Oprah Winfrey addressed the graduating students of the University of Southern California’s Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism last week, delivering a speech that apparently rivalled the one she made at the Golden Globes back in January.
Her advice while addressed to the graduates had relevance to everybody regardless of the paths they choose to take.
– Be the truth: Winfrey asked her audience to “make the choice every single day to exemplify honesty.” “The truth exonerates and it convicts. It disinfects and it galvanizes. The truth has always been and will always be our shield against corruption, our shield against greed and despair. The truth is our saving grace,” she said. “Be the truth. Be. The. Truth.”
– Live responsibly: “Eat a good breakfast. It really pays off. Pay your bills on time. Recycle. Make your bed. Aim high. Say thank you to people and actually really mean it. Ask for help when you need it and put your phone away at the dinner table. Just sit on it!” she said. “Know what you tweet and post and Instagram today might be asked about in a job interview tomorrow or 20 years from tomorrow.”
– Be kind: Winfrey stressed the importance of compassion. “Be nice to little kids, be nice to your elders, be nice to animals and know that it’s better to be interested than interesting,” she said. “And if you’re fighting with someone you really love, for God’s sake, find your way back to them because life is short even on our longest days.”
– Be upstanding: “Don’t ever confuse what is legal with what is moral because they are entirely different animals. You see, in a court of law there are loopholes and technicalities and bargains to be struck, but in life, you’re either principled or you’re not,” she said. “So do the right thing, especially when nobody’s looking.
“And while I’m at it, do not confuse money and fame with accomplishment and character,” she continued. “Because I can assure you based on the thousands of people I’ve interviewed, one does not automatically follow the other.”
– Your job is what you do, not who you are: And, she added, work will not always be fulfilling. “There will be some days that you just might be bored. Other days, you may not feel like going to work at all. Go anyway,” she said. “Remember that your job is not who you are, it’s just what you’re doing on the way to who you will become.
“Every remedial chore, every boss who takes credit for your ideas — that is going to happen — look for the lessons because the lessons are always there,” she added. “And the No. 1 lesson I can offer you where your work is concerned is this: Become so skilled, so vigilant, so flat-out fantastic at what you do that your talent cannot be dismissed.”