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“We don’t develop courage by being happy every day. We develop it by surviving difficult times and challenging adversity.”- Barbara De Angelis
Despite the circumstances and plethora of obstacles faced, one can use them to become even better than before. I’m going to talk about Oprah Winfrey’s hardships throughout her life and how she managed to rise above them. From living in a poor, dangerous neighborhood to transforming a low-rated talk show into a national sensation within three months.
One’s circumstances don’t define who they are. Oprah Winfrey was born on a lowly farm to in Kosciusko, Mississippi and was left in her grandparents’ care following her unwed parent’s break-up. She lived a normal life until she was sent to live in a dangerous, poverty-stricken Milwaukee ghetto with her mother and half-brothers at the age of six. Six years later she went to live with her father in Nashville, Texas and for the first time in years, felt relatively safe. Winfrey’s charm for public speaking flourished during her stay with her father but was soon called back to Milwaukee.
The lifestyle of the ghetto had a negative effect on Winfrey. The constant dangers piled with repetitive sexual abuse from the young age of 9 done by trusted male family friends made for a bad outlook on life. Her behavior took a turn for the worse and her mother sent her back to live with her father. Transition: During the years of difficulty, Oprah still cultivated her love for public speaking, and it proved to the best thing she could’ve done for herself.
Hard work and dedication lead to success. Winfrey’s father was strict with his direction, often not allowing Oprah to eat dinner until she learned five new vocabulary words. This didn’t faze her, in fact she said it saved her; she became a diligent student involved in many clubs and won a full-fledged scholarship due to winning a speaking competition. She was invited to a White House conference about Youth and was hired by a local radio station. She went on to receive multiple job offers from CBS, turned them down multiple times but then accept due to the encouragement of a teacher. At age nineteen, Oprah Winfrey became Nashville’s first ever black female co-anchor.
Proceeding graduation Winfrey relocated to Baltimore, Maryland and was recruited to do Good Morning, America which churned out better ratings than national talk-shows. She was hired at ABC and took over A.M. Chicago, turning it into the Oprah Winfrey show. People recognized her talent left and right, she was offered acting jobs and won awards for said acting roles, as well as all her achievements. Winfrey was a sensation in the media. Despite a competitor’s show being aired on hundreds more channels, Winfrey left them in the dust, conquering her time slot by a whopping 31%, attracted twice the audience and was in the American market’s top ten.
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