Join LinkedIn Editors for an in-depth discussion in this video Oprah on manifesting what you want, part of Influencer Interview: Oprah Winfrey.
(theme music) - At what point- You talked about the power of intention that's been a consistent threat throughout your entire career and an incredibly powerful one. At what point, when you were thinking and imagining what was possible, and it actually would start to manifest as explicitly as this example, with this series did, at what point did you stop thinking that was weird, and started realizing it was your life, it was happening, and that, to a large extent, you were in control of that dynamic? - I was at my farm in Indiana, and I was thinking "Gee, I sure would like some tomato soup, gosh "because it's a rainy day, and it's, my god, "I sure would like some tomato soup." and the caretaker, Mrs. Eddins, who lived across the way, comes in with a pot of tomato soup, and I literally, it's one of those- - What just happened? - What made you do that? She goes "Well, honey, I had these tomatoes, "and I had a lot of extra, so I thought, "maybe you'd like some tomato soup, "and I made some sandwiches to go along with it." So, I was like, "Wow, tomato soup!" So I started trying with it other things, like if you can get tomato soup like that, what else can I do? What else can I manifest? So, I have seen it happen over and over and over again, and I actually have come to know that this whole planetary experience it's just like a classroom, and you control a lot by your thoughts and we control a lot by our joined thoughts, by what I believe, and what you believe, and we come together as a community and we believe, and then that's what shows up for us. That's why we have the government that we do, that's why we have elected officials that we do, the schools, and the world that we have.
So, when I started to figure that out for myself and understand how powerful a manifester I was, I, actually, it made me more consciously aware of, to be careful of what I think and what I ask for. - Again, very similar advice when people ask me about the way to maximize their likelihood for success or achieving their career objectives. It sounds like an oversimplification, but it starts by asking yourself the question: What is it you ultimately want to accomplish? And it's amazing to me how often you'll sit down and talk to someone who's five, seven, ten years into the throes of their career, and they're not happy.
What's happened is they've been swept up into the stream of opportunism. A hot job, or a promotion or more money. As opposed to taking the time to ask themselves what they want to do. - What they really want. - As soon as you have that moment of clarity, you start to manifest it, explicitly and implicitly. And it's not in some new-age way, it's very real. - Yeah. - It's a very real thing. - Absolutely, and you know what I've found over the years? In the multi-thousands of interviews that I've done, that most people cannot answer that question.
- They don't take the time to even ask themselves the question. That's what I find so interesting. - But to most people you ask the question "What do you want?" I used to do this after the show, because, most people don't know this, my favorite time of the show was usually after the show, because I would spend half hour, 40 minutes, sometimes an hour with the audience of the second show always got more time than the first show because I was always having to clear out for the second show, so they would probably get 30, 40 minutes, but I learned around the 10th year, I've been doing it for 10 years, had a doctor's appointment, couldn't get it any other time, so up for 10 years straight all I did was shake hands and do autographs, this was before cell phones.
Now, nobody wants an autograph, everybody wants a selfie. But for ten years straight, every single day, I shook hands with 700 people, and I signed 700 autographs, for 10 years straight. Then, the day I had the doctor's appointment, I couldn't do it because I didn't have time to do it. And I had so much more energy and I realized "Wow, that's a lot of energy I'm giving out, in between shows." Then I asked myself the question. All those years, for 10 years, I had done the autographs because I thought that's what you had to do, because that's what people wanted, but I never asked "What do I want?" I had never said "But what do I really want?" I hated it, I hated "Sign here, and can you sign one for my cousin?" "But your cousin isn't here," "But she loves you so much!" So I'd sign, and then I'd sign, and I'd sign, and it felt vapid, it felt meaningless, I thought by the time you get home, you won't even have that piece of paper.
So, I asked what do I really want, what I really want is to connect. I really want to know who these people are. Who is this audience? Who is this woman that came all the way from Anaheim? Who is- - Everyone's got a story. - Everybody has a story. Who are these people who watch every day? Who bring their daughters, who come with their mothers, who brought their husbands, who are these people? So I started just talking to the audience after the show.
That, speaking to the audience after the show, became my focus group, it became my compass for "All right, we should do this, because people..." You know, I kept hearing around '90, '92, women would stand up and say "you know, "I did the thing I was supposed to do, "I went to school, I got the degree, "I even got my Master's Degree, I did the work, "and now, now what? I feel like there should be something more, I feel like that." I kept hearing this "there should be something more, "I feel like there's something more, "I feel like I'm missing something!" Then that became one of the tenets of our show, how do you give and help to fulfill that "something more" that people are looking for, and what I instinctively knew, because I am a person who's lived a spiritual life my whole life, that something more is a connection to something that's bigger than yourself.
So, how can I fulfill that, how can I offer that, in such a way that women start to look at themselves as a whole person, not just as a mother, not just as a professional, but how do I start- And one of the very first shows I did about this was with a life coach named Cheryl Richardson, who proposed the idea of "Actually, what do you want?" and "Where are you on that list of what do you want?" When she asked the women in the audience, this was around '92, to do that list, every woman was at the bottom of that list for herself.
She was saying "you have to put yourself at the top." Do you know they booed her? They booed her so badly that I said "Hey hey hey! We're not Jerry Springer here!" - Put yourself at the top, and people interpret that as being selfish? - Oh, everybody said "Well, does she have children? "You have no idea, how are you going to put yourself "at the top, how are you going to make yourself a priority? We have children," and I was like "She didn't say leave your children in the street, "abandon your children, she said put yourself at the top, "give to yourself first so that you will have more..." - To give to others. - to give to others.
- It became a recurring thing for you. - It became a recurring thing because I was listening to people say they didn't have it. I listened to them say they didn't have it, then when you tried to tell them "this is how you have it," they were like "we can't do that!" But, over the years, I saw how putting that message out into the world, take care of yourself, fill up your tank, give yourself your own oxygen- - It landed. - It landed. - And so, when you continue to do those discussions afterwards, you must have been receiving back, - Yes! - the evolution of that theme towards "I'm starting to live the life "I wanted to live." - Yes, but In the beginning, though, women literally like "How do I do that?" "How can I do that, "because the world has told me, my mother has told me, "my job has told me," so figuring out what do I really want? When I would ask that question, time and time again in the audience, you ask that question to people, I go "what do you want?" People say "I just want to be happy." What does that look like for you? - The more specific you are, the more likely it is to happen.
- Yes, the more likely it is to happen. - I also do believe you need to optimize for both passion and skill, I think sometimes people optimize for one at the exclusion of the other, I think that's going to make it challenging. But if you know what you really want, if you know what you love, if you know what resonates, and you have the ability to do that, or at least you're in a position where you can learn those skills over time, you can make it happen. - Absolutely, absolutely. And that's what is meant by you know, I think perseverance when you have both of those actually works, but if you're persevering, and you only have the passion, but you don't have the skill, or you have the skill and you don't have the passion, - You're not going to be happy.
Actually, if you persevere and you have one, and not the other, you're ultimately going to be unhappy. - That's right, you're going to be frustrated. Lot of frustration. When's your book coming out? - (laughs) We can talk, sadly, but no book, no book. - You need to write a book! - I've got enough going on. - Okay. - So, I'm fascinated by this idea, that you- one cannot help but understand the extent to which you have your finger on the pulse of the zeitgeist, and you're not only receiving it, you're influencing it. So, this idea that you were hearing a specific story, and it helped inspire what you wanted to do on the show is really, really cool. What story are you hearing now? - I was hearing a story of disconnection and intolerance.
You know, you just- - Lack of compassion? - Intolerance. Just, absolutely intolerance, like not being able to tolerate other people and their stories and their beliefs. When, in fact, if you know, I did an interview in the late 80's with a mother who had watched her son die, and she said she climbed into bed with him, crawled into bed with him as he was dying, and his last words were: (deep breath) "Oh...
"It was all so simple." And then he smiled. When she said that, I got chills, because I thought yeah, We're going to take our last breath and say "Why were we struggling all that time?" Why were we, you know, swimming upstream? Where all we had to do was just look at each other, and accept each other for who each of us represents on the planet. "Ah, it was so simple." I didn't have to fight that hard.
It didn't have the be that hard. So, that had a really huge impact on me. Because you know, sometimes you hear things, and it's like "Oh, that's nice," and then something like, you get those goosebumps and it chills you to the point where that is- I could feel that in my body. That it's so much simpler than you're making it. And so, that show, along with many many many others, had a powerful and calming impact on me in terms of the way I led my own life, and so I actually know that one of the reasons why I am here is to fulfill that for myself, but to also help other people do it.
See, I grew up with this whole idea that, whatever I had, it had to be shared, because life feels better, to me, when I share it. Nothing is as good without sharing it. So, when I was a little kid, it was a Three Musketeers bar or a Snickers bar because I lived in rural Mississippi where you rarely got any candy. So you would think that when I got the candy, I would want to just eat it, but it always tasted better if I could wait for my cousins to show up and say "Wassup?" "Sure is good!" You know, it just tastes better, if somebody else can say it and that's whether you're looking at a view, or whether you're- - Or sharing an aha moment.
- Or sharing an aha moment, and for me, the aha moments are the biggest. I mean, when you get somebody, and I could see that, with the audience, I can feel it with myself, even if I don't have an audience, because I know if I'm aha-ing, somebody else is going to aha, too. So the greatest joy for me, the greatest joy, the greatest reward, would be to be in the middle of a show, and you look in the audience, and you see somebody really get it, and oftentimes, you would use a guest, or somebody who's on telling whatever tale of woe or dysfunction or tragedy that they've come through, they might not get it, but somebody else watching would get it.
Would get it, that's the whole point. So, I learned from all of that, I think it's because of all of that, that I never had a day's therapy, because I had all of mine in front of the camera. - In front of the world. Has anyone ever documented every time you've said "aha moment," "light bulb moment," or repeated something twice? Whenever you repeat something twice, people need to pay attention. (laughs) Because "Oh, that's good!" and then you'll say it again. Has anyone ever documented those? - I don't think so. - Because, you could, first of all, that would be an extraordinarily valuable list, but it would also be interesting for you, I don't know where you would ever find the time, to take the opportunity to go through kind of prioritize, - What were those things? - why it resonated, and what you were able to do as a result of that realization.
- Maybe I'll do that in my life review, because I don't have any time right now. - No, you don't have any time. - But that's such an interesting observation, because until you just said that, I never even thought of that myself. I do, and I'm doing it for the audience, but also for myself. - For you. Oh yeah, everyone's learning through you, you're a vessel for learning. - Yeah I'm locking it in, - Yeah. - So I repeat it to lock it in. - That's so good, hang on... and then you say it again. - Yeah. Whenever you do that, everyone in the audience needs to pay very close attention. - Okay, I'm going to pay attention, myself. (laughs) Well, I don't pay attention to myself when I say that again.
In the first segment, Oprah discusses her start in television, the guiding force behind her show, and how her current work is all about connection, spirituality, and the earth. In the second, Oprah talks about the power of belief and intention, and how to determine what "you ultimately want to do" and the joy of "getting it." In the final segment, Oprah talks about SuperSoul Sunday and how we are all looking for validation.