Oprah didn’t earn her first million until she was 32. Here’s what she has to say to young people about success.
A household name, Oprah — media proprietor, philanthropist, and billionaire — is now one of the 500 richest people in the world.
With years and years of media and business experience, you will see her soon on the August cover of British Vogue, having recently sat down with editor-in-chief Edward Enninful to talk success, achievements, and advice.
Born into poverty, Oprah actually did not reach millionaire status until age 32. At a time when we see so many innovators and entrepreneurs appear to reach wild heights of success so early on in their lives — Mark Zuckerberg became a billionaire at 23, after all — a millionaire at age 32 may seem somewhat “late.”
Though many of us have our eyes set on succeeding fast and early, Oprah, who has built an entire media empire for herself, would most likely advise against such a pursuit.
When Enninful asked the business titan about her biggest frustration with young women today, Oprah pivoted the question to apply to young people as a whole.
“My biggest frustration is not just with young women, my biggest frustration is with young men, young people, who think that…they think success is supposed to happen like that.” Oprah then snaps her fingers, to show how many expect instantaneous success.
They think that they’re supposed to come out of college and have their brand…how I got to be a brand was not trying to be a brand! How I got to be a brand was: every day, making choices that felt like ‘this is the right move’ and ‘now that’s the next right move’…
Oprah underlines that perhaps young people do not think that there is a process to follow, then says she “loves” the theory that there are 10,000 hours of work behind success.
She even says to Enninful: “You did not get to be editor of Vogue magazine by not working and working and working and working to get here.”
Not all of us will be a Zuckerberg, and not all of us will be an Oprah. That’s ok because each of us can succeed in our own ways. The key? Take your time, and trust the process.
Peter Economy has written more than 80 books on a variety of business and leadership topics. Do you feel that setting too many deadlines makes you less efficient? Let us know by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.