Dr. Phil McGraw, Author, Psychologist And Host Of 'Dr. Phil', On Life After 50
Dr. Phil McGraw needs little introduction. He's the famed TV psychologist who enters our living rooms every afternoon with real advice. He's a certified mental health professional; host of the 21-time Emmy-nominated daytime talk show "Dr. Phil"; winner of five PRISM awards; and author of six New York Times bestsellers.
The Huff/Post50 team caught up with Dr. Phil, who is currently filming an all-new season of "Ask Oprah's All Stars", which answers viewers' questions about health, wealth and mental well-being.
"Ask Oprah's All Stars" airs Fridays at 10 p.m. ET/PT on OWN, featuring Dr. Phil alongside Dr. Oz and Suze Orman. (Also, there's a surprising update for season one's 52-year-old virgin.) Check your local listings for the "Dr. Phil" show, currently in its tenth season.
What's the one thing you know now that you wish you knew when you were growing up?
There's an old saying that "Youth is wasted on the young," and that is definitely true! I would have loved to have had insight into the value of taking care of myself and being true to what is really important. I was very much a workaholic and I missed a lot of the joy of adolescence and even later. When our first son Jay was born, it all changed for me and I was no longer working just to "keep score" but to be able to provide for my family. I worked less, but smarter and spent time with the people who really mattered.
Now that you're over 50, what's the one rule you feel you can break with impunity?
Life is short, and not to be a downer, but I am WAY past half way. So, I have given myself license to pretty much say and do what I really think and feel so long as it is not at another's expense. I figure if I live to be around 85 I only have about 240 months!! I will not spend it worrying about what I am "supposed" to do.
What is the riskiest thing you've done in your life since you've turned 50?
Ha! Well, at 50 I bailed on an incredibly successful career as a litigation consultant, "loaded up the truck and moved to Bev-er-ly! Hills that is!" I uprooted my family from their schools, jobs, friends, everything and launched a television show. They didn't tell me until I got out here that not 1 in 50 succeeded! That was probably a good thing because I still would have done it, but just with a lot more worry.
What ignites your creativity?
The desire to have an impact and make a difference. I always look for a better way to tell our stories and a more powerful way to convey our messages. We deliver down-to-earth, usable, common sense information to people's homes every day. That is a good thing and I want to do it better every time I walk on the stage.
What social or political cause are you most passionate about?
Disadvantaged children. Having grown up poor, I am moved to help children with limited opportunity to have a chance to shine. That is the core of the mission statement for the Dr. Phil Foundation.
What is the best advice anyone ever gave you?
My dad told me that when I am in a difficult situation I should spend 5 percent of my time deciding whether or not it is fair and 95 percent of my time deciding what I am going to do about it. That advice actually saved my life one cold winter night about 40 years ago.
What is your biggest regret?
Not being able to find the technology or professionals to extend my father's life. He worked like a dog all of his life and then died within a year of finally retiring. I would have loved to have been able to help him enjoy some years of quality relaxation and involvement with the family. He missed so much and could have perhaps closed an important gap.