Ladies (and gentlemen) around the world have been participating in Oprah’s teleclass broadcasted on her television network, OWN, as well as participating online on her website, Facebook page, and iPad application. Although the former talk show host has left her afternoon slot, she’s back and continues to teach us lessons that she learned from her 25 years on The Oprah Show. We’re currently in Week 4 of LifeClass and every single day, she gives us a new lesson to learn. The lessons are life lessons, but how do they translate financially? In part 1, we’ll go over the lessons Oprah taught us in week 1, and how I applied this to my finances:
Lesson 1: The False Power of Ego
In the very first episode, the first lesson was the false power of ego. Oprah challenged us to think about how we identify ourselves, how we think other people see us, and how to prevent your ego from getting the best of you. Financially, many people identify themselves based on their income, their job, or their social class. You hear identifiers like rich, poor, upper class, middle class, white collar, blue collar, etc. The false power of ego makes us believe we are what we make, what we do, and where we live, and that’s not the case. When people see you, they don’t see a “rich man” or a “homemaker”. They see you. You are not your finances. Also, your ego gives you a sense of pride. You should never be too prideful to ask for help financially. Whether you can’t make ends meet or you need to fix your credit, it does not hurt to ask.
Lesson 2: Letting Go of Anger
Anger is an emotion that everyone has experienced in their life. She brought up her interview with author Terry McMillan, who was angry that her husband kept a secret from her that ruined their marriage. While Terry McMillian’s case was different, there’s many spouses who are angry with their significant other because they kept a financial secret from them. You shouldn’t harbor anger or resentment, as you won’t get very far. Be able to forgive and let it go. If you keep a grudge, you’ll be on guard your entire life. Are you angry at the stock market and refuse to trade again? Are you upset with banks for failing? What’s done is done. Let go of your anger and move on.
Lesson 3: You Become What You Believe
Have you ever read Think and Grow Rich? If not, you should certainly add it to your to-read list. This lesson is based on the same concept: you are what you believe. If you want to be rich, think it, believe it, then make it happen. If you believe you’re poor, you will be poor. If you think you’re never going to get out debt, chances are you won’t. But if you want to be debt free, with a great job, and financially independent, believe in yourself and do what’s necessary to make your dreams a reality.
Lesson 4: The Truth Will Set You Free
How many times have you heard this statement? You haven’t heard it so many times for nothing. It’s true! On this episode, Oprah remembered when Ellen DeGeneres came out on her show. She was honest with herself and with the public, and she felt great about it. How many of you are keeping your financial situation a secret? One of the reasons that there are so many personal finance blogs is because there are people who wanted to stop hiding the fact that they were in debt or broke, tell the truth, and fix it. Now, many people have accomplished their goals after admitting it. I’m not saying you have to wear a shirt that says “I have $100,000 in debt”, but don’t lie to others or yourself. The truth will set you free!
Lesson 5: Joy Rising (The Car Giveaway)
I think Oprah is most memorable for the episode where she gave away cars. “You get a car! You get a car! Everybody gets a car!” You could see the joy radiating throughout the audience. It’s not like she gave cars to people who didn’t need them. She made sure everyone in the audience needed a car because they either didn’t have one, or theirs was on the brink of breaking down. Do you know someone in need? Can you help them? Donating to a cause or giving to someone in need is also a great part of personal finance. If you’re in a position to help, you will not only feel great about yourself. You will receive great karma too.
Next week, we’ll examine the second week’s lessons from LifeClass and again connect it to your finances.