Chaos Theory

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Chaos theory graphic

There is a mathematical theory which states, in its simplest form, that small events can lead to many unforeseen big events, and because of that compounded effect of a very small initial change or event, you cannot predict anything when you are dealing with complex systems.

It is known as the Chaos theory, or also in popular culture as the Butterfly effect which says that a butterfly flapping its wings in Brazil can impact weather patterns which can later lead to a tornado in Texas. It applies to things like weather systems, the stock exchange and even how our minds work.

One of the most vivid memories I have of this in action was one day when I was still in school. My dad and I were watching South Africa play test cricket against India in our small TV room on the farm.

Let me set the scene for you.

Behind us was a window. In front of this stood a bookshelf which was filled, instead of books, with bonsais and other potted plants. The sun was shining warmly through this window…

In front of this was the couch we were seated on, with the TV in front of us. Because my grandfather had added on this room as an extension to the original farmhouse, the ceiling here was lower than in the adjoining dining room.

Mum had a beautiful round engraved ball light fixture that was hanging from this ceiling, slightly lower than advisable, but not so low that it was in the way or that you’d hit your head on it as you walked past.

The cricket game that day was very tense as India was chasing South Africa’s score and our team was trying to bowl them out. We were on the edge of our seats.

And then Brian McMillan bowled a beauty of a ball and bowled out the Indian batsman, winning us the game.

He was overjoyed and as he ran down the cricket pitch he jumped in the air and did this sort of fist pump.

My dad and I also shouted in joy and in our excitement my dad also jumped up from the couch and repeated McMillan’s entertaining victory gesture, forgetting in that moment about the light.

As his fist pumped into the air it hit the glass ball hanging above with a good amount of force.

I can still see the glass ball travel, as if in slow motion, towards the Television in front of us. It stayed remarkably intact until it hit the corner of the TV where it shattered with a loud crack. Then there was the sound of a thousand tinkles of broken glass hitting various other hard surfaces and breaking into further shards.

Unbeknownst to both of us, our ginger cat Rooikat was lying on the bookshelf behind us, having a nap in the morning sun, dreaming of hunting small reptiles and such.

When the light exploded against the TV he startled awake from his pleasant daydreams and jumped in fright against the drapes – bringing down the curtains and knocking a few bonsais and plants off the shelf in the process. These plants also hit the ground and there were further sounds of glass breaking.

As my dad and I froze wide-eyed in shock, the scene around us changed from a tranquil morning watching cricket to all sorts of chaos and destruction in a matter of seconds.

All you could hear was the sound of breaking glass, and more breaking glass and still more breaking glass. It just didn’t seem to stop.

A small event across the ocean in India had had totally unforeseeable and chaotic effects in our living room. Needless to say, mum was less than impressed.

Chaos theory holds that dynamic systems, like the world we live in, are very susceptible to initial changes and shows us that even insignificant little things can have profound and meaningful and unpredictable effects.

This doesn’t only apply to effects or events we deem as negative.

In the same way, it must then also be true that small gestures of kindness, charity and love in our daily lives can also have unpredictable and big meaningful effects.

For me, the beauty of Chaos theory is that it shows us that by doing our little part every day to make the world a better place, we can also bowl cricket balls that have ripple effects far beyond what may seem reasonable, or expected, or predicted or even realised.

Just as Brian McMillan never realised the chaos he unleashed in our living room, we might also never realise or know what ripple effect the smile we gave the cashier behind the till, or the encouragement we offered a colleague, or the calm with which we greeted the taxi pushing into our lane, will have in the world.

But sometimes it will have an effect we cannot even dream of. It’s just proven mathematics.

Pete Sampras: “Play hard and do it on your own terms” – letter to his 16-year old self

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Tennis player Pete Sampras wrote a letter to his 16 year old self, as published on and reblogged from

Dear 16-year-old Pete,

You’re about to go pro, and you’re pretty excited. Deep in your heart you know you’re eventually going to succeed. But believe me, it’s coming a lot sooner than you think. You’ll have your early ups and downs, but in just a couple of years, you’re gonna fight your way into the Top 5 in the world rankings, and you’ll win the U.S. Open, beating the likes of Ivan Lendl, John McEnroe and Andre Agassi in the process. At 19, you’ll be the youngest player to ever win the U.S. Open.

That’s when everything will change.

You’ll be an up-and-coming American with no exposure one day; then, when you wake up the morning after winning the Open, you’ll be on talk show after talk show. All eyes will be on you, and the attention will take some getting used to — it won’t mesh well with your reserved personality.

There’s more to being a pro than just playing tennis. The more successful you are, the more people will want out of you. It won’t always be something you’ll want to do, and it won’t always be fun. The pressure will be as exhausting as anything you’ll ever do on the tennis court. But as a tennis champion, you have that responsibility. You play tennis because you love the game, not because you love the limelight, so get ready. Think about getting some media training. It’ll go a long way. Luckily, you’ll be out of the game before these things called Twitter and Facebook come around. Be thankful for that. One day you’ll understand what I mean.Oh, and put the newspaper down. Don’t read what people are saying about you. No good can come of it. And if you do hear or read something negative about yourself, don’t sweat it. Let your racket do the talking.

He talks a lot about his career and the need to appreciate people. He ends his letter by saying:

You’re 16 years old and your life is just beginning, but don’t get sucked into always looking ahead. It’s tough because after every tournament — even when you win — your focus immediately shifts to the next one. Take time to appreciate your major wins and share them with your family and friends. Take advantage of your youth and enjoy it. The journey truly is the reward.Play hard, do it on your own terms and stay true to yourself. Do that, and you can’t go wrong.



It’s not only tennis stars that can benefit from looking back and connecting with their younger selves. What would you tell your younger self? Send your letter to – share the wisdom and the hard-won experience with others, and send some love to your less wrinkled version…

I’d love to hear from you!
(Author of the book Dive in – Unlocking happiness and miracles: a conversation with my 20-year old self, available on

“I look back at you and I smile” – Victoria Beckham to her 18-year old self

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Victoria Beckham recently graced the cover of Vogue Magazine in the UK (October 2016 issue) and as part of the magazine article, she reveals a letter she wrote to her 18-year old self.

Victoria Beckham Vogue cover
Credit: Lachlan Bailey,

The part of the letter that struck me the most is where she addresses her 18-year-old self sympathetically, revealing the insecurities that she faced as a teenager.









“I know you are struggling right now. You are not the prettiest, or the thinnest, or the best at dancing at the Laine Theatre Arts college. You have never properly fitted in, although you are sharing your Surrey school digs with really nice girls. You have bad acne. You think the principal has put you at the back of the end-of-year show (in a humiliatingly bright purple Lycra leotard) because you are too plump to go at the front. (This may or may not be true.)”

I think many girls can relate to that feeling of not fitting in, of feeling too fat. Even a beautiful fashion icon like her. There is a lesson there, I think.

She mentions the first moment she meets David, her future husband and she further writes about fashion:

“You are going to have so much fun with your clothes – PVC catsuits; chokers that say absurd things; weird spiky blonde hair. It will never occur to you that you appear ridiculous. You will turn up at awards ceremonies resembling a drag queen. But I look back at you and smile. It will add interest to your life to go from one extreme to another. I love the fact that you will feel free to express yourself.”

“Fashion will take on added stature one day, but try not to be stifled by it. You will learn, as you mature, to swap heels for Stan Smith trainers, minidresses for crisp white shirts. And you will never be one of those people who just roll out of bed.”

I found this very interesting and indicative of that whole learning and growing process we all go through in life.

You can read the full Vogue write-up Here.

What do you think? What would you tell your younger version? Do you want to share some of that hard-earned wisdom and maybe self-acceptance with the world?

You can send a letter to




A Dinosaur named Beef Wellington

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I had a weird dream this morning. Mind you, now that I’m paying attention and writing them down immediately upon waking I have realized that I have weird dreams most mornings, but this one was especially weird and somewhat funny.

I was in a parking garage being chased by a little, neon-green, poisonous, Dinosaur; and this creature was named Beef Wellington, I kid you not. The Dinosaur bore some striking resemblance to those Venus fly trap plants, especially around the mouth area, but it was a cartoon.

In my dream, I successfully evaded the scary little cartoon from pre-history and got in my car. Then, driving down the road I got pulled over by some cops who told me that the headlights on my vehicle need replacing. “No fine, but you have to change the headlights, M’am”.

Looking up the subconscious meanings and symbolism behind some of these things were very interesting.

For one, Dinosaurs represent outdated attitudes and old ways of thinking – and in this case, it was poisonous.

And headlamps represent how we look towards the future.

So, I was being chased by some poisonous outdated attitudes and ways of thinking that no longer serve me and then told that the way I look towards the future, those things that light up the dark so that I can see where I’m going, need to be replaced with some new ones.

Now, that is quite a meaningful dream, especially coming at the end of a year where we completed a nine-year cycle and are preparing to go into a whole new year and brand new nine-year cycle.

I really don’t know why my Dinosaur was called after a complex, intricate dish that is very difficult to cook perfectly, but maybe it’s a metaphor for the complex, intricate life we’re meant to be creating.

Even though there’s some work to do, some stuff to change, according to my subconscious, I take hope from the silly little dream.

Mostly because the real message was that we don’t need to change the whole car. The engine is fine and there’s lots of petrol in the tank to get where we want to go.

It’s just the way we look towards the uncertain and uncharted future—the light we’re shining on our path ahead—that needs some adjusting.

And even though you, dear friend, probably didn’t have a ridiculously-named, green, cartoon-dinosaur chasing you around in your dreams last night (that you remember anyway) this message might just have some application for and assistance in your life as well, as we head into 2017…

You don’t need to change a damn thing, just change the outdated and old Dinosaur-ways you’re thinking about the future.

Change your headlamps.

Wishing you a wonderful Festive Season and blessed New Year!

Lots of love,


Put on your eyepatches, awesome pirates! Adventure awaits.

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I heard a story once about why olden-day pirates wore an eyepatch. I’d always assumed that it was because they lost an eye during the regular swordfights they probably had, but apparently, it’s not.

They wore the eyepatch so that the eye that is hidden behind the patch is accustomed to the dark, giving them a faster reaction time when the time came for them to fight in the near dark of the ship’s hold.

That way there was less adjustment time needed as they whipped off the eyepatch since they could in effect see and fight both in the light and in the dark – at a moment’s notice.

As modern day pirates, all looking for our own personal Treasure Islands we are actually living in two worlds simultaneously. There is the very real, tangible World of Form around us, but there also exists an intangible, invisible World of Ideas and Energy and Spirit around us all. Following our treasure maps successfully entails being able to switch between these two worlds at a moment’s notice and functioning well in both.

Just concentrating on the World of Form often gets us lost, because the best clues to our quest for the treasure are actually hidden in that other, invisible world.

However, we can’t only exist and operate in that world, because following our dreams involve taking concrete steps and setting sail in the very real, tangible world as well.

Putting on the eyepatch to follow our treasure maps in the invisible involves various things, amongst others making quiet time to check in with our feelings and emotions and guidance, visualising our treasure islands often, believing in them wholeheartedly and most importantly listening to what our treasure maps are telling us about the decisions we’re making in our daily lives.

It involves throwing off some of the heavy ballast of unresolved traumas and issues from our pasts that keep our ships from being able to swiftly and surely follow the trade winds and currents without floundering along the way.

It takes courage to wear that eyepatch (which we all know looks mighty weird among non-piraty folk) and to set sail despite the risk of storms, sharks or scurvy. We face daily mutiny from our egos, our fears and the alluring comforts of the dockside bar where we are safe and sound and well-lubricated with drink and we can keep ourselves entertained with scurrilous tales of past voyages.

But if we can dare to put on our eye-patches and to follow the treasure maps that are calling to us all (even as we are reading this), oh what adventures we’ll have…what stories we would be able to tell… and oh, what treasures we’ll find…

Tangible, real treasures of wealth, abundance and precious things, as well as intangible but just as real treasures of ideas and moments and memories. Best of all, we might just find the biggest treasures of all, that are hidden deep inside of us… our purpose, our calling, courage and hope, worthiness and confidence in our own magical abilities to navigate and master the Seven Stormy seas of this life.

Love you, awesome pirates! Ahoy. Adventure awaits.


Did your emotional trip-switch also just trip out on you?

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Dear friends,

I don’t know about you, but I’ve been feeling pretty “disconnected” lately. I can barely manage to drag myself to a place where I can meditate and I’ve been feeling quite alone.

Even connecting to my feelings about this “disconnection” is hard – it’s all sort of blah. Meh.

I don’t feel that upset about it, or worried. I just feel sort of drowsy spiritually, drifting along somewhat aimlessly with no real plan or excitement.

The one worry in the back of my mind is what this is doing to my dreams, because it almost feels like losing sight of them temporarily. And I don’t know if they are strong enough and real enough to survive my falling asleep at the reins, and for how long.

Do they just wither and die like a garden without water? I’ve been wondering about this.

I suspect that one of the reasons I feel like this at the moment is that my emotional trip-switch got thrown a bit with the surprise results of the American elections. I didn’t support either candidate strongly, but the result upset me, mainly because I had hoped that the transition into a less patriarchal, more inclusive new world would be easier and less painful than it looks to be now.

(Having one’s hopes dashed always hurts, no matter how idealistic (unrealistic) they are).

Also, the world has been filled with a lot of fear and hatred (which is basically fear on steroids) lately. So maybe, it is normal for our trip-switches to trip out and disconnect us from the sensory overload going on – as a self-protective measure.

Therefore I’m going to try not to be too hard on myself and to accept my frailty in the face of those ‘interesting times’ the ancient Chinese curse warned us all about.

Be that as it may, I also know that we still need to do the work to lessen the fear and feelings of being let down within ourselves, because we have a job to do here all the same.

Even if we do get time off, there is still work to do, maybe more now than ever.

It’s like the Hotel California in that song: we can check out but we can’t leave. So once we’ve finished our sulky check-out session we need to get back on the horse that kicked us and go see where it wants to take us.

If you don’t feel up to it yet, that is okay. Neither do I.

But soon, I suspect.

Do you want to come along?


Mwah. Lots of love, to you.



2016: The Year of Old Cows

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There is an old saying in Afrikaans: “Moenie ou koeie uit die sloot uitgrawe nie”, which (literally  translated) says “Don’t dig up old cows from the ditch”. It means letting the past be the past.

For many people, including me, 2016 was a pretty tough year with a lot of challenges. One of the reasons for this is these Old Cows that kept popping up, seeming out of nowhere.


Issues and things from our past, stuff that we thought had been dealt with, old patterns and behaviors, all long buried and forgotten, kept showing up, over and over again.

In Numerology 2016 adds up to a 9-year (which means that the numbers of the year, added together, give a sum of 9). There are 9 years in a cycle, which makes 2016 the culmination of a cycle that started way back in 2008.

A 9-year is a Year of Completion and maybe this is why all of this old, buried stuff kept showing up. You just need to look at politics to see how true this is, for everyone. No one seems to be immune. The American election was all about old stuff popping up, and just continuing popping up with great impact: tapes, emails, allegations of sexual assault even. South African politics are currently all about old, unhealthy allegiances from the past affecting our state institutions and the need for our country to figure out how to deal with it.

These Old Cows are not simply showing up to irritate and challenge us but to allow us to re-engage, review and release them because they actually no longer serve us.

When the same Old Cow shows up yet again, it is because there are still undealt with issues. Sometimes it is like peeling an onion, layer by layer.

It’s a very frustrating process, especially if you feel you’ve dealt with it all ad infinitum and yet here it bloody well is, yet again. Sigh.

I think as we head into the last part of this year, we all feel a bit trampled by the pock-ridden herds of zombie cows that wouldn’t die and that haunted our steps throughout this tough year.

But have hope.

2017 is the start of a new cycle, a 1-year in numerology. We are being asked to get rid of these Old cows, in order to be lighter on our feet, more ready to greet and take action for the new adventures that beckons. A Year of New Beginnings awaits, and we simply cannot be dragging the weight of Old Cows that no longer serve our highest good along for the ride.

Now, new beginnings are also scary, because even though you are often exasperated by those Old Cows, at least they are familiar. There is a weird, uncomfortable comfort in that, you know.

So as we get close to heading into our Year of New beginnings, do whatever you can to put those Old Cows to rest once and for all. You might need to let go of some stuff – sometimes emotional baggage or attachments, jobs, relationships or patterns of thought or beliefs that no longer serve you.

Get rid of them, release them, because pretty soon, we need to head off into the unknown with glad and grateful hearts and we can’t be dragging along these heavy Old Cows on leashes. We’ll need all our courage and hope and focus on following the pathways that lead towards our highest dreams.

I’ll meet you there, hopefully finally cowless, and ready for the adventure lying before us…







Zunia Boucher-Meyers’s letter to her 18-year old self: “You are beautiful! You really are.”

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My wonderfully talented and artistic friend Zunia Boucher-Myers recently wrote a wonderful letter to her 18-year old self, after a friend that she studied photography with posted some photos on Facebook of her, when she was 18. She writes of this photograph:


If I tell you that I had a physical reaction to them, I am not kidding. Here was a familiar face staring back at me, and I realized how wrong I have been for all these years. Not only was the girl in the pictures thin (!) she was delicately beautiful.

Behind the images is a story of a girl that was sexually abused as a little girl, physically abused by a lesbian girlfriend*, and an insecure and vulnerable individual who hid her pain behind her sense of humor.

Looking at myself at 18 has made me walk through memory lane, looking at my past and reliving some of the most momentous experiences of my life up to now.

And what this has made me realize is that I have made it.

Perhaps not in the exact way that I thought I would, but damn near enough.

I wanted to be a poet, an artist and a baker.

I have done all of these things to a more or lesser degree. I have had my poetry published, as too articles in magazines, exhibited and sold my art as well as my photography and I co own a restaurant where I bake almost daily.

My concept of fame may be completely different to that which I had initially aspired to all those years ago but that which I have achieved is valid and real and meaningful to who I am now;

I have addressed groups of women, some as large as 400 at a time, I have coordinated the most powerfully transforming events and have been invited to speak publically at various charities and events.

Having been so desperate to be loved I had perhaps been too keen to step into relationships that may have not been ideal, however these made me learn so much about me.

So to my 18 year old self I would like to say:

  1. You are beautiful. You really are. Not conventionally in the chocolate box kind of way, but more in a porcelain doll or Greek Nymph kind of way.  And you are thin. Enjoy it.
  2. You do not need to change who you are in order to be loved. The right person WILL come along (this I promise) and will love you unconditionally just the way you are. They will also think you are drop dead gorgeous and seriously sexy. But I digress.
  3. Stop being afraid of what other people think of you. It is none of your business and spending time in pain or anxiety over this will just rob you of precious happy time and energy.
  4. Look after your physical as well as mental wellbeing. Dieting for 30 years is really a drag and living in a constant state of denial is enough to make anyone depressed. Especially you.
  5. Find things that make you happy, such as Tai Chi, meditation, dance, swimming and going to the gym. Music inspires you, so use it to make yourself move. You will love yourself and the world for it. Also you will meet wonderful people along the way.
  6. Be honest. (point 3 applies here as well) the more honest you are, the taller you will walk and the more authentic you will live.
  7. You will have more than one love of your life. Be open to stepping out of your comfort zone and truly living in the moment.
  8. As big as your dreams are right now, you will accomplish more. Your tenacity, courage and fearlessness in the face of adversity will create situations that will enhance your life, many times.
  9. Love your Mom and Dad. Yes, and forgive them for being human. They are your greatest allies even tho you may not believe that right now.
  10. You are highly creative and talented, but you need at least 8 hours sleep to be of any use to anybody!
  11. Stop feeling shame for being a sexual being. Sex can be so much more than you imagine. Let the past go and revel in the fact that you are desired, sexy and love sex. But be safe at the same time. Never have sex out of guilt and never use sex as a weapon.
  12. Not everything people do is about you or because of you. The fact that you are highly sensitive and highly emotional can at times cause you to behave badly and obsess to the point of madness.  The sooner you learn to take nothing personally, the happier you will be. This will be a very hard lesson to master. But you will. I hope.
  13. Live your life in the now. Be present. Life is really very, very good. You are so blessed, so lucky, so loved that when you look back you will be amazed at just how good it all was. And is.
  14. And finally, I am sorry. That I did not believe in you, trust in you or treat you as well as I should have. When I look back to this moment from the future I will know that this was a catalyst for change. That starting right now I will be enough; pretty enough, wise enough, educated enough, thin enough, healthy enough, strong enough.  Just enough. And I thank you. From the deepest part of me, for overcoming, for rising above and for not giving up. Ever.

You rock Sista, and I love you.

Me at 47.


Reblogged with kind permission from JUST NOT LIKE THE OTHERS. (I know – aren’t I lucky to have such awesome people in my life? – Melanie)


Why Superman needs a nice, safe, dark, closet…

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There should be a bold, red warning right there on the packet:

Caution! Embarking on a journey to follow your dreams and live your greatest life possible may cause extreme swings of emotion and moments of utter fear.

It’s true. Sometimes following your own yellow brick road you will have moments when you feel like Superman, able to leap tall buildings in a single bound. These will be those moments when everything in life and the universe conspires for you and you feel like the powerful, awesome being that you truly are. Aren’t those the greatest? I mean, aren’t they just?

The ones I struggle with, though, are on the other side of the spectrum. On this darker side of the pendulum, I go from feeling like Superman, to finding myself suddenly quivering in the darkness of my metaphorical closet. I’m sitting there in the dark, hugging my knees and listening fearfully for any indication that the axe murderer, my worst fears, are about to, horrifyingly, find me.

As I sit there straining to hear the heavy footsteps in the corridor outside, I fearfully wait for the moment when the cupboard door will creak open, and I will be found.

If it is in fact the axe murderer that finds me, it might almost be a blessing, because then at least the worst will have happened and I can get busy dealing.

But often, I am even more scared that the cupboard door will open and it will be some kind soul, who heard a funny noise in the cupboard and has come to investigate. Their perplexed face will appear in the crack of light, asking me if I’m okay, and worst of all, asking me what I am doing in the closet…

Then I’d have to explain to them how afraid and scared I am sometimes, how the uncertainty of stepping into the unknown just gets the better of me at times.

In this world with its emphasis on positive thinking, manifesting abundance and putting on the cloak (the red cape?) of success every day before you leave your house; there is nothing worse than having to admit that sometimes you, in fact, can be found in your closet of fear.

Now, I know that the “axe murderer” is mostly my ego and that in truth I am always protected and cared for. It is precisely for this reason that it is so much harder for me to accept those shivering, scared closet-moments. They shouldn’t happen.

Doesn’t their mere existence prove that I actually do not believe enough? Or that I am not evolved enough? Or worst of all, maybe they mean that I’m not cut out for all of this “saving the world stuff” when I can’t even save myself from the closet and the “axe-murderer” outside?

Maybe not.

Maybe we should accept that there will be closet-moments along the way and shine a torch-light of compassion and kindness into that closet. Maybe we should even (and this is an absolutely crazy idea) tell each other about them, because the judgments that we make about them are part of the problem, I think.

Maybe the closet moments are all part of being human, and being real, and being vulnerable.

I’m not advocating spending our life in the closet, but maybe we also shouldn’t expect to live our lives feeling like Superman every moment.

If we accept that both of those extremities —and all the other moments in between— have merit and are perfectly valid responses to the amazing paths that we’re on in our lives, it becomes easier, I think. We don’t need to be perfect. We just need to be… whatever that moment calls for.

I think the truth is that maybe even Superman really needs a nice safe, dark, closet, where he can hide and reflect and shake with fear without feeling too bad about it.

Maybe those moments in the closet are what ultimately give him the power to put on the cape and fight evil and rescue distressed damsels and be a force for good in the world.

I’ll be in my closet, pondering all this, if you need me…




Liz Gilbert: I would have told myself to focus on me, instead of boys, but I wouldn’t have listened.

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Well-known author Elizabeth Gilbert of Eat.Pray.Love-fame said during a Supersoul-Sunday interview with Oprah that there is no advice she could give her younger self that she would have listened to.

“I was surrounded by all the grace and wisdom in the world, and I was just like: I got this,” she said.

If she, however, could give some advice that she would have followed, it would be to avoid romantic entanglements in her youth and to focus on herself, using the many hours to instead feed her mind.

Watch the full interview here:

I don’t know. On the one hand, I’ve always had this feeling that I know best for my life. This doesn’t mean that I don’t listen to other people’s advice, just that the locus of control and surety about the right path has always resided within me, for me.

It is one of the things in my life that is precious to me still.

But if I was convinced that it was really me, a future me, sharing the wisdom…

I think I might just have listened.

What do you think? Would you have listened to your own advice? And what would that advice be?

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