I recently finished reading 'What I Know For Sure' by Oprah Winfrey. 
It's a book to feed your soul whether you are on your daily commute to work 
or snuggled up in bed at the end of the day. The former applying to me.
As an indication of my fan-girl status for Oprah Winfrey, back in 2006 I bought "The Oprah Winfrey Show: 20th Anniversary Collection" DVD Box set. Having religiously watched her shows during my uni days, it was an obvious choice, plus I got to see episodes I've never seen.

I know people have their opinions about Oprah Winfrey, but given the hardship - "hardship" being an understatement - she overcame as a child (sexual abuse, discrimination, poverty), defeating hurdles as she paved a career path as well as financial independence as a black woman in the 60s and 70s, then to become successful, both in spirit and riches, in generosity and kindness, she truly is a role model for any women, and for men, for that matter. 
Let's not forget to mention her amazingly inspiring speech that got me emotional and teary. Time is up!
A must-watch:

I used to watch her show and learn so much about people. 
One key lesson that I hold onto, thanks to her genuine interviews and interactions with guests, is that we can never ever judge someone for their trespasses and wrongdoings unless we have been in their shoes. That is, if we had lived in that persons shoes from the day they were born and went through every experience of theirs, would we have ended up the same, or even worse? Who knows, right? So, then, who are we to judge?

The book is introspective, a collection of Oprah's "What I know For Sure" column that she wrote in the O Magazine. I've underlined a few pages that I want to record on this blog. These passages were, to use Oprah's favourite phrase, an "aha" moment as I've been going through a fork in the road in terms of career paths, a now-or-never conundrum, for the past two years to be specific. 
Also, I found a folder on my MacBook of some film photos from a trip to Japan in 2013. I must've discarded them as fails because they were mostly overexposed and you couldn't see anything. However, thanks to my "further studies" in Lightroom recently I was able to salvage quite a few! I decided to use these photographs to accompany the quotes from the book - exactly 13 photos for 13 quotes. Here they are:

Books, for me, used to be a way to escape. I now consider reading a good book a sacred indulgence, a chance to be any place I choose. It is my absolute favorite way to spend time. What I know for sure is that reading opens you up. It exposes you and gives you access to anything your mind can hold. What I love most about reading: It gives you the ability to reach higher ground. And keep climbing. 
- Oprah Winfrey, pg. 26.

Whenever I'm faced with a difficult decision, I ask myself: What would I do if I weren't afraid of making a mistake, feeling rejected, looking foolish, or being alone? I know for sure that when you remove the fear, the answer you've been searching for comes into focus. And as you walk into what you fear, you should know for sure that your deepest struggle can, if you're willing and open, produce your greatest strength.
- Oprah Winfrey, pg. 39.

Every choice gives you a chance to pave your own road. Keep moving. Full speed ahead.
- Oprah Winfrey, pg. 34.

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.
- Oprah Winfrey, pg. 71.

I gave to someone else, in the same way that someone had given to me. And I know for sure that's what we're here to do: Keep the giving going.
- Oprah Winfrey, pg. 90.

And what if you decided right now that you will stop letting fear block you? What if you learned to live with it, to ride its wave to heights you never knew were possible? 
You might discover the joy of tuning out everybody wants for you and finally pay attention to what you need.
And learn that, ultimately, you have nothing to prove to anyone but yourself. 
That is what it truly means to live without fear - and to keep reaching for your best life.
- Oprah Winfrey, pg. 106.

The true measure of your courage is not whether you reach your goal - it's whether you decide to get back on your feet no matter how many times you've failed.
I know it's not easy, but I also know for sure that having the courage to stand up and pursue your wildest dreams will give you life's richest reward and life's greatest adventure.
And what's really wild? Right now, no matter where you are, you are a single choice away from a new beginning.
- Oprah Winfrey, pg. 107.

The truth is that the naysayers in your life can never be fully satisfied. Whether you hide or shine, they'll always feel threatened because they don't believe they are enough.
So stop paying attention to them.
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.
- Oprah Winfrey, pg. 109.

If you're feeling stuck in your life and want to move forward, start by examining your past motivations. Look closely - I've learned that my truest intentions are often hiding in the shadows.
Ask yourself: How have my intentions produced the experiences I'm having now? And if I change my intentions, what different consequences will I create?
As you make choices that honour who you are, you'll get exactly what life intended for you - the chance to reach your greatest potential.
- Oprah Winfrey, pg. 112.

But what happens when you work hard at something unfulfilling? It drains your spirit. It robs you of your life force. You end up depleted, depressed and angry.
You don't have to waste another day on that road. You can begin again.
Starting over begins with looking inward. It means ridding yourself of distractions and paying attention to that inkling you've been ignoring.
I've learned that the more stressful and chaotic things are on the outside, the calmer you need to get on the inside. It's the only way you can connect with where your spirit is leading you.
- Oprah Winfrey, pg, 117.

By the time I was 17, I was working in radio, making $100 a week. And that's when I made my peace with money. I decided that no matter what job I ever did, I wanted that same feeling I got when I first started radio - the feeling of I love this so much, even if you didn't pay me I'd show up every day, on time and happy to be here. I recognized then what I know now for sure: If you get paid for doing what you love, every paycheck is a bonus. Give yourself the bonus of a lifetime: Pursue your passion. Discover what you love. Then do it!
- Oprah Winfrey, pg. 115.

If life teaches you nothing else, know this: When you get the chance, go for it.
- Oprah Winfrey, pg. 120.

The whole point of being alive is to become the person you were intended to be, to grow out of and into yourself again and again.
I believe you can do this only when you stop long enough to hear the whisper you might have drowned out, that small voice compelling you toward your calling. And what happens then?
You face the biggest challenge of all: to have the courage to seek your dream regardless of what anyone else says or thinks. You are the only person alive who can see your big picture - and even you can't see it all. The truth is that as much as you plan and dream and move forward in your life, you must remember yo are always acting in conjunction with the flow and energy of the universe.

Move in the direction of your goal with all the force and verve you can muster - and then let go, releasing your plan to the Power that's bigger than yourself and allowing your dream to unfold as its own masterpiece. Dream big - very big. Work hard - very hard. And after you've done all you can, fully surrender to the Power.

- Oprah Winfrey, pg. 127.


Bonus quote that I want to add that I saw randomly on LinkedIn 
(yes, random, totally unrelated to Oprah Winfrey).

"7.5 years ago, I quit my accounting job and decided to start my own business because I figured I'd rather risk it all and fail at pursuing my passion, than to be mediocre at something that I don't even care about." - Jane Lu, Founder/CEO of Showpo

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