On the last page of every issue of O magazine, Oprah has a column entitled ‘What I Know for Sure.’ In those few words she summarizes the life lesson that supports the theme of that issue.
Some recent topics included: 1. “The only thing you shouldn’t miss is what matters to you.” 2. “What daring, brave, unconventional, adventurous, aspiring, and inspiring dream can you behold?” 3. “Am I having a good time? Am I doing what I really want? What does fun look like?” 4. “Our internal space has to be given the same level of respect and diligent attention as the external.” 5. Freedom is “to wake up at dawn and decide what to do with the day.”
As with all things Oprah this is big. Big concepts, big aspirations, big challenges. Ever the marketer She’s also captured them in a book by the same name.
Because I’m not the big thinker, big success Oprah is, my own list is more simple, more observational, more tongue-in-cheek. Here, in no particular order are some things I know for sure:
1.) No matter how warm, beautiful, promising March first appears, she is at heart a scheming harridan who will wallop us (at least once) into accepting her supremacy as a bi-polar weather goddess.
2.) Having just binge-watched season three of ‘House of Cards,’ it becomes apparent that It’s not easy (or perhaps possible) to sustain the calibre and edge-of-your-seat intrigue of the early writing. It’s better than a lot of what passes for entertainment out there but overall it wasn’t as good, in my opinion as the previous two seasons. I’d blame myself for being distracted while watching, but all thirteen episodes, no, not my fault.
3.) If you can’t attend your church Joel Osteen’s TV ministry may provide a reasonable alternative. His message is faith based but also sounds like something a success coach would advise a client. A recent sermon to a full church that seats 16,000 people warned that what we say has the power to affect our lives, whether the words are positive and loving, or fearful and destructive. He says that having worries and doubts or negative thoughts is natural. It’s when we give voice to those thoughts that they really begin to hurt us.
4.) I’m reminded that I prefer people with humility. It’s wonderful to be successful—financially, academically, or vocationally— as a cook, a mother, a carpenter, a whatever. Better yet if the accomplishment is accompanied by modesty. I’m turned off by arrogance and self-promotion. True talent will be self-evident. It doesn’t require a tickertape parade to get our attention. Everyone had a first day, first job, first mistakes. To forget that and harshly judge others further back on the continuum that connects us all is unfair and possibly cruel. We owe it to those behind us to mentor not minimize.
That, my lovelies, is what I know for sure, today, from where I sit.
Hazel Anaka’s first novel is Lucky Dog. Visit her website for more information or follow her on Twitter @anakawrites..