Oprah’s Life Class: 10 life-changing lessons I learned

Yesterday I was lucky to be part of a truly momentous event — Oprah’s first visit to Canada — and I’m pumped with inspiring ideas and words of wisdom to share!

Oprah speaking at Lifeclass

Yesterday I was lucky to be part of a truly momentous event — Oprah’s first visit to Canada — and I’m pumped with inspiring ideas and words of wisdom to share! But first, why is Oprah here? The “O” dynamo herself and four hand-picked experts (life and business catalyst Tony Robbins, spiritualist Deepak Chopra, Bishop T.D. Jakes and inspirational author Iyanla Vanzant) are here to film two episodes of her LifeClass Tour at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre. Together they literally brought the audience of 8,500 to tears (even celebrity columnist Shinan Govani was seen reaching for the tissue), but the message was ultimately one of hope, happiness and inspiration.

Here are a few of the day’s best lessons:

1. Practice gratitude. Oprah keeps a gratitude journal, where she writes down at least five things she’s grateful for every day. Research shows that writing down and appreciating the things in your life will help you see the good in things and be a happier person.

2. Delete the negative. If you constantly feel frustrated, annoyed or pissed off or you’re always blaming others for your bad mood, it might be time to re-examine and reframe how you view things.  Consider your role in things before you immediately put the blame on someone or something else.

3. Change is good.
If life throws you a curve ball, choose to look at the experience as an opportunity, no matter what.

4. Decisions, not conditions, determine your destiny. How you live your life is your choice. You decide what drives you and what destroys you. You have 100 percent control over every action you make and you’re 100 percent responsible for every emotion you feel. No one else. Nope. No one.

5. Everybody has a story.
Your story is the set of beliefs and experiences you carry with you and tell yourself. “I’m not good enough. I don’t deserve success because [fill in the blank].” Tony Robins says if you want to change your life, you have to change your story.

6. Trade expectation for appreciation. As soon as you put expectations on someone or something else, you are setting yourself up for disappointment. Appreciate what others do or don’t do for you, but never expect it.

7. Pay attention to the energy and emotions YOU bring to every experience. If you’re filled with anger, ask yourself what’s missing in your life. Then try to reframe experiences to see the positive or the learning in it. Be more than your circumstances.

8. Happiness is contagious. Surround yourself with happy, positive people, and watch your own happiness levels grow. But remember misery also loves company, so steer clear of people and situations that bring out the worst in you.

9. Failure is the result of a lack of resourcefulness. No it’s not the people or the deadline or the lack of money. Failure happens when there’s a lack of creativity, passion, determination or commitment. Look inside, not outside and see the opportunity for yourself in failure.

10. Live in PAIN. That’s right: Pay. Attention. Inward. Now. Examine and re-examine how you live, and how you feel emotionally, physically and mentally. If you live on purpose, it will be easy and you’ll feel great. If not, start to peel away the layers of your story, your belief system, and make room in your life to be your best you. 
Readers, what do you think of this list? Do any of the points speak to you more than others?

Tune in to Oprah’s LifeClass, Monday nights on OWN. The gratitude episode airs April 30.

Laurie Jennings is the executive editor and health editor of Chatelaine magazine.

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