Inspiration from Oprah, Matthew McConaughey + Letter Writing

Over the past few days, I've come across some inspirational videos and thought I'd share them. A shorter one is from CBS This Morning where Oprah gives advice to her younger self.

The longer video is the one shown above where Oprah was interviewed at the Stanford Graduate School of Business on Career, Life and Leadership. It's a little over an hour, but is well worth the time. The key takeaway from the shorter video is "Relax. It's going to be okay."

I found this especially interesting, because over the past few months, I've been trying an experiment. It was inspired by the idea of people writing notes to their younger self and by Matthew McConaughey's Oscars Speech where he spoke about having a hero to chase. His hero is his future self. I really thought about that for a while. Especially since I love the idea of time travel.

It's hard for me to get my head around the idea of who my future self will be far off in the distance. As a child, I used to think about my future self in four year increments because of the Olympics.

When they'd announce where the next Olympics would be held, I'd always wonder how I'd be different. One thing I've noticed is that most of what I worried about usually never came to pass or if it did, it wasn't even close to as horrible as I'd imagined.

So the idea of telling my past self to "relax, it's going to be okay" really resonates with me. However, life moves forward not backward, so comforting my past self isn't helping me now. Unless my future self can tell me, because she knows what I don't know yet.

So I've kind of merged the ideas. Now I write letters to my future self, but just my close future self -- one month in the future. Who do I want to be one month from now? What could she tell me? So she is the one that I write to and I seek to make her a better person than I am now.

Now I am my future self looking back at my past self in those letters from just a few months ago. My experiment so far has shown me that I agree with what I hypothesized and now believe to be true in general, but have to keep reminding myself. "Relax. It's going to be okay."

Maybe someone reading this is going through some challenges. Hopefully this post might give you some comfort. Below are some key takeaways that I got from the interview with Oprah.

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~ When you are feeling like you have gone "off course" that is a cue to turn around and change. Get still and ask yourself, "What is the next right move?"

~ You are not defined by one moment.

~ There are no mistakes. You have a supreme destiny. Feel it. Hear it. Know it. All paths are leading to the same path. There is no wrong path. The losses are there to wake you up. 

~ Align your personality with your purpose.

~ Fill yourself up and keep yourself full. It's not selfish. When you are full, you have more to give. (Obviously she is not talking about food, but making yourself happy.)

~ People want to know that you are there with them. She says that after every interview, people ask if they did okay. She says that people want validation and want to know these three things. Did you hear me? Did you see me? Did this mean anything to you?

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I'm still processing the death of Maya Angelou. She was a big soul and had such an impact on Oprah. It must be a really difficult time for her. Angelou said “I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

That is so true. I was able to attend Oprah's show way back in the early 1990s. It was amazing and I remember that she took the time to greet every person in the audience. I don't remember what she said. But I remember that I felt happy and could see that she valued all of us being there.

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