Through an Adlerian Lens: Oprah Winfrey
Oprah Winfrey is a world-renowned businesswoman and entertainer. She first entered the entertainment industry when she was 19 years old by co-anchoring at her local news station. She kept working upwards by hosting radio shows, hosting her own cable television shows, acting in movies, publishing books and magazines, and launching the Oprah Winfrey Network and Harpo Productions (American Academy of Achievement, 2011). Winfrey is also well known for her philanthropy. She donates a lot of money and time to charitable causes and has even had a school built for girls in Africa. She was not born into this lifestyle. Winfrey made a name for herself through hard work, motivation, and dedication. Oprah…show more content…
Alfred Adler believed that “people with a socially useful style of life represent the highest form of humanity in the evolutionary process and are likely to populate the world of the future” (Feist & Feist, 2009, p. 79).
Birth Order Adler’s theory of birth order can also be used to explain Winfrey’s personality development. Winfrey was the first born of her parents, who were unmarried teenagers. Her father was not aware that he had a daughter for some time after she was born. Although she had siblings, she was more or less raised as an only child. She was not raised with her first sister because her mother could not handle taking care of both, and she was unaware that she had a second sister who was put up for adoption while she was living with her father. She also had a younger brother who she was not around often because she ran away at the age of 13 and was then sent to live with her father once again. For these reasons, I think that Oprah Winfrey would best fit the only child description instead of the oldest child. According to Adler, the only child possesses certain personality traits, such as being “socially mature, having exaggerated feelings of superiority, low feelings of cooperation, an inflated sense of self, and a pampered style of life” (Feist & Feist, 2009, p. 86). On the other hand, Winfrey does possess certain personality traits of