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歐普拉為2008年史丹佛大學畢業生演講

Oprah Winfrey's 2008 Stanford Commencement Address

 

Photo of three lions hunting on the Serengeti.

講者:歐普拉

2008年6月15日演講

 

翻譯:洪曉慧

編輯:朱學恆

簡繁轉換:洪曉慧

後製:洪曉慧

字幕影片後制:謝旻均

 

影片請按此下載

MAC及手持裝置版本請按此下載

閱讀中文字幕純文字版本

 

關於這場演講(來源World News.com

身為全球媒體領袖和慈善家的歐普拉,於2008年6月15日為史丹佛大學第117屆畢業生演講。歐普拉的職業生涯始於1976年擔任電視新聞共同主播,她以職業生涯中的體認,分享關於感覺、失敗和追求快樂的人生課程。

 

關於歐普拉(來源Wikipedia

歐普拉(本名Orpah Gail Winfrey,生於1954年1月29日)是美國媒體大亨、脫口秀主持人、演員、製片和慈善家。歐普拉最為人熟知的是以她本人命名、獲獎無數的脫口秀節目。這部於1986年至2011年於全美聯播的脫口秀,已成為談話類節目歷史上收視率最高的節目。她是20世紀最富有的非裔美國人,也是美國歷史上最傑出的黑人慈善家;有段時期,她是世上唯一一位黑人億萬富翁。根據某些統計評估,她也是世上最有影響力的女性。

 

歐普拉為2008年史丹佛大學畢業生演講

 

(歡呼聲)(掌聲)

 

喔!

 

(歡呼聲)(掌聲)

 

喔!

 

(歡呼聲)(掌聲)

 

謝謝大家。

 

(歡呼聲)(掌聲)

 

2008年畢業生!

 

(歡呼聲)(掌聲)

 

謝謝Hennessy校長;謝謝校董會委員和全體教職員;謝謝所有畢業生的父母、祖父母;還有各位史丹佛大學畢業生。感謝大家讓我有機會和你們共度這美好的一天。

 

(歡呼聲)(掌聲)

 

我打算以分享一個小秘密作開場,這個秘密就是-Kirby Bumpus(歡呼聲)-2008年史丹佛畢業生(2008年!)是我的教女(歡呼聲)(掌聲)。所以,當Hennessy校長邀請我擔任畢業典禮演講者時,我驚喜萬分,因為這是Kirby入學後,我第一次獲准進入史丹佛校園。(笑聲)

 

你們知道,Kirby是個非常聰明的女孩。她說,她希望別人認識她是因為她本身,而不是因為她認識什麼人。因此,她不希望任何初次見面的人知道我和她相識。所以,當她在母親的陪同下,第一次來史丹佛參加新生訓練時,我聽說她們抵達時受到熱烈歡迎。有人上前對Kirby說,「天哪,那是Gayle King(Kirby的母親)!」因為很多人知道Gayle King是我最好的朋友。然後-有人上前對Kirby說,「天哪,那是Gayle King嗎?」Kirby回答,「嗯–哼,她是我媽。」那個人接著說,「天哪,這麼說-妳認識歐普拉囉?」Kirby回答,「不太熟。」(笑聲)我想,「不太熟?(笑聲)妳跟我不太熟?」好吧,我有相片為證,我可以把相片e-mail給大家,Kirby把我當馬騎的相片。(笑聲)所以我和Kirby Bumpus可不只是泛泛之交。

 

我很高興有機會來到這裡,很高興終於能在四年後參觀她的寢室。史丹佛是我最想來的地方,因為Kirby令我十分驕傲:她今天以雙學位畢業,一個是人類生物學,一個是心理學。我愛妳,Kirby甜心!我跟她就是這麼熟,熟到能叫她甜心。

 

我也為她的父母感到驕傲,他們和她哥哥Will一路支持她走過這段求學歷程。她能從史丹佛畢業,我實在沒什麼功勞。但過去幾週,每當有人問我在忙什麼時,我總是回答,「我準備去史丹佛。」我就是喜歡這麼說:「史丹佛!」(笑聲)因為我心知肚明,我不可能拿到史丹佛學位,因為我不曾在史丹佛念過書。(笑聲)我念的是田納西州立大學,但我沒拿到畢業證書,因為我原本應該在1975年畢業,但我還欠一個學分。我還欠一個學分。當時我想,還是別理會這件事,因為你們知道,我根本跟不上課程進度,因為當時我已進入電視圈。我19歲,還是大二生時,就已經開始在電視圈打滾。我肯定是唯一一位有11點門禁的10點新聞主播。(笑聲)

 

沒騙你們。我父親老是說,「嗯,新聞十點半結束,妳得在十一點到家。」(笑聲)但這對我來說無關緊要,因為我已經能自食其力,我正朝著人生目標邁進。所以我想,管他什麼大學學位,我只不過欠一個學分而已。但從那時起,我父親老是拿沒畢業這件事煩我,他總是叨唸著,「Oprah Gail,」這是我的中間名。「我不知道妳大學沒畢業能做什麼。」我說,「但是老爸,我已經有自己的電視節目了。」(笑聲)他繼續叨唸著,「好吧,我還是不知道妳大學沒畢業能做什麼。」(笑聲)我說,「但老爸,我現在已經是脫口秀主持人了。」他依然叨唸著,「我不知道妳大學沒畢業怎麼能找到其他工作。」(笑聲)

 

因此,1987年,田納西州立大學邀請我回母校擔任畢業典禮演講者,當時我已經擁有自己的全國聯播節目;我拍了一部電影,榮獲奧斯卡提名;也成立了自己的公司Harpo。但我告訴學校,我無法接受演講邀請,除非我能修完那個學分。因為我父親仍不時叨唸著,若無法取得大學學位,我將會一事無成。所以,我完成了那門課程,繳交了期末報告,順利取得學位。(歡呼聲)(掌聲)

 

我父親感到十分驕傲,於是我知道,如果有任何意料之外的情況發生,那個學分將會成為我的救命符(笑聲)。但我也明白為何父親堅持要我取得那張文憑,因為正如B. B. King(美國藍調音樂天王)所說,「學習的美妙之處在於沒人能奪走你所學的知識。」

 

今天我要談的內容大多跟學習有關,因為你們所受的教育,毫無疑問地,並不會在此時畫上句點。以許多方面來說,這只是剛剛起步;這個世界仍有許多課程等待你們學習。我認為這個世界,這個地球,就像一所學校,就像人生課堂。有時,在這所地球大學裡,待學習的課程往往充滿艱辛和阻礙,有時則充滿無法預知的危機。我能不畏艱難、勇往直前的秘密,就是敞開心胸、努力學習這所宏偉殿堂提供的所有課程。這個殿堂就是宇宙本身。以熱情和開放的態度面對人生,不斷地自我成長,這是最能幫助你更上一層樓的方法。因為這就是我們能生存至今、進化成人類這個物種的原因。因此,我們更能塑造出自我特質,不斷邁向更高層次的知識境界,邁向更高層次的慈悲和人生境界。

 

我認為我聽過最好的讚美之一是,當我初抵芝加哥時,曾和某位記者有過一面之緣。多年後,我與那位記者重逢,她對我說,「知道嗎?妳一點都沒變,只是更有自我風格了。」這就是我們努力的目標:成為更有自我風格的個體。我相信你們做過、經歷過的每一件事,都能讓你學到某些東西。這些學習就是你們不斷進步的原因,就是你們充實心靈的方式。相信我,內在的智慧比財富更加珍貴。你付出的越多,收獲就越多。因此,今天我想和大家分享幾項人生課程;事實上是三項,這是我人生經歷中的領悟。你們是否會感到不高興?你們是否會痛恨人們說,「我想和大家分享幾個觀點。」最後卻變成10個?(笑聲)你們或許會想,「搞清楚,我才是畢業典禮主角,不是妳。」(笑聲)所以我今天只分享三項人生課程。

 

對我人生產生最大影響的三項課程,跟感覺、失敗和追尋快樂有關。離開大學一年後,我得到一個機會,擔任巴爾的摩6點新聞的共同主播。因為當時媒體界人士的最大目標,就是嘗試邁向擁有更廣大觀眾群的市場。巴爾的摩的觀眾群比Nashville大得多,因此,對22歲的我來說,獲得6點新聞共同主播的工作是件了不得的大事,彷彿是世上最重要的事。這令我十分自豪,因為我終於有機會效法芭芭拉.華特絲(知名電視主播)了,她是我踏入電視圈後一直努力仿效的對象。所以,當時我22歲,一年賺22,000美元。我也在那裡遇見了最好的朋友Gayle,當時她在同一家電視台實習。當我們成為知心好友時,她對我說,「天哪,我真不敢相信!妳才22歲,一年就賺22,000美元。想像一下,當妳40歲時,一年就能賺40,000美元了!」(笑聲)當我40歲時,很高興她的預言沒有成真。(笑聲)

 

所以,當我22歲時,一年賺22,000美元。然而-感覺卻不是很對。感覺不是很對。第一個跡象是-如Hennessy校長之前提過的-當他們試圖要我改名字時。當時,新聞導播對我說,「沒有人會記得歐普拉這個名字,所以我們希望妳改個名字,我們替妳想了一個既好記又討人喜歡的名字,一個相當有親和力的名字-Suzie。」(笑聲)嗨,Suzie!(笑聲)非常親切,你很難對叫Suzie的人發火。記好了,Suzie。

 

但我的名字不叫Suzie。你們知道,我從小就不是很喜歡自己的名字,因為當你在便當盒和車牌上尋找時,永遠找不到歐普拉這個名字。所以,雖然我從小就不太喜歡自己的名字,但當有人要我改名時,我想,那終究是我的名字。而且,我看起來像Suzie那種親切的鄰家女孩嗎?所以我想,不,感覺實在不對,我不打算改名字,就算人們記不得我的名字也無所謂。然後導播又說,他們不喜歡我的外表。當時是1976年,老闆可以把你叫進辦公室說,「我不喜歡妳的外表。」現在這麼做可是會被告的。但-(笑聲)在那個年代,他們可以直言不諱地說,「我不喜歡妳的外表。」坐在後面的人,如果你們看不清楚,我的外表跟芭芭拉.華特絲簡直是天差地遠。於是,他們把我送去美髮院,硬是把我的頭髮燙起來。幾天後,我的頭髮變得慘不忍睹,所以我不得不剃個大光頭。這麼一來,他們確實不可能滿意我的外表了(笑聲)。因為現在我成了一個坐在電視螢幕裡的光頭黑人(笑聲)。實在不是什麼賞心悅目的畫面。

 

但比光頭更糟的是,我實在非常痛恨報導別人的悲劇成了我每天必盡的職責。雖然我明白,只需置身事外地報導即可,但內在的天性卻驅使我應該做些什麼、伸出援手。因此,如Hennessy校長之前提過的,當我報導一則火災新聞後,會試著回到現場,為災民送毛毯。我夜不成眠,因為心裡老是記掛著白天報導的內容。同時,我費盡心力地學習芭芭拉端莊的儀態、試著模仿芭芭拉優雅的談吐。然後,我領悟到,沒錯,或許我可以成為一個四不像的芭芭拉,但如果我能找出自己的風格,就能成為十分有特色歐普拉。我試著模仿芭芭拉優雅的談吐;有時我不照腳本唸稿,因為內心有個聲音告訴我,資訊應該以較為自然的方式傳達。明白嗎?自然的方式。因此,我依照自己希望接收資訊的方式替觀眾播報新聞,所以有時我不照腳本唸稿,而是像這樣,「六輛車在40號州際公路上撞成一團。喔,我的天哪!」(笑聲)

 

有時我不照腳本唸稿,因為我希望以自然的方式播報。有時我會遇上不認識的字,或將發音唸錯。某次我讀稿時,把加拿大唸成咖拿達(笑聲)。出糗後,我的反應是-在主播檯上大笑起來(笑聲)。於是我領悟到,我實在學不來芭芭拉,我還是試著做自己就好。但那時,父親對我說,「Oprah Gail,這是千載難逢的機會,妳得好好把握這份工作。」老闆對我說,「這是夜間新聞,妳是主播,不是社工,管好妳該做的事就行了。」因此,在父親的期待和職責所需的煎熬下,我感到痛苦不堪。晚上回家後,我埋首於日記中。我15歲起就養成寫日記的習慣,所以我保存了一大堆日記。所以,晚上回家後,我藉由日記抒發心中的痛苦和沮喪,紓解苦悶的情緒,這就是我養成寫日記習慣的原因。

 

八個月後,我丟了那份工作。老闆說我太感情用事,做的太過頭了。但因為他們不想付違約金,所以安排我在巴爾的摩擔任脫口秀主持人。當我坐上脫口秀主持台時,就在那一刻,我彷彿找到了真正的歸屬。我意識到,電視不僅能提供娛樂,也能成為服務平台,幫助人們過更好的生活。當我坐在主持台前,開始主持脫口秀那一刻,感覺彷彿呼吸般自然,感覺-適得其所。這就是我事業生涯真正的起點。我從中領悟到一項人生課程:當你從事自己真正熱愛的工作時,會感覺適得其所,每天都能得到意想不到的收獲,無論薪水是多是少(歡呼聲)(掌聲)。確實如此。

 

但你怎麼知道自己是否做了正確決定?要如何得知?憑感覺。現在我瞭解到,感覺確實是你這輩子的導航系統。當你試著決定該不該做某件事時,你的情緒導航系統會告訴你答案。訣竅是-學習放下自我,檢視內心的直覺。我所做的每一個正確決定、我曾經做過的每一個正確決定,都來自於直覺。我所做的每一個錯誤決定,都是因為我漠視內心更響亮的聲音。如果感覺不對,千萬別貿然行動,這就是我要和大家分享的課程。朋友們,這門課程將拯救你免於許多悲痛;即使只是心存懷疑,也別貿然行動,這是我的經驗之談。

 

很多時候,你會感到無所適從。當你感到無所適從時,請靜下心來,徹底地靜下心來,直到你真正明白自己的心意。當你確實靜下心來後,讓內心的感覺驅動你前進的方向,這不僅能改善你的生活,也能增加你在職場上的競爭力。因為正如Daniel Pink在他的暢銷書《未來在等待的人才》中提到的,我們正進入一個全新的時代,他稱之為「感性時代」,闡述在當今世界,使人脫穎而出的關鍵來自於內在的感知-即右腦思維和全腦思維模式。他說,邏輯、線性、規則導向的思維模式已不再是成功的唯一關鍵,同理心、愉悅感和動機這些內在特質同樣具有卓越的價值。當我們做自己喜愛的事時,當我們全心投入工作、投入專業技能和情感時,這些特質將會成長茁壯。因此,我要勉勵大家,別急著投入激烈的競爭,如果你真的想展翅翱翔,請將力量投入你的熱情所在。尊重內心的呼喚-這是每個人都擁有的。相信你的心,成功將在不遠處等著你。

 

那麼,我對成功的定義是什麼?我想告訴大家:錢十分有用,我不會告訴你們錢不重要,因為錢是非常棒的東西。我喜歡錢,買東西時很好用。但擁有鉅額財富並不代表你是成功的人,你需要的是財富和生命的意義。你希望從事有意義的工作,因為有意義的人生才能為生命帶來真正的富足。你真正希望的是,被你信任和重視的人圍繞、被珍惜你的人圍繞,這才是真正的富足。因此,人生的第一課:跟著感覺走。感覺對了,就勇往直前;如果感覺不對,就不要貿然前進。

 

現在我想談談失敗。因為人生不可能永遠一帆風順,我們都會遇到阻礙和挫折。如果世事無法盡如人意,你陷入了死胡同-這是無法避免的-這就是生命提醒你該改變方向的時候了。所以,當你遇上挫折時,請自問-這就是我的做法-每當遇上挫折、危機和困境時,我會自問:這讓我學到了什麼?一旦你記取其中的教訓,就能更上一層樓。如果你確實記取了教訓,就能順利通過考驗,不再重蹈覆轍。如果你無法從中得到教訓,它會以另一種形式現身,讓你再次接受考驗。我領悟到,當你忽視生命的低聲提醒時,就會遇上困難。因為生命總會先低聲提醒你,如果你不理會生命的低聲提醒,遲早會聽見它高聲吶喊,無論你如何抗拒。但如果你問對問題,不是詢問為何會發生這種事,而是它教會了我什麼?它教會了我什麼?你就能放下自我,學到所需的東西。

 

我的朋友Eckhart Tolle寫了一本很棒的書,書名為《一個新世界》,內容是闡述藉由自我認知激勵你做每一件事。他是這麼寫的:別抗拒困境,試著融入其中,用心體會,解決之道將會浮現在你面臨的挑戰中。因為屈服並不代表放棄,它意味著以負責的態度承擔一切。

 

好的,現場很多人知道,如Hennessy校長之前提過的,我在非洲創辦了一所學校。我創辦這所學校,試著給南非女孩一個機會,擁有像你們-史丹佛的菁英-一樣美好的未來。我花了5年時間,確保學校的環境能像學生一樣美好;我希望每個女孩都能從精心規劃的環境中感受到自己的價值。因此,我檢視每一張設計藍圖;親自挑選每一顆枕頭;檢查填補在磚塊間的水泥;鉅細靡遺地瞭解每一個細節;親自從9個省的村莊裡挑選出每一位學生。然而,去年秋天,我遇上一件意想不到的危機。有人通知我,一名宿舍管理員涉嫌性侵學生。你們可以想像,這是多麼令人痛心的消息。一開始,我嚎啕大哭,事實上,我哭了大約半個小時。然後我告訴自己,到此為止,妳只能哭半個小時,妳必須將精神集中在眼前,專注於必須處理的危機。於是,我聯繫了一位兒童心理創傷專家,召集了一個調查小組,確保女孩們能得到妥善的輔導和支持。然後,Gayle和我上了飛機,前往南非。

 

整段旅程中,我不斷地思考這個問題,「這件事教會了我什麼?」雖然這個經歷令人十分難熬,但我從中得到許多教訓。現在,我明白了自己所犯的錯,因為我一直將注意力放在錯誤的地方。我由外而內地建立起這所學校,但真正重要的是由內而外散發的精神。所以這是一門可以應用在整個人生的課程:最重要的是事物內在的精神;最重要的是對正直、品格和美好的認知。我學習到這門人生課程,我知道女孩們也從中領悟到一些道理。這場經歷將她們磨練得更有韌性,意識到她們的聲音具有影響力。她們的韌性和精神給予我的,比我能給予她們的還多。

 

這引出了我要談的最後一門人生課程,這跟追尋快樂有關。這個話題我可以談上一整天,但我知道你們還有其他古怪的事要做。追尋快樂並不是一個小議題,但在某種程度上來說,我認為它是其中最簡單的議題。Gwendolyn Brooks曾經為她的孩子寫了一首詩,詩名為〈給年輕人的話:獻給邁向未來的人〉。她在詩的結尾寫道,「不要為了贏得戰爭而活;不要為了歌曲的結尾而活;要活在當下。」她的意思跟Eckhart Tolle一樣:你必需活在當下,你必需活在此時此刻。不論過去發生了什麼事,對現在都沒有影響,因為人生就是活在當下。但我認為其中也蘊含這個意義:參與其中、貢獻心力,不要只為自己而活。以下是我確信不疑的真理:想獲得真正的快樂,你必須貢獻一己之力,為超越自身的遠大理想而奮鬥。因為人生是一個互惠互動的過程,想更上一層樓,你必須有所回饋。對我來說,這是人生最重要的課程:想獲得快樂,你必須無私地付出。(歡呼聲)(掌聲)

 

我知道你們都明白這個道理,因為這個精神蘊含在史丹佛大學每一絲脈絡中。Jane和Leland(史丹佛夫婦)體認到這個精神,傳承給後代所有史丹佛學子。因為大家都知道這所偉大學府的由來。史丹佛夫婦的獨子15歲時因傷寒過世,當時他們可以理所當地怨恨這個世界,但相反地,他們將悲痛化為慈悲的行動。在他們的獨子去世後一年內,他們籌募經費,建立了這所偉大的學府,誓言為別人的孩子做到他們無法為自己孩子做的事。

 

這門課程的意義顯而易見,那就是-如果你感到傷痛,你需要做的就是幫助他人減輕傷痛;如果你感到痛苦,請幫助他人脫離痛苦;當你陷入困境時,藉由幫助他人,你也能幫助自己脫離困境。在這個過程中,你將會成為我所謂最偉大族群的一員,那就是以慈悲服務人群的團體。

 

史丹佛夫婦遭遇為人父母者最難以承受的悲痛,但他們明白,幫助自己最好的方法就是幫助他人。這種智慧已逐漸受到科學和社會學研究支持,這已不再是某種軟技能的空談。事實上,這造就了助人者本身的成長,藉由幫助別人而獲得的心靈成長。因此,如果你想獲得快樂,就必須挺身而出,行善助人。但當你行善助人時,我希望你不僅是為了這份付出所獲得的快樂而努力,因為我相當肯定,行善助人確實能讓你更上一層樓。因此,無論你選擇什麼領域的工作,如果你以服務他人為人生宗旨,我相信你的生命將會更有價值,並擁有快樂的人生。

 

這份脫口秀主持工作始終令我樂在其中,但那份快樂已成為深刻的成就感和喜悅,我無法表達或衡量這種感覺。當我不再只是出現在電視上,將主持節目視為一份工作,而決定利用電視,利用它的影響力,而不是讓它利用我,將它當作一個服務觀眾的平台,這種做法改變了我成功的軌跡。因此,我領悟到,無論是否從事演藝工作,都能以鼓舞人心的方式貢獻你的才能。如果你是一名解剖學家,請將你的才能視為奉獻於醫療服務的工具。

 

無論各位今天將取得什麼學位,無論是博士或其它學位,無論你們的專長是商學、法律、工程、人類學、科學、醫學;如果你們選擇將所學的技能和才華貢獻於服務人群,當你們選擇以服務為人生宗旨時,請將這個信念貫徹於生命中的每一刻,它會將你所做的每一份工作都變成一項恩賜。

 

我知道,你們在史丹佛求學期間的所有努力,並非只是為了找份工作。因此,你們已藉由無數方式充實了自己的才能。讓自己在世上留下足跡的最好方式,就是將豐富的才能與他人分享。我對自己不變的期許是-將一己之力貢獻於大眾福祉。

 

我想以一句我最喜愛、來自馬丁.路德.金的名言做結束。他說,「並非每個人都有機會成名。」我不知道大家對這句話有何想法;在今天的社會裡,似乎每個人都想成名,但成名有成名的代價。人們會尾隨你到洗手間(笑聲),偷聽你上廁所(笑聲);只要盡量放輕動作就好,沒什麼大不了的(笑聲)。他們會來到你面前,對你說,「天哪,是妳!妳剛剛在小便。」(笑聲)這就是成名的代價,我不確定你們是否想要。(笑聲)

 

因此,正如馬丁.路德.金博士所說,「並非每個人都有機會成名,但每個人都能做出偉大的事業,因為偉大的定義在於服務的熱誠。」你們當中學歷史的人或許知道接下來的部分,他說,「服務他人並不一定要取得大學學位;服務他人並不一定要懂得主動詞一致的道理;服務他人並不一定要瞭解柏拉圖和亞里斯多德的哲學;服務他人並不一定要明白愛因斯坦的相對論;服務他人並不一定要知道物理的熱力學第二定律;你只需要擁有慈悲的心和充滿愛的靈魂。」

 

不久後,你們將正式成為2008年史丹佛畢業生(2008年!)。你們擁有配得上這個身份的心靈和才智,決定權掌握在你們手中;確實如此。你們打算將這些才能運用在何處?你們即將取得學位,請勇往直前,學習人生新的一頁,因為我相信,你們必定會有遠大的作為。你們知道,我一直相信,分享能讓世事變得更美好。因此,在我離開之前,我想和大家分享一份畢業禮物。你們會在座位底下發現兩本我最喜愛的書:Eckhart Tolle的《一個新世界》是歐普拉讀書俱樂部近期選書,《一個新世界》的網路廣播課程已被下載了3千萬次;而Daniel Pink的《未來在等待的人才》讓我確定自己走在正確的人生道路上。

 

我真的很想送你們車子(笑聲),但實在開不過來。

 

恭喜,2008年畢業生!

 

(2008年!)

 

(歡呼聲)(掌聲)

 

2008年畢業生!

 

(歡呼聲)(掌聲)

 

以下為系統擷取之英文原文

 About this talk

 

Oprah Winfrey, global media leader and philanthropist, spoke to the Class of 2008 at Stanford's 117th Commencement on June 15, 2008. Winfrey drew on experiences from a career that began in 1976 when she co-anchored a television newscast, and she shared three lessons about feelings, failure and finding happiness.

 

 

About Oprah Winfrey

Oprah Winfrey (born Orpah Gail Winfrey;January 29, 1954) is an American media proprietor, talk show host, actress, producer, and philanthropist. Winfrey is best known for her self-titled, multi-award-winning talk show, which has become the highest-rated program of its kind in history and was nationally syndicated from 1986 to 2011. She has been ranked the richest African-American of the 20th century, the greatest black philanthropist in American history,and was for a time the world's only black billionaire. She is also, according to some assessments, the most influential woman in the world.

 

About this Transcript

Thank you, President Hennessy, and to the trustees and the faculty, to all of the parents and grandparents, to you, the Stanford graduates. Thank you for letting me share this amazing day with you.

I need to begin by letting everyone in on a little secret. The secret is that Kirby Bumpus, Stanford Class of '08, is my goddaughter. So, I was thrilled when President Hennessy asked me to be your Commencement speaker, because this is the first time I've been allowed on campus since Kirby's been here.

You see, Kirby's a very smart girl. She wants people to get to know her on her own terms, she says. Not in terms of who she knows. So, she never wants anyone who's first meeting her to know that I know her and she knows me. So, when she first came to Stanford for new student orientation with her mom, I hear that they arrived and everybody was so welcoming, and somebody came up to Kirby and they said, "Ohmigod, that's Gayle King!" Because a lot of people know Gayle King as my BFF [best friend forever].

And so somebody comes up to Kirby, and they say, "Ohmigod, is that Gayle King?" And Kirby's like, "Uh-huh. She's my mom."

And so the person says, "Ohmigod, does it mean, like, you know Oprah Winfrey?"

And Kirby says, "Sort of."

I said, "Sort of? You sort of know me?" Well, I have photographic proof. I have pictures which I can e-mail to you all of Kirby riding horsey with me on all fours. So, I more than sort-of know Kirby Bumpus. And I'm so happy to be here, just happy that I finally, after four years, get to see her room. There's really nowhere else I'd rather be, because I'm so proud of Kirby, who graduates today with two degrees, one in human bio and the other in psychology. Love you, Kirby Cakes! That's how well I know her. I can call her Cakes.

And so proud of her mother and father, who helped her get through this time, and her brother, Will. I really had nothing to do with her graduating from Stanford, but every time anybody's asked me in the past couple of weeks what I was doing, I would say, "I'm getting ready to go to Stanford."

I just love saying "Stanford." Because the truth is, I know I would have never gotten my degree at all, 'cause I didn't go to Stanford. I went to Tennessee State University. But I never would have gotten my diploma at all, because I was supposed to graduate back in 1975, but I was short one credit. And I figured, I'm just going to forget it, 'cause, you know, I'm not going to march with my class. Because by that point, I was already on television. I'd been in television since I was 19 and a sophomore. Granted, I was the only television anchor person that had an 11 o'clock curfew doing the 10 o'clock news.

Seriously, my dad was like, "Well, that news is over at 10:30. Be home by 11."

But that didn't matter to me, because I was earning a living. I was on my way. So, I thought, I'm going to let this college thing go and I only had one credit short. But, my father, from that time on and for years after, was always on my case, because I did not graduate. He'd say, "Oprah Gail"—that's my middle name—"I don't know what you're gonna do without that degree." And I'd say, "But, Dad, I have my own television show."

And he'd say, "Well, I still don't know what you're going to do without that degree."

And I'd say, "But, Dad, now I'm a talk show host." He'd say, "I don't know how you're going to get another job without that degree."

So, in 1987, Tennessee State University invited me back to speak at their commencement. By then, I had my own show, was nationally syndicated. I'd made a movie, had been nominated for an Oscar and founded my company, Harpo. But I told them, I cannot come and give a speech unless I can earn one more credit, because my dad's still saying I'm not going to get anywhere without that degree.

So, I finished my coursework, I turned in my final paper and I got the degree.

And my dad was very proud. And I know that, if anything happens, that one credit will be my salvation.

But I also know why my dad was insisting on that diploma, because, as B. B. King put it, "The beautiful thing about learning is that nobody can take that away from you." And learning is really in the broadest sense what I want to talk about today, because your education, of course, isn't ending here. In many ways, it's only just begun.

The world has so many lessons to teach you. I consider the world, this Earth, to be like a school and our life the classrooms. And sometimes here in this Planet Earth school the lessons often come dressed up as detours or roadblocks. And sometimes as full-blown crises. And the secret I've learned to getting ahead is being open to the lessons, lessons from the grandest university of all, that is, the universe itself.

It's being able to walk through life eager and open to self-improvement and that which is going to best help you evolve, 'cause that's really why we're here, to evolve as human beings. To grow into more of ourselves, always moving to the next level of understanding, the next level of compassion and growth.

I think about one of the greatest compliments I've ever received: I interviewed with a reporter when I was first starting out in Chicago. And then many years later, I saw the same reporter. And she said to me, "You know what? You really haven't changed. You've just become more of yourself."

And that is really what we're all trying to do, become more of ourselves. And I believe that there's a lesson in almost everything that you do and every experience, and getting the lesson is how you move forward. It's how you enrich your spirit. And, trust me, I know that inner wisdom is more precious than wealth. The more you spend it, the more you gain.

So, today, I just want to share a few lessons—meaning three—that I've learned in my journey so far. And aren't you glad? Don't you hate it when somebody says, "I'm going to share a few," and it's 10 lessons later? And, you're like, "Listen, this is my graduation. This is not about you." So, it's only going to be three.

The three lessons that have had the greatest impact on my life have to do with feelings, with failure and with finding happiness.

A year after I left college, I was given the opportunity to co-anchor the 6 o'clock news in Baltimore, because the whole goal in the media at the time I was coming up was you try to move to larger markets. And Baltimore was a much larger market than Nashville. So, getting the 6 o'clock news co-anchor job at 22 was such a big deal. It felt like the biggest deal in the world at the time.

And I was so proud, because I was finally going to have my chance to be like Barbara Walters, which is who I had been trying to emulate since the start of my TV career. So, I was 22 years old, making $22,000 a year. And it's where I met my best friend, Gayle, who was an intern at the same TV station. And once we became friends, we'd say, "Ohmigod, I can't believe it! You're making $22,000 and you're only 22. Imagine when you're 40 and you're making $40,000!"

When I turned 40, I was so glad that didn't happen.

So, here I am, 22, making $22,000 a year and, yet, it didn't feel right. It didn't feel right. The first sign, as President Hennessy was saying, was when they tried to change my name. The news director said to me at the time, "Nobody's going to remember Oprah. So, we want to change your name. We've come up with a name we think that people will remember and people will like. It's a friendly name: Suzie."

Hi, Suzie. Very friendly. You can't be angry with Suzie. Remember Suzie. But my name wasn't Suzie. And, you know, I'd grown up not really loving my name, because when you're looking for your little name on the lunch boxes and the license plate tags, you're never going to find Oprah.

So, I grew up not loving the name, but once I was asked to change it, I thought, well, it is my name and do I look like a Suzie to you? So, I thought, no, it doesn't feel right. I'm not going to change my name. And if people remember it or not, that's OK.

And then they said they didn't like the way I looked. This was in 1976, when your boss could call you in and say, "I don't like the way you look." Now that would be called a lawsuit, but back then they could just say, "I don't like the way you look." Which, in case some of you in the back, if you can't tell, is nothing like Barbara Walters. So, they sent me to a salon where they gave me a perm, and after a few days all my hair fell out and I had to shave my head. And then they really didn't like the way I looked.

Because now I am black and bald and sitting on TV. Not a pretty picture.

But even worse than being bald, I really hated, hated, hated being sent to report on other people's tragedies as a part of my daily duty, knowing that I was just expected to observe, when everything in my instinct told me that I should be doing something, I should be lending a hand.

So, as President Hennessy said, I'd cover a fire and then I'd go back and I'd try to give the victims blankets. And I wouldn't be able to sleep at night because of all the things I was covering during the day.

And, meanwhile, I was trying to sit gracefully like Barbara and make myself talk like Barbara. And I thought, well, I could make a pretty goofy Barbara. And if I could figure out how to be myself, I could be a pretty good Oprah. I was trying to sound elegant like Barbara. And sometimes I didn't read my copy, because something inside me said, this should be spontaneous. So, I wanted to get the news as I was giving it to the people. So, sometimes, I wouldn't read my copy and it would be, like, six people on a pileup on I-40. Oh, my goodness.

And sometimes I wouldn't read the copy—because I wanted to be spontaneous—and I'd come across a list of words I didn't know and I'd mispronounce. And one day I was reading copy and I called Canada "ca nada." And I decided, this Barbara thing's not going too well. I should try being myself.

But at the same time, my dad was saying, "Oprah Gail, this is an opportunity of a lifetime. You better keep that job." And my boss was saying, "This is the nightly news. You're an anchor, not a social worker. Just do your job."

So, I was juggling these messages of expectation and obligation and feeling really miserable with myself. I'd go home at night and fill up my journals, 'cause I've kept a journal since I was 15—so I now have volumes of journals. So, I'd go home at night and fill up my journals about how miserable I was and frustrated. Then I'd eat my anxiety. That's where I learned that habit.

And after eight months, I lost that job. They said I was too emotional. I was too much. But since they didn't want to pay out the contract, they put me on a talk show in Baltimore. And the moment I sat down on that show, the moment I did, I felt like I'd come home. I realized that TV could be more than just a playground, but a platform for service, for helping other people lift their lives. And the moment I sat down, doing that talk show, it felt like breathing. It felt right. And that's where everything that followed for me began.

And I got that lesson. When you're doing the work you're meant to do, it feels right and every day is a bonus, regardless of what you're getting paid.

It's true. And how do you know when you're doing something right? How do you know that? It feels so. What I know now is that feelings are really your GPS system for life. When you're supposed to do something or not supposed to do something, your emotional guidance system lets you know. The trick is to learn to check your ego at the door and start checking your gut instead. Every right decision I've made—every right decision I've ever made—has come from my gut. And every wrong decision I've ever made was a result of me not listening to the greater voice of myself.

If it doesn't feel right, don't do it. That's the lesson. And that lesson alone will save you, my friends, a lot of grief. Even doubt means don't. This is what I've learned. There are many times when you don't know what to do. When you don't know what to do, get still, get very still, until you do know what to do.

And when you do get still and let your internal motivation be the driver, not only will your personal life improve, but you will gain a competitive edge in the working world as well. Because, as Daniel Pink writes in his best-seller, A Whole New Mind, we're entering a whole new age. And he calls it the Conceptual Age, where traits that set people apart today are going to come from our hearts—right brain—as well as our heads. It's no longer just the logical, linear, rules-based thinking that matters, he says. It's also empathy and joyfulness and purpose, inner traits that have transcendent worth.

These qualities bloom when we're doing what we love, when we're involving the wholeness of ourselves in our work, both our expertise and our emotion.

So, I say to you, forget about the fast lane. If you really want to fly, just harness your power to your passion. Honor your calling. Everybody has one. Trust your heart and success will come to you.

So, how do I define success? Let me tell you, money's pretty nice. I'm not going to stand up here and tell you that it's not about money, 'cause money is very nice. I like money. It's good for buying things.

But having a lot of money does not automatically make you a successful person. What you want is money and meaning. You want your work to be meaningful. Because meaning is what brings the real richness to your life. What you really want is to be surrounded by people you trust and treasure and by people who cherish you. That's when you're really rich.

So, lesson one, follow your feelings. If it feels right, move forward. If it doesn't feel right, don't do it.

Now I want to talk a little bit about failings, because nobody's journey is seamless or smooth. We all stumble. We all have setbacks. If things go wrong, you hit a dead end—as you will—it's just life's way of saying time to change course. So, ask every failure—this is what I do with every failure, every crisis, every difficult time—I say, what is this here to teach me? And as soon as you get the lesson, you get to move on. If you really get the lesson, you pass and you don't have to repeat the class. If you don't get the lesson, it shows up wearing another pair of pants—or skirt—to give you some remedial work.

And what I've found is that difficulties come when you don't pay attention to life's whisper, because life always whispers to you first. And if you ignore the whisper, sooner or later you'll get a scream. Whatever you resist persists. But, if you ask the right question—not why is this happening, but what is this here to teach me?—it puts you in the place and space to get the lesson you need.

My friend Eckhart Tolle, who's written this wonderful book called A New Earth that's all about letting the awareness of who you are stimulate everything that you do, he puts it like this: He says, don't react against a bad situation; merge with that situation instead. And the solution will arise from the challenge. Because surrendering yourself doesn't mean giving up; it means acting with responsibility.

Many of you know that, as President Hennessy said, I started this school in Africa. And I founded the school, where I'm trying to give South African girls a shot at a future like yours—Stanford. And I spent five years making sure that school would be as beautiful as the students. I wanted every girl to feel her worth reflected in her surroundings. So, I checked every blueprint, I picked every pillow. I was looking at the grout in between the bricks. I knew every thread count of the sheets. I chose every girl from the villages, from nine provinces. And yet, last fall, I was faced with a crisis I had never anticipated. I was told that one of the dorm matrons was suspected of sexual abuse.

That was, as you can imagine, devastating news. First, I cried—actually, I sobbed—for about half an hour. And then I said, let's get to it; that's all you get, a half an hour. You need to focus on the now, what you need to do now. So, I contacted a child trauma specialist. I put together a team of investigators. I made sure the girls had counseling and support. And Gayle and I got on a plane and flew to South Africa.

And the whole time I kept asking that question: What is this here to teach me? And, as difficult as that experience has been, I got a lot of lessons. I understand now the mistakes I made, because I had been paying attention to all of the wrong things. I'd built that school from the outside in, when what really mattered was the inside out.

So, it's a lesson that applies to all of our lives as a whole. What matters most is what's inside. What matters most is the sense of integrity, of quality and beauty. I got that lesson. And what I know is that the girls came away with something, too. They have emerged from this more resilient and knowing that their voices have power.

And their resilience and spirit have given me more than I could ever give to them, which leads me to my final lesson—the one about finding happiness—which we could talk about all day, but I know you have other wacky things to do.

Not a small topic this is, finding happiness. But in some ways I think it's the simplest of all. Gwendolyn Brooks wrote a poem for her children. It's called "Speech to the Young : Speech to the Progress-Toward." And she says at the end, "Live not for battles won. / Live not for the-end-of-the-song. / Live in the along." She's saying, like Eckhart Tolle, that you have to live for the present. You have to be in the moment. Whatever has happened to you in your past has no power over this present moment, because life is now.

But I think she's also saying, be a part of something. Don't live for yourself alone. This is what I know for sure: In order to be truly happy, you must live along with and you have to stand for something larger than yourself. Because life is a reciprocal exchange. To move forward you have to give back. And to me, that is the greatest lesson of life. To be happy, you have to give something back.

I know you know that, because that's a lesson that's woven into the very fabric of this university. It's a lesson that Jane and Leland Stanford got and one they've bequeathed to you. Because all of you know the story of how this great school came to be, how the Stanfords lost their only child to typhoid at the age of 15. They had every right and they had every reason to turn their backs against the world at that time, but instead, they channeled their grief and their pain into an act of grace. Within a year of their son's death, they had made the founding grant for this great school, pledging to do for other people's children what they were not able to do for their own boy.

The lesson here is clear, and that is, if you're hurting, you need to help somebody ease their hurt. If you're in pain, help somebody else's pain. And when you're in a mess, you get yourself out of the mess helping somebody out of theirs. And in the process, you get to become a member of what I call the greatest fellowship of all, the sorority of compassion and the fraternity of service.

The Stanfords had suffered the worst thing any mom and dad can ever endure, yet they understood that helping others is the way we help ourselves. And this wisdom is increasingly supported by scientific and sociological research. It's no longer just woo-woo soft-skills talk. There's actually a helper's high, a spiritual surge you gain from serving others. So, if you want to feel good, you have to go out and do some good.

But when you do good, I hope you strive for more than just the good feeling that service provides, because I know this for sure, that doing good actually makes you better. So, whatever field you choose, if you operate from the paradigm of service, I know your life will have more value and you will be happy.

I was always happy doing my talk show, but that happiness reached a depth of fulfillment, of joy, that I really can't describe to you or measure when I stopped just being on TV and looking at TV as a job and decided to use television, to use it and not have it use me, to use it as a platform to serve my viewers. That alone changed the trajectory of my success.

So, I know this—that whether you're an actor, you offer your talent in the way that most inspires art. If you're an anatomist, you look at your gift as knowledge and service to healing. Whether you've been called, as so many of you here today getting doctorates and other degrees, to the professions of business, law, engineering, humanities, science, medicine, if you choose to offer your skills and talent in service, when you choose the paradigm of service, looking at life through that paradigm, it turns everything you do from a job into a gift. And I know you haven't spent all this time at Stanford just to go out and get a job.

You've been enriched in countless ways. There's no better way to make your mark on the world and to share that abundance with others. My constant prayer for myself is to be used in service for the greater good.

So, let me end with one of my favorite quotes from Martin Luther King. Dr. King said, "Not everybody can be famous." And I don't know, but everybody today seems to want to be famous.

But fame is a trip. People follow you to the bathroom, listen to you pee. It's just—try to pee quietly. It doesn't matter, they come out and say, "Ohmigod, it's you. You peed."

That's the fame trip, so I don't know if you want that.

So, Dr. King said, "Not everybody can be famous. But everybody can be great, because greatness is determined by service." Those of you who are history scholars may know the rest of that passage. He said, "You don't have to have a college degree to serve. You don't have to make your subject and verb agree to serve. You don't have to know about Plato or Aristotle to serve. You don't have to know Einstein's theory of relativity to serve. You don't have to know the second theory of thermodynamics in physics to serve. You only need a heart full of grace and a soul generated by love."

In a few moments, you'll all be officially Stanford's '08.

You have the heart and the smarts to go with it. And it's up to you to decide, really, where will you now use those gifts? You've got the diploma, so go out and get the lessons, 'cause I know great things are sure to come.

You know, I've always believed that everything is better when you share it, so before I go, I wanted to share a graduation gift with you. Underneath your seats you'll find two of my favorite books. Eckhart Tolle's A New Earth is my current book club selection. Our New Earth webcast has been downloaded 30 million times with that book. And Daniel Pink's A Whole New Mind: Why Right-Brainers Will Rule the Future has reassured me I'm in the right direction.

I really wanted to give you cars but I just couldn't pull that off! Congratulations, '08!

 


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Anonymous, 2015-03-27 22:44:39
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Anonymous, 2015-01-08 05:17:54
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感恩翻譯!!!
Anonymous, 2013-09-13 19:39:52
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It really teaches me a big lesson !
Anonymous, 2012-10-14 19:30:37
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an inspiring and dynamic speech !
Anonymous, 2012-08-21 12:15:55

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