It’s been a few days now that Oprah Winfrey‘s misfortune on the Zürich high-end shopping Bahnhofstrasse has caused lots of emotional air.
Here is the story in a nutshell: Oprah is denied to see a specific bag because “it is too expensive” in the salesperson’s opinion. Oprah links this peculiar comment to her being black, thus concluding: it is “racism”.
From that thought, she becomes angry and ponders 2 options:
- Buy the whole store: to show the salesperson who she is and what power she has; that’s the strong I moment: I am Oprah Winfrey; I am a billionaire; I am a celebrity; Who do you think you are?
- Not buying anything so that the salesperson wouldn’t get a commission: that’s the anger moment of revenge and punishment.
I was particularly astonished by Oprah’s reaction because I often see tweets quoting her clarity and wisdom which I cannot trace any hint of in this story.
There are many plausible motivations for this sales-person to make this comment (not saying that any of them is right or wrong). For example, it could be because of store management directives not to sell this specific item so early in the season or not to sell high-priced items to tourists; it could be that she had just a bad day and was not performing well and that she wasn’t very smart.
It didn’t have to be racism and it probably was not but it could have been. What really matters, is that Oprah decided it was racism and on that single moment, the idea became reality in her mind. That’s the tipping point which triggered all the rest.
The tipping point is the moment we surrender to anger or we decide to step back and not fall.
If we want to set free from the dictates of our unconscious mind, we need to watch for these tipping points and become really familiar with them so that we can spot them amidst all the turmoil that goes in our head when they get triggered.
If Oprah hadn’t tipped, she could have stayed detached and choose another experience: for example generating a constructive dialogue and possibly seeing her racist offender with a different view. She simply missed this opportunity.
It takes practice and genuine intention to see squarely into our inner chatters. I wish that we all become so good at spotting the tipping point before tipping that we can stay detached and decide for a free, happy and connected experience.