In her early twenties, Hoda Kotb was forced to find her way through grief when a terrible tragedy befell her family. But the lesson that she learned from this painful period wound up shaping her outlook on life. In many ways, she managed to turn a negative experience into a positive mindset, one that still informs her career and relationships to this day.
In general, Kotb is an extremely positive person. She has long been open and honest on TODAY about how she approaches every single day of her life. For example, in 2018 she said, “I am a believer of — the things in the forefront of your mind should be the good things. So, in the morning, I try to do a little grateful journal. I’ll write three things I’m grateful for.”
The TV veteran also makes sure to engage with positive people and avoid negativity, as much as possible. Her philosophy is, “I’ve always believed you’re the sum total of the five people you spend the most time with. If you’re with people who are always complaining, or people who are always sarcastic or negative all the time, maybe reassess. Because that becomes you, whether you like it or not.”
Adopting the right mindset to combat hard times
Sometimes negative things happen, though, and in those cases Kotb is adamant that you can work through them with the right mindset. She believes, “That’s a temporary state in your life. It’s not your life. It is this moment in your life.” This outlook perhaps began to take shape when Kotb suffered the tragic loss of her father when she was still in college.
Kotb’s parents married in Cairo in 1960 and within a week had moved to America: to Norman, Oklahoma, to be exact. They were both going to study at the University of Oklahoma, with Kotb’s father Abdel going for a doctorate in petroleum engineering and her mother Sameha studying for a library science master’s degree. Smarts clearly run in her family!