If you look at what you have in life, you’ll always have more. If you look at what you don’t have in life, you’ll never have enough.Oprah Winfrey
This famous quote uttered by Oprah is both motivational and quickly encapsulates the role that she played for many Americans. First, let’s give a little background for the kids out there who might not know who Oprah Winfrey is (not a given anymore).
Who is Oprah Winfrey?
Oprah Winfrey, otherwise known as Oprah, began her radio career while still in High School. Before she was 20 years old, she was an anchor (technically a co-anchor) for her local news channel in Nashville, Tennessee after moving from inner-city Milwaukee (previously she lived in rural Mississippi). A self-made mega-celebrity, Oprah overcame growing up in poverty, being molested as a teenager, and frequently changing homes, she makes a strong case for being one of the most famous people in the world.
No matter what we say below this, we want it to be clear that she has overcome quite a bit in her life, accomplished perhaps more than anyone, and maybe even inspired more than any other living person in the world. However, these accomplishments were not without some well-merited criticisms.
Oprah Winfrey Education
Oprah graduated from Tennessee State University in 1987, at the age of 33, well after catapulting into the public stage as a Television personality (her degree was in the communication). We don’t want to be haters, but we do want to note that Oprah does not have a background in psychology (or any relevant field) but also she never claimed to.
While this may be a safe way for advocates of Oprah to avoid criticism, is nevertheless a very common defense used by self-help gurus that make broad-reach claims about human well-being and how to achieve it. We can only hope that people find inspiration in the quote and then use that general inspiration to turn it into something positive for the world.
However, within the academic community, she isn’t universally praised. She gave a major platform to questionable figures whom she often portrayed as legitimate authorities in the field. One such figure, an unlicensed psychiatrist by the name of Dr. Phil McGraw (otherwise known simply as Dr. Phil), used his exposure to launch his television show which mental health experts have criticized routinely.
We don’t want to be haters, especially of such an impressive person like Oprah Winfrey, but it’s important to be skeptical of all quotes, especially those within the self-help genre. One of the most susceptible to quackery and pseudoscience.