What I know for sure -Teachings that will turn you into a happy soul
What I know for sure gives a detailed account of experiences and lessons that turned Oprah Gail Winfrey into the person she is today. She extends her gratitude to these experiences and lessons that shaped her mindset and evolved her personality.
The title of the book is inspired from an interview where the interviewer asked her what she knows for sure. The American talk show host and philanthropist, Oprah Winfrey talks about the difficult and tormented moments of her childhood (from her mother’s pregnancy to the sexual exploitation that led to her own unwanted pregnancy) She details on how she transformed these moments of sadness and weakness into her strengths.
Listed below are some teachings shared by Oprah in What I know for sure summary that will surely make you a happy person-
- Turn your weaknesses into strengths by keeping an open mind
Oprah Winfrey jots down the story from her childhood to explain this point. She starts with writing about the unwanted pregnancy of her mother. Her mother was unmarried when she was pregnant with Oprah because of which she faced a lot of shame and regret. She even hid her pregnancy till the time she actually had her. This event had a huge impact on the mind of Oprah. She grew up lonely, sad and had a difficult childhood. At the age of 14, she herself was sexually abused which resulted in more trauma. She too just like her mother got pregnant and hid it from the world. She faced utter disgust and shame when she got to know that she was pregnant. The birth of her baby brought even more trauma. She lost the baby just a few weeks after the birth.
All these situations and experiences are hard enough to pull anyone down. But Oprah learnt from these grave situations and worked hard to come out stronger. These hardships toughened her and made her self-sufficient from a very young age. She realised that she doesn’t want to rely on anybody to make her happy.
By means of this anecdote, Oprah Winfrey wants to extend this piece of advice to all the readers that determination and an open mind can help you overcome all the hardships and can transform your weaknesses into strengths.
- Love yourself in a way that you want others to love you
You are capable of loving your own self in the manner you deserve. You only have to look within to provide yourself the love that you look for in others. Oprah explains this point in What I know for sure audiobook summary through the means of an anecdote. Once Oprah invited all the unfaithful married men to her show. She extracted the details about what lured them into cheating on their wives. To this the men answered that the love and admiration that they received from their mistresses lured them into cheating. Cheating on a partner is a big no-no but don’t you feel that all of us are looking for some extra love?
Oprah elaborates on this point by saying that this love that lures us into doing something bad is present within ourselves. We only need to have an eye to find such love. You can give yourself all the love and attention that you look for in other people.
- Be grateful for the imperfections
To explain this point, Oprah mentions an example of the contempt she exercised towards her body. In the gratitude journal she maintained, she always jotted down the various aspects of her life that she was grateful for other than her body. She tried all types of diets, exercises to improve her shape and to fit into clothes that she was expected to wear. But even after all these efforts she could never appreciate her body.
Her love for her body awakened when one day she experienced a health scare. It continued for over six months. This health scare taught her that it is high time that she takes her body seriously and be grateful for it.
Don’t let the fear of judgement ruin your mental peace
The fear of what other people might think of us always stops us from tapping into our full potential. A similar thing happened with Oprah during her childhood. She let the fear of judgment impede her from becoming the best version of herself. It was only later that she realised that the only person that she has to make happy is her own self.
- Learn to say no to things that you don’t believe in
In the book What I know for sure, Oprah Gail Winfrey mentions that the people pleasing attitude present in all human beings is the cause of most insecurities and inhibitions. It comes from the fear of not being tagged as a good human being if you say no to someone. But that is not true at all. A person is good and well-mannered even when they say no to some things. It is not because of some past grievance against you that they are saying no. Rather they are not saying to preserve their own sanity.