The Path Made Clear: Discovering Your Life's Direction and Purpose

Oprah Winfrey

Finished Reading:
Apr 19, 2019

Edition Publisher:
Flatiron Books

Edition Release:
Mar 26, 2019

Purchase Search via DuckDuckGo:
ISBN 9781250307507

Highlights & Annotations

“If you’re rested, if your mind is in peace, and if you’re full of love and compassion, if you come from being and then feeling, and then self-reflection, then things will synchronistically fall into place.” Deepak Chopra (25) 

  • Focus on your strengths

“My deepest desire is for people to get still enough to identify what makes them unique and connect to hope, possibility, and fulfillment in all areas of their life.” (29)

“...when you align your personality with your purpose, no one can touch you” Gary Zukav (29)

Bishop T.D. Jakes

  • “When you are not using your life, you time, your energy, for your highest and best use, and something in the back of the brain is going, Ding, ding, sing, ding! – you’re missing it. You’re missing your life, your purpose, your passion, your excitement, your enthusiasm. I want to shake you, and rattle you, and stir you up to understand that every moment is a gift. Every second is gift. Every thought is a gift. Every idea is a gift. Every opportunity is a gift. Everybody you meet is a gift. You are gifted with opportunities to begin to maximize what you’ve got.” (46)

Question your feelings to discover if that’s what you’re really feeling. Behind anger there is a source or something truer. (62-63 When Oprah talks about her mantras)

“We say, I know how to be broke and poor and struggle and suffer and be angry. I know how to do that. But when it comes to being vulnerable – because the core ingredient of trust is vulnerability – that’s unfamiliar.” Iyanla Vanzant (66)

  • // Courage to Be Disliked – talks about staying where you are even if it’s bad for you because it’s comfortable; the comfort factor of a bad situation is better than the unfamiliar territory that goes beyond that – moving beyond that state

“All dreams start from the core. Unless you are in total alignment with whatever you envision, the dream will get derailed. Your intention has to be pure.” (84)

“If you don’t have a vision, you’re going to be stuck in what you know. And the only thing you know is what you’ve already seen. But a vision that grows inside of you, a vision that wakes with you, sleeps with you, moves with you, a vision that you can tap into on your worst days – that vision will pull you forward.” Iyanla Vanzant (87)

“...before you can give yourself to someone else, you need to know what you stand for.” Mindy Kaling (102)

“The goal is to get back to living for yourself, to get back to your flow. And that is not a selfish thing. It’s an honorable thing.” (107)

  • THIS. THIS. THIS. I need to get back to myself because that is how I am going to be able to help people the most. I can’t do anything if I’m not taking care of myself.

“You know why we’re tired? Because we’re pretending. It takes so much work to pretend. When you can be who you really are and find out where you fit and and function a place of comfort, then you stop working. You stop wrestling.” Bishop T.D. Jakes (110)

  • I feel like I’m wrestling every day since I’ve gotten back from Japan. My body/self/soul just knows now. After I gave it some time to listen to itself, it’s shouting at myself to change course because I’m so blatantly hurting myself. Slapping my purpose in the face.

“If you don’t get happy where you are, you probably won’t get to where you want to be.” (114)

  • But I don’t think that means get comfortable if you’re unhappy. I think that means still go towards your truth, but realize that situation could be much worse and be grateful for where you are right now.

“...if i can be comfortable with pain, which is different from suffering, but comfortable with pain as just an indication...then there won’t be any living in the future all the time” Alanis Morissette (126)


Oprah: Many times when you try to change, there’s a whole circle of people who actually liked you better the old way. And a lot of people are torn between that life and the life that’s calling for them.

Tracey Jackson: You develop languages with people and you develop patterns of behaviour. For instance: I’m the dysfunctional one; you’re the functional one. I’m the one in control. You’re the one who’s a little bit crazy. I’m always depressed. Whatever it may be. But when you change that, all of a sudden their role in your life is put into question. And they start having to question their own behaviour. (129)

“What follows ‘I am’ is what we’re inviting into our life. You say ‘I am tired.’ ‘I am frustrated.’ ‘I am lonely.’ Well, now you’ve invited more of that in. So the principle is to turn it around and invite what you want into your life. There’s a balance to it. I don’t think you’re denying the facts. You’re just not magnifying the negative. Rather, start saying, ‘I am a masterpiece. I am fearfully and wonderfully made. I am strong. I am talented.’ I think that is speaking to the core of what God’s put in each one of us. He has equipped us. He’s empowered us. We have what we need to fulfill our destiny. But we have to bring it out. And you can’t bring it out being against yourself.” Joel Osteen (133)


Whole passage on 136-137. 

  • “People may not remember what you did or what your said, but they always remember how you made them feel.” Maya Angelou
  • “When it comes down to it, life can be measured in exchanges of energy. Positive or negative…”
  • What do I want my legacy to be?
  • “When you know, teach. When you get, give.” M. Angelou

“If you are in a place where you’re more powerful than the people around you, listen as much as you talk. And if you’re less powerful, talk as much as you listen.” Gloria Steinem (139)

Thich Nhat Hanh re: deep listening (140)

  • The “empty[ing] [of] their heart” is part of why I love listening so much
  • I feel like there’s so much power in just taking the time to sit with someone and let them tell you their story without judgement
    • “Even if they say things full of wrong perceptions, full of bitterness, you are still capable to continuing to listen with compassion”

Charles Eisenstein: We live in communities that aren’t really communities because we don’t know the people around us. We’re surrounded by strangers. So we feel lonely. Our sense of being in the world depends on our relationships. I’m talking about really being known. When we don’t know our neighbours and we’re not participating in the natural world in an intimate way, then we feel alone. We don’t even know who we are. There’s a deficit of identity when we’re shrunk down into these little separate selves.

Oprah: Another world for suffering you use id separation, this feeling that you’re disconnected, even though you are in a room, or in a world where you are engaging with people all the time, but there’s this low-level sense of disconnection from community. That’s what you’re talking about. You say, “On some level, we all know better. This knowledge seldom finds clear articulation. So, instead we express it indirectly through covert and overt rebellion.” I found that so interesting. “Addiction. Self-sabotage. Procrastination. Laziness. Rage. Chronic fatigue. And depression. All are ways that we withhold our full participation in the program of life that we are offered.” Well said, sir. 

CE: You are the mirror of all things. You are the totality of your relationships. So that means that anything that happens to anything, to any being, is happening to you on some level. It means that any difficult relationship you have is mirroring something in yourself. It means that everything you do to the world will somehow come back to you. It means the world outside of ourselves is not just a bunch of stuff. But it’s a mirror itself. It’s happening to you. Everything that’s happening to the world is happening to us. And whether or not we believe it, we can still feel it. That’s why it hurts so much. And we don’t even know why. (144-45)


Lynne Twist: When you let go of trying to get more of what you don’t really need, it frees up oceans of energy that was caught up in that chase to now turn and pay attention to what you already have. When you actually pay attention to, nourish, love, and share what you already have, it expands. It’s the opposite of what we think. And when people know that, it frees them from this chase of more, more, more, more, more. A shorter way to say all that is, What you appreciate, appreciates.

Oprah: ….What you focus on expands.

LT: Exactly. And the way we have that kind of experience is by sharing. By contributing. By serving. By nourishing other people. That’s where real prosperity lives. (146)


“I think luxury is a matter not of all the things you have, but of all the things you can afford to do without.” Pico Iyer (157)

“When I read a script, either my skin tingles, or my stomach churns. It’s that simple. If my skin tingles I know it’s something I must do. If my stomach churns I know it is something I cannot do. I have learned something from every single character that I’ve played. Something emotionally, spiritually, and psychologically true. I’ve never done a job just for money. I could not do anything that would not enhance humanity, especially for women.

It’s so easy when the money is flashed before you to allow that to govern your choices. But it’s more important to me to have peace of mind, body, and soul than to have all of the riches. When I put my head on my pillow at night I don’t require a drug, alcohol or anything else. Just fatigue.” Cicely Tyson (158)


Lynne Twist: I've learned a great deal from people I used to call poor and the people I used to call rich. And now i just realize we’re all whole and complete people living in the ebb and flow of financial circumstances that change all the time and do not define us.

Oprah: I thought it was interesting how you say we question everything else. We question race, religion, other life circumstances. But money – we just give it the power.

LT: It’s not that we have it. It has us. And we’re assigned it more power than human life. More power than the natural world. More power than our relationships with each other. And we all know that’s not true. But we live as if money’s more important than anything else. And it cripples us. It gives us tremendous anxiety and suffering. Somehow we drop this wonderful sense of value and worth and love and relationships we have in the rest of life and we become irritable and competitive and greedy. There is so much suffering in this world in people’s relationship with money. There’s lying. There are things people wish they had never done. Things they didn’t do that they wish they had done. You know, everybody has baggage.

O: Because of the silent power of money. That’s what you call it.

LT: Yes, we just think it will resolve everything. Everybody thinks, Well, if I just had 30 percent more, everything would be fine. But 30 percent more won’t really do it. Because when you get there, you want 30 percent more. We’re just completely addicted in a society that values money above all else. And it’s hurtful. It wounds us.

O: So in order to break that scarcity myth, that belief that there’s not enough, you say we need to live in the place of sufficiency.

LT: Yes. Sufficiency is a place of wholeness and completeness and deep understanding of who we are. And it’s almost impossible to get to enough-ness of sufficiencies in a world that exalts what I call the “myth of scarcity” – which is a mind-set, an unconcious, unexamined set of assumptions of “not enough.” There’s not enough time. There’s not enough money. There are not enough vacations. There’s not enough sex. There’s not enough this. There’s not enough that. And every meeting, every conversation, every lunch, every dinner, every everything is about what we don’t have enough of. It’s the siren song of consumer culture. It’s just not about money. It dribbles over into every aspect of life.

O: Everything.

LT: Yes. it’s not just there is not enough, it’s not enough. We’re not enough. I’m not enough. And that deficit relationship with ourselves is the source of so much of our suffering. It comes from this unconscious, unexamined mind-set I call “scarcity,” which has made up these myths. There is not enough to go around. And someone somewhere is always going to be left out.

O: And if you believe that, and buy into that, then that’s exactly what you will create.

LT: Exactly. It gives people permission to accumulate way more than they need out of the fear that they’re not going to have enough. So even massive accumulation often comes from the fear I’m not going to have enough for me. (160-61)


“I think the greatest wound we’ve all experienced is somehow being rejected for being our authentic self. And as a result of that, we then try to be what we’re not to get approval, love, protection, safety, money, whatever. And the real need for all of us is to reconnect with the essence of who we really are and re-own all the disowned parts of ourselves, whether it’s our emotions, our spirituality, whatever. We all go around hiding parts of ourselves.

I was with a Buddhist teacher a number of years ago. And he said, “Let me give you the secret. If you were to meditate for twenty years, this is where you’d finally get to: Just be yourself. But be all of you.” Jack Canfield (165)

“We had something you don’t have when you have too much. And that is the ability to focus on the human beings around you.” Trevor Noah (169)

“ never saves people” William Paul Young (171)

  • O: “It only delays whatever was already waiting for you. Because you have created the situation based upon the way you’ve handled or managed your life.”
  • Re: when people ask you for money to help them
  • “By writing the check, I have blocked people from receiving whatever lessons they needed to learn.”

“No matter how far away from yourself you may have strayed, there is always a path back. You already know who you are and how to fulfill your destiny. And your ruby slippers are ready to carry you home.

Just before Dorothy clicks her heels, she shares the universal lesson that applies to each and every person here on earth: ‘If I ever go looking for my heart’s desire again, I won’t look any further than my own backyard. Because if it isn’t there, I never really lost it to begin with.’

The final chapter of this book is meant to illustrate that you have the power to discover your purpose and live your greatest truth. It doesn’t matter how many yellow brick roads you encounter – it has always been right there, at home, in your heart.” (176)

“All spiritual knowledge is not cognition. It’s recognition. You’re re-knowing what you deeply already knew. What you deeply intuited, suspected, desired, hoped for, that’s the soul.” Father Richard Rohr (178)


Oprah: What did you discover that you never knew you had?

Elizabeth Gilbert: I discovered I could take care of myself completely. I’ve got my own back. And i don’t just mean financially. I mean emotionally. I know that I became a responsible enough adult to be allowed to be alone with the child who is inside of me.

O: And you know that no matter what, you’re going to be all right.

EG: I’m going to be all right.


“My belief is that the whole purpose of life is to gain mastery, mastery of our emotions, or finances, our relationships, our consciousness through meditation, things like that. And it’s not about the stuff we achieve or amass in life. All that stuff can be taken away. People lose their fortunes. They lose their reputation. Beautiful spouses can die or leave you. But the mastery you achieve and who you become in the process of achieving those things can never be taken away. Never.” Jack Canfield (182)


Oprah: You all have heard this question, “Is the glass half-empty or is the glass half-full?” I beat myself up because some days I look at it and I say, It’s definitely half empty. And some days, It’s half-full. But what you’re saying is, what does it matter if you have a pitcher nearby? I love this. So it doesn’t matter if the glass is half-full or half-empty.

Shawn Achor: That’s right. We get so focused on the glass, whether it’s half-full or half-empty, and we can argue forever between optimists and pessimists. Both can say the other is being unrealistic. But it wouldn’t matter if we looked at more of the world and saw that there’s a pitcher of water that’s sitting next to it.

O: Life is the pitcher.

SA: Life is the pitcher and we’re missing the pitcher when we’re so focused on that one element. It doesn’t matter if your glass if half-full or half-empty if there’s a pitcher of water right next to you. And we need to look at the full picture to see the full pitcher.