Asked what she wished she’d learned earlier in life, Oprah Gail Winfrey once famously answered: “I wish I’d known how to distinguish radiators from drains.”
Yes, the talk-show legend is obscenely rich and probably hasn’t touched either since 1982, but don’t worry – she’s not going around tipping cold tea into her space heater.
It’s just another Oprah metaphor designed to help you “live your best life”.
Radiators, the theory goes, are people who exude warmth, honesty, positivity, enthusiasm. People who smile when they (or you) walk into a room, who inspire and motivate others. Basically, they’re folk who make life better for those around them – at work or at home.
Drains, on the other hand, suck. They suck energy from those around them. They suck time and attention. They’re mostly negative, and in constant need of reassurance.
When the analogy was raised by our People and Culture Team (which is a trendy, digital media way of saying Human Resources), our meeting – out of nowhere – imploded. The office was divided.
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Some ate it up. Another life-changing serve of Winfrey wisdom, they said.
“I like it as a bit of a ‘check yourself’ moment,” said one fan. “It’s about holding yourself to account to vent, to let off steam, but not let it go on and on and suck the energy of those around you.
“It’s been a good metaphor for me – I think it’ll change my attitude to some extent.”