Oprah Winfrey: After interviewing 37,000 people I learned everyone shares this 1 thing

Beyonce and Oprah Winfrey speak onstage at the HBO Documentary Film "Beyonce: Life Is But A Dream" New York Premiere at the Ziegfeld Theater on February 12, 2013 in New York City.
Photo by Larry Busacca/Getty Images for Parkwood Entertainment

From 1986 to 2011, Oprah Winfrey says she interviewed more than 37,000 people on her talk show "The Oprah Winfrey Show."

She's talked to everyone from Michael Jackson (one of the most-watched interviews in TV history) and President Obama to inmates to average Joes struggling with everyday problems.

Winfrey has pretty much seen it all.

Michael Jackson talks with Oprah Winfrey in this televised interview recorded October 2nd, 1993.
Sam Emerson | Reuters

But there is one commonality she's seen among all her thousands of guests, no matter their place in life or their issues: "Everyone you meet just wants to be seen and heard," Winfrey said on Feb. 8 in Brooklyn, New York, during Oprah's 2020 Vision: Your Life In Focus.

Winfrey said she started to see a thread among her subjects — including even presidents Barack Obama and George Bush and singer Beyonce.

"After every interview, you know what they would say? 'Was that okay? How was that? How did I do?' In one form or another, somebody always said that [to me]," Winfrey said.

"So I started to say, 'Wow, that's so interesting. Beyonce is asking me if she was okay after she just taught me how to twerk.'"

Winfrey soon realized that every issue or problem on which she did a show was at its root due to someone not being noticed.

"I can tell you, in your daily encounters, in your kitchen, in your conference rooms, in your work, in all of your relationships...that is what every person you encounter is looking to know. Did you see me? Do you hear me? And every argument is about that."

Since realizing that, Winfrey said she has made a conscious effort to validate the people she interacts with on a daily basis. To do so, she said she has learned to be more present.

"I practice this thing called mindfulness every day, which means really just staying present in the moment," Winfrey said.

Winfrey, 66, said in 2018 Super Soul podcast that learning how to meditate was "[o]ne of the most life-enhancing things I ever did."

Winfrey, along with billionaire Ray Dalio and singer Lady Gaga all swear by a technique called Transcendental Meditation (TM). TM is a proprietary practice taught by certified teachers that requires sitting for 20 minutes twice a day and repeating a mantra. (Dalio attributes much of his achievements to TM, calling it "the single most important reason for whatever success I've had," in a 2018 Facebook post.)

Being present is so important to Winfrey that in 2011, her last year on "The Oprah Winfrey Show," she brought in a TM teacher for her production team to learn the technique.

Winfrey told "The Dr. Oz Show" that her staff would take two breaks during the day to meditate for 20 minutes and she told them the practice was "more important than the work you are doing."

"[It] brings a kind of energy and an intensity of energy, an intention that we have never had before," Winfrey said.

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