10 Key Lessons I Learned from ‘Becoming’ by Michelle Obama

Her journey from the South Side of Chicago to the White House.

Michelle Obama takes us through time into her fascinating world in her memoir Becoming. Every stage of her journey had a lesson or two to offer and in the end I recorded 40 lessons in total. Below I have highlighted my ten key lessons learned (including some quotes extracted from the book) from a glimpse of her life as Miss Robinson and later, Mrs Obama.

  1. Resilience. Stay determined and focused on your vision. It is the difference between becoming the impactful first black President of the USA and an unfulfilled visionary.
  2. Do not be afraid to use your voice. “Use your voice to lift up the voiceless and don’t disappear on people in need.”
  3. Never stoop to the level of your adversaries. “When they go low, we go high.”
  4. Don’t get buried in the past, so you don’t miss living in the future. “You may live in the world as it is, but you can still work to create the world as it should be.”
  5. Strive to maintain healthy relationships and never forget those who stand with you through the good, bad and ugly seasons of life.
  6. Change is possible and inevitable. “Progress and change happen slowly… We plant seeds of change, the fruit of which we might never see. We have to be patient.”
  7. Prepare for the future you want and have the audacity to seize opportunities as they appear.
  8. Enjoy life. Life is short.
  9. “Be: optimistic without being naïve; undaunted by conflict; and intrigued by how complicated the world is”.

The final lesson is found in this excerpt from the last paragraph of the epilogue.

“And here is what I have to say finally: Let’s invite one another in. Maybe then we can begin to fear less, to make fewer wrong assumptions, to let go of biases and stereotypes that unnecessarily divide us. Maybe we can better embrace the ways we are the same. It’s not about being perfect. It’s not about where you get yourself in the end. There’s power in allowing yourself to be known and heard, in owning your unique story, in using your authentic voice. And there’s grace in being willing to know and hear others. This, for me, is how we become.”

Obama, M. (2018), Becoming, Great Britain: Viking (Penguin Books)

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