"Know what sparks the light in you. Then use that light to illuminate the world."I'll admit that I haven't always been the world's most ardent Oprah Winfrey fan. Her particular brand of feel-good marketing has always felt a little too sugar-coated and oversimplified for my taste.
Watching her - or any of the other dozens of knockoffs that her template has spawned - can be painful in its sameness. Every show follows the same routine, with the same guests spouting the same easy-to-follow smack-my-forehead-common-sense pap that, if only we choose to see the light, will doubtless revolutionize our lives and those of everyone around us.
The message is punctuated with perfectly timed breaks for canned applause, audience adulation and shameless sponsorship and product placement moments. I feel I need to give my brain a shake after watching any of these mid-day staples, and it makes me wonder if maybe we're missing something more substantive along the way.
My take: Get off the couch, tell Oprah, Dr. Phil, Dr. Oz and their kind to stuff it, turn the TV off, and go out into the real world. Lots more opportunity there to live up to our potential, no?
It's difficult to completely write off the forces of positivity inherent in Ms. Winfrey and her ilk. They're trying to help those who follow them lead better lives. And if we can ignore the millions of couch potatoes who will do nothing but watch, and instead focus on the minority of guidance-seeking souls who will act on that guidance, who am I to dismiss what works for these folks?
With that in mind, Ms. Winfrey's words at the top of this entry seem to have struck a chord in me. In 15 words, she summarizes the key to a purposeful life. Once we look past the formulaic-TV shtick, we'd all do well to let her substantive life lessons sink in.