'Be What You Were Meant to Be': Why Oprah's Right

Janelle Harris at Essence agrees with Oprah that you can't always be what you want to be. "But you do have a greater purpose," which often takes effort to determine. 

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Oprah Winfrey attends the premiere of Lee Daniels' The Butler' in Los Angeles. (Mike Windle/Getty Images for TWC)

Blogging at Essence, Janelle Harris writes that she believes as Oprah Winfrey does, that "you can only be what you were meant to be." You just have to work hard to determine what that is.

Not everything we're doing right now is what we'd prefer to be doing. I'd venture most of us—including me with three exclamation points—are still working up to our big dreams. Meditate on what you should be doing, not just what you think would be great or fun or exciting. Don't force yourself into a situation that wasn't supposed to be yours in the first place or, on the flip side, give up on something because you've internalized somebody else's disbelief and adopted it as your own. That's why it's important to know for yourself why you're here, even if the manifestation of it is still on the horizon.

You can't do anything you put your mind to, like Oprah said. Whoever's behind that cliché is responsible for wasting a lot of folks' time and energy, shame on them. But you do have a greater purpose, something only you have the power to do here on earth. That's an amazing assignment, to know that this one thing can only be done through you. It may not even be just one thing. Folks discover new talents along the way all the time. But just know, even in the midst of your meanwhile, that your path has already been carved out, paved and set aside. You just need to find it and walk it out.

Read Janelle Harris' entire piece at Essence.

The Root aims to foster and advance conversations about issues relevant to the black Diaspora by presenting a variety of opinions from all perspectives, whether or not those opinions are shared by our editorial staff.

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Writer and editor Janelle Harris resides in Washington, D.C., frequents Twitter and lives on Facebook.

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