Oprah Winfrey delivers 2015 "Harry's Last Lecture" at Stanford University | Summary and Q&A

April 28, 2015
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Oprah Winfrey delivers 2015 "Harry's Last Lecture" at Stanford University


Oprah Winfrey emphasizes the importance of spiritual connection, gratitude, intention, and practicing love in order to lead a meaningful life.

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Key Insights

  • 🤳 Living a meaningful life requires tapping into one's spirituality and engaging in self-reflection.
  • 😃 Gratitude is a powerful practice that can bring more fulfillment and joy into one's life.
  • 🥰 Choosing love over fear and aligning one's actions with their values leads to greater meaning and purpose.
  • 🖐️ Intentions play a significant role in creating a life of fulfillment and growth.
  • 🥺 Surrendering and trusting the greater plan can lead to unexpected opportunities and fulfillment.
  • 🤩 Each individual has a unique contribution to make to the world, and embracing their uniqueness is key to leading a meaningful life.
  • 📿 Spiritual practices, such as prayer and conscious kindness, can deepen one's connection to the divine and enhance one's sense of purpose.


Stanford University. [APPLAUSE] Thank you and good evening. I am Professor Harry Elam, the Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education at Stanford. And on behalf of the president and the provost, I welcome you to tonight's very special Rathbun Lecture with our featured speaker, Miss Oprah Winfrey. [APPLAUSE] Now, I got to tell you that you're in for a... Read More

Questions & Answers

Q: How does Oprah Winfrey define a meaningful life?

Oprah believes that a meaningful life comes from being in touch with one's spirituality, cultivating a sense of gratitude, and living a life based on love and kindness.

Q: What spiritual practices does Oprah suggest for leading a meaningful life?

Oprah recommends practices such as gratitude journaling, prayer, conscious kindness, and empathy as ways to deepen one's spiritual connection and lead a more meaningful life.

Q: How does intention play a role in leading a meaningful life?

According to Oprah, setting clear intentions and aligning one's actions with those intentions can help individuals create a life of purpose and fulfillment.

Q: How does Oprah advise individuals to handle challenging situations and maintain a sense of power?

Oprah encourages individuals to focus on their own energy and to not give their power away to others. By staying true to themselves and making choices aligned with their values, individuals can maintain a sense of power and authenticity.


This transcript is from a Rathbun Lecture at Stanford University featuring Oprah Winfrey as the guest speaker. She discusses the importance of leading a meaningful life and offers insights and advice on how to do so. She emphasizes the value of self-reflection, gratitude, and spiritual practice in finding purpose and authenticity.

Questions & Answers

Q: What is the importance of self-reflection in leading a meaningful life?

Oprah believes that self-reflection is crucial in understanding who you are and why you are here. It allows you to tap into a deeper sense of awareness and appreciation for your own existence. By reflecting on your life, you can become more in touch with your purpose and make choices that align with your values and passions.

Q: What spiritual practices does Oprah recommend for leading a meaningful life?

Oprah mentions several spiritual practices that can contribute to a more meaningful life, such as going to church, engaging in artful expression, practicing prayer, cultivating conscious kindness and empathy, consistently showing compassion, and practicing gratitude. These practices help connect individuals to something greater than themselves and deepen their understanding of spirituality.

Q: How can gratitude journaling contribute to a more meaningful life?

Oprah shares her personal experience with gratitude journaling and explains that it allows individuals to take stock of their lives and cultivate a sense of appreciation and joy. By regularly writing down five things they are grateful for or that brought them joy, individuals can shift their focus to the positive aspects of their lives and develop a mindset of gratitude. This practice can lead to a more meaningful and fulfilling life.

Q: How does intention play a role in living a meaningful life?

Oprah emphasizes the power of intention in shaping one's life. By setting clear intentions and making choices based on what feels right for oneself, individuals can take control of their own destinies and avoid being influenced by others' expectations. Living with intention allows individuals to determine their own boundaries and make decisions that align with their values and desires.

Q: Why does Oprah believe that love is essential in leading a meaningful life?

Oprah states that love and fear are the two primary emotions that individuals experience. She suggests that choosing love over fear is essential for leading a meaningful life. Love, in this context, encompasses kindness, grace, harmony, cooperation, and reverence for life. By consistently choosing love, individuals can cultivate meaningful relationships, make compassionate decisions, and live in alignment with their values.

Q: How does Oprah connect spirituality to her own personal and professional success?

Oprah attributes her personal and professional success to her spiritual beliefs and practices. She acknowledges the role of faith and connection to a higher power in guiding her decisions and providing her with strength and resilience. Oprah views spirituality as foundational to a fulfilling life and emphasizes the importance of aligning one's actions with one's spiritual beliefs and values.

Q: What does Oprah mean by the statement, "You are already a spiritual life"?

Oprah believes that everyone is already a spiritual being, regardless of their religious beliefs or practices. She suggests that individuals are connected to something greater than themselves and have the potential to tap into a divine flow of energy. Identifying oneself as a spiritual being allows for self-reflection, growth, and a sense of purpose and meaning in life.

Q: How does Oprah view challenges and setbacks in life?

Oprah views challenges and setbacks as opportunities for growth and strength. She believes that difficulties in life are not happening to individuals, but rather for them. These experiences help individuals develop resilience, learn valuable lessons, and ultimately become the best version of themselves. Oprah encourages individuals to trust the process and have faith that everything is happening for a reason.

Q: What lessons has Oprah learned about power?

Oprah has learned that personal power comes from mastering one's own energy field. She advises against giving one's power away to others or trying to control someone else's energy. True power, according to Oprah, comes from within and is derived from love, kindness, and living in alignment with one's spiritual beliefs and values. It is through this inner power that individuals can make a meaningful and positive impact in the world.

Q: How does Oprah view the uniqueness and importance of each individual?

Oprah believes that each individual is unique and has something valuable to offer to the world. She encourages individuals to recognize their own uniqueness and authenticity and to embrace their gifts and passions. Oprah emphasizes that no one can do what another person does in the same way, and that each person's contribution to the world is important and significant.


Oprah's lecture emphasizes the importance of self-reflection, gratitude, spiritual practice, and love in leading a meaningful life. She encourages individuals to tap into their own spirituality, trust the process of life, and live with intention. Oprah also speaks to the power of personal choices, boundaries, and authenticity. By cultivating these practices and beliefs, individuals can find purpose, fulfillment, and resilience in their lives.

Summary & Key Takeaways

  • Oprah Winfrey encourages individuals to tap into their spiritual self and live a life of self-reflection to understand their purpose and fulfill their potential.

  • She highlights the significance of gratitude and maintaining a sense of awe and appreciation for life's blessings.

  • Oprah emphasizes the importance of choosing love over fear and making decisions that align with one's values and authenticity.

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