Could you run for president of the United States someday? None of us would close the door entirely, perhaps--especially if you are on the younger side. If you're skilled and motivated, you might find the time to develop enough clout, maybe attain a law degree, and amass a wealthy donor base. But if your Oprah Winfrey, you might have all the right connections and the financial backing to make it work.
Here's the whole quote she gave to InStyle Magazine: "I've always felt very secure and confident with myself in knowing what I could do and what I could not. And so it's not something that interests me. I don't have the DNA for it."
What did she really mean?
If you parse the language a little, you know she is talking about a balance between confidence (knowing what you're good at) and pride (not knowing what you're good at). For years, I thought humility was more of an attitude or even an act. You "pretend" to be humble, because deep down you are confident and assured. But a better definition has to do with knowing what you don't want to do, or what you don't have the skills to do.
We call this our DNA, although we're not being scientific. We mean it is in our blood, in our nature. It's our core. You might say you don't have the DNA to become a lawyer or run a large company. What Winfrey really means is there are skills or even interests required to be president of the United States, perhaps some related to schmoozing or handling tough political conflicts (which you would admit might be a stretch).
I don't think she's saying it couldn't work out. She has a loyal fan base, and she's widely known. But it's interesting how she phrased it. She made the topic less about what other people want her to do, or what she is even capable of doing. She talked about her DNA, her bent as a person. She means the job exposes one to scrutiny in a way that few of us would enjoy, a daily lambaste from one side or the other. It's like setting yourself up on a pedestal and saying you want someone to hate you and despise you.
I understand that, because I have a similar bent.
I don't like being scrutinized, either--although as a journalist there is always someone who will hate an article or a gadget review.
The role of president is quite different. It's not always scrutiny about what you said or did, it is often scrutiny about your hair or the way you look. It is scrutiny about you as a person, and my guess is that Winfrey would rather stick with the success she has enjoyed in business and as an actor and television personality.
In the end, that's where humility is important. It's not just about skill level, the degrees you have (or don't have), or your experience. It's about knowing who you are and what you really enjoy about life. For Oprah, that's not political office.