January 11, 2013

The interview Moment that changed Oprah’s Life (and mine).

She’d done hundreds of interviews. Perhaps 1000s. One word changed Oprah for good.

Rudine’s “How.”

Saying “do this” is too easy. Facile. Offer “how.”

I do a little talk show. Sometimes it gets big, when it’s consistent, but I’m busy running a business and it’s hard to do. Right now we’re looking for an “anal,” organized, fun, workaholic coordinator, you can be anywhere as long as you’re willing to fly about. Email us if qualified or so awesome and non-flakey that you will just create awesomeness. If you can’t find the email, you’re not (an) awesome (fit).

Anyways, as part of my talk show education (I’ve done some 400 interviews over the years with folks including Deepak Chopra, Dr. Weil, Bill McKibben, Gov. Howard Dean, Gov. Hickenlooper, Byron Katie, Robert Thurman, Sakyong Mipham, Sister Helen Prejean, Paul Hawken, Alice Walker, the whole list is here) I put in some time renting DVDs of great talk shows and really anyone—Dino, Sinatra—who knew how to hold a stage.

I’m not an Oprah fan, particularly, but she’s one of the best ever, so I rented her Best Of collection. And there’s a moment in it where she talks about learning the key to life, and good interviews.

She interviewed a young lady suffering from anorexia many times over the years. Finaly, the lady died of her disease. Incredibly sad. The last time Oprah interviewed her, the young lady said “I know I’m supposed to eat more, but how?!” In a pleading, desperate, desperately sad voice.

And Oprah said of that moment: I learn the key it’s to tell folks stuff. But to show them how. We all know the right thing to do: say, make money while doing good in the world at the same time. But the question is, always, how?!

And so, to this day, whenever I see New Agey quotes saying “Love more,” or whatever, I shake my head. We all know love is good stuff. But how?

How is the key. How is the journey. How is the path we must walk.

Offer how.

So next time you see a soundbited quote out of context by the Dalai Lama (etc), remember that Buddhists, and all genuine spiritual traditions (and good parents), are about the path—how to get from here to there—not just about yelling at us to “Be Blissful!” “Love is the Way!” “Peace is the Answer!” and other how-less facile useless feelgoodisms.

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