flashing red lights that are complete with an automated voice saying, "Approach with caution." They always go off prior to making a mistake. Sometimes we override our flashing light system and find ourselves in a less than ideal situation. I think it's important to stay connected to your instincts. This way, you can always find your way back to your initial path.
4. Know when you need a break.
I like to call this disappearing from the world. I'm a firm believer that your work ethic determines your success. Because of this, I'm most likely working on several different projects the majority of the time. A lot of the time, I have so much going on that sleep and relaxation make a rare appearance in my life.
That was, until I started to run myself ragged. I would be completely overwhelmed and unhappy. When you don't take the time you need to recharge and have fun, you start to lose why you enjoy doing something in the first place. No one can go full speed all the time. Not even Oprah can, which should tell you a lot.
5. Surround yourself with great people.
The world is full of negativity, and it drives me absolutely bonkers. A negative person can suck the life out of you and make the simplest things extremely difficult. I've been exceptionally lucky in this department because I have really amazing people in my life. Each one is playing his or her own part in the feature film I call my life.
I have people who make me laugh, are spontaneous and aren't afraid to be weird with me. I have some people I've known for years and share half a life of memories with. There are a few who know me inside and out and understand my life choices. There are even some people who have seen me at my strongest and my weakest.
The point is, you should be selective with the people you give your time to. Mother O always knows best, so you should "surround yourself only with people who are going to lift you higher."