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Oprah Winfrey urges graduates to be good to people every day in powerful speech: 'Make a difference'

Oprah Winfrey delivered a commencement address at Tennessee State University, where she encouraged the graduates to make a difference in somebody else's life.

Oprah Winfrey urges graduates to be good to people every day in powerful speech: 'Make a difference'
Cover Image Source: Facebook/ Tennessee State University

Oprah Winfrey has been a source of inspiration for many over the years. Her speeches never fail to leave a lasting impact. Her recent commencement address at Tennessee State University was the same as she shared some powerful words of advice that are sure to encourage and inspire the graduates for a long time.

"Well, this is what I know for sure. There will never be anything in your life as fulfilling as making a difference in somebody else's," Winfrey said, reports Good Morning America. "Everybody here wants to see you take your integrity, your curiosity, your creativity, your guts, and this newfound education of yours, and use it to make a difference. Everybody always thinks you've got to go do something big and grand."



 

"I'll tell you where you start - you start by being good to at least one person every single day. Just start there," the Emmy Award–winning talk show host added. "That's how you begin to change the world by just being good to one other person. It doesn't matter if it's a member of your tribe or a stranger on the street. I'm here to tell you that a little act of compassion can be a lifesaver for somebody who receives it, but also, for you who offers it. Just extend yourself in love and kindness to somebody."

Image Source: Oprah Winfrey speaks onstage during the 2023 Tennessee State University Commencement ceremony at Hale Stadium at Tennessee State University on May 06, 2023, in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Jason Kempin/Getty Images)
Image Source: Oprah Winfrey speaks onstage during the 2023 Tennessee State University Commencement ceremony at Hale Stadium at Tennessee State University on May 06, 2023, in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Jason Kempin/Getty Images)

Winfrey, who is an alumnus of the University, shared that she started her sophomore year with a career in education in mind. "I was majoring in speech communication and drama. I wanted to be an actress, but my father had proclaimed that no daughter of mine is going to be on somebody's casting couch," she said. "And so I decided, all right, I will teach."

However, it was her Scenic Design professor who guided her toward the right path. During one of his classes, she received a job opportunity call from a lead news anchor at Nashville's WLAC-TV. She informed her professor about the offer and her father's insistence that she finish school. According to Oprah Winfrey Network, she recalled her professor's response: "He said, 'This is what you get an education for. So, CBS Channel Five will call you. You and your father ought to know that.' He rolled his eyes and he was walking away. He said, 'I'll tell him myself,' and he did."



 

She also shared the secret to her success in the commencement address. "People ask me what is the secret to my success... it's because I lean into his grace. Because life is always talking to us. When you are taping into what it is trying to tell you you can distill the still small voice which is always representing the truth of you from the noise of the world," Winfrey said.

The media mogul and celebrity then proceeded to discuss the current social and political climate in the country. "You are the generation that is forced to depend on bodycams to obtain justice. You witness the storming of the capitol and the death of civility. You are acutely aware that voting rights are being gutted, and women's rights are being dismantled, books are being banned," she noted.



 

"But I can't just tell you what desperate shape the universe is in and send you on your way. So I'm gonna leave you with this instead," Winfrey continued. "The world is weaning itself off Russian fuel. Electric cars are going mainstream across the globe. That hole we punched in the ozone layer is healing. Ukraine is still in there fighting for us all. Finland joined NATO. COVID is currently receding. And there are human beings who very quietly donate their bone marrow to strangers. And this to me, signals that the United States of America may not be united. But we are not a finished product. My point is, anything is possible. The wheels are still in spin. Saints walk among us. And as Nelson Mandela so brilliantly demonstrated, 'it's better to be hopeful than fearful,' if for no other reason than the fact that hope brings us one step closer to joy."



 

Oprah also urged the graduates to have faith in their inner voice and pursue their own unique journeys in life. She said, "When you can get quiet enough to listen, you can begin to instill the still small voice which is always representing the truth of you; from the noise of the world."

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