"And the key to life is to develop an internal moral, emotional G.P.S. that can tell you which way to go."

— Winfrey, Oprah (b. January 29, 1954)

May 30, 2013
"And the key to life is to develop an internal moral, emotional G.P.S. that can tell you which way to go."
Metaphor in Context
This is what I want to share. It doesn’t matter how far you might rise. At some point you are bound to stumble because if you’re constantly doing what we do, raising the bar. If you’re constantly pushing yourself higher, 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. Now when you’re down there in the hole, it looks like failure. So this past year I had to spoon feed those words to myself. And when you’re down in the hole, when that moment comes, it’s really okay to feel bad for a little while. Give yourself time to mourn what you think you may have lost but then here’s the key, learn from every mistake because every experience, encounter, and particularly your mistakes are there to teach you and force you into being more who you are. And then figure out what is the next right move. And the key to life is to develop an internal moral, emotional G.P.S. that can tell you which way to go. Because now and forever more when you Google yourself your search results will read “Harvard, 2013″. And in a very competitive world that really is a calling card because I can tell you as one who employs a lot of people when I see “Harvard” I sit up a little straighter and say, “Where is he or she? Bring them in.” It’s an impressive calling card that can lead to even more impressive bullets in the years ahead: lawyer, senator, C.E.O., scientist, physicist, winners of Nobel and Pulitzer Prizes or late night talk show host. But the challenge of life I have found is to build a résumé that doesn’t simply tell a story about what you want to be but it’s a story about who you want to be. It’s a résumé that doesn’t just tell a story about what you want to accomplish but why. A story that’s not just a collection of titles and positions but a story that’s really about your purpose. Because when you inevitably stumble and find yourself stuck in a hole that is the story that will get you out. What is your true calling? What is your dharma? What is your purpose? For me that discovery came in 1994 when I interviewed a little girl who had decided to collect pocket change in order to help other people in need. She raised a thousand dollars all by herself and I thought, well if that little 9-year-old girl with a bucket and big heart could do that, I wonder what I could do? So I asked for our viewers to take up their own change collection and in one month, just from pennies and nickels and dimes, we raised more than three million dollars that we used to send one student from every state in the United States to college. That was the beginning of the Angel Network.
Reading Nicole Aschoff's "Oprah Winfrey: One of the World's Best Neoliberal Capitalist Thinkers" The Guardian (May 9, 2015). <Link to theguardian.com>
Oprah Winfrey, "Commencement Address by Oprah Winfrey (As Delivered), May 30, 2013," Harvard Gazette (May 31, 2013). <Link to news.harvard.edu>
Date of Entry

The Mind is a Metaphor is authored by Brad Pasanek, Assistant Professor of English, University of Virginia.