Saturday, January 3, 2009

Take the Risk

I’ve been fascinated by the number of people who seem to be stuck in life. What they did yesterday, they do today. When asked are they happy with the results, their answer is quite predictable. No. A further question is much more revealing and their answer way too disappointing. “What will you do to change the outcome of your life?” To this question they only stare in silence. They came to the conclusion that their circumstances should define how they dream.

The idea of taking a risk or its equivalent, living by faith, never occurred to them. For them the familiar is security and their destiny. They exchanged the ability to pursue a dream into unfruitful wishing. Taking concrete steps of faith is as foreign to them as seeing themselves walking on the moon.

I’ve been looking at some modern day heroes who decided to change how they perceive themselves and thus how they interact with their world. I was introduced to Dr. Ben Carson, through my business, Mannatech.

He had a health crisis several years ago and chose an integrative approach to solve his medical issue. As I have looked more into his life I have become even more enthralled with his simple but profound philosophy that he has managed to transfer to countless others so that they too can achieve whatever is in their heart and their abilities to accomplish.

Ben Carson, M.D., is director of pediatric neurosurgery at the Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions, a position he has held since 1984 when, at the age of 33, he became the youngest physician ever at Johns Hopkins to head a major division.

He is also professor of neurosurgery, plastic surgery, oncology, and pediatrics. He sees his patients in the Johns Hopkins Children's Center, the pediatric hospital at Johns Hopkins.

His life is one of triumph over adversity. His message is: “You can do this too. You simply need to learn to “Take the Risk”.

Benjamin Solomon Carson was born in 1951 in Detroit, Michigan. When he was 8, his father left the family and his parents were divorced. Carson, his older brother Curtis, and his mother Sonya moved to Boston to live with relatives for a year, before returning to Detroit's inner city, where Carson would spend most of his boyhood. Thrust into a world of poverty after her divorce, Sonya Carson, with only a third-grade education, worked as a domestic to provide for her boys. She turned for comfort and strength to the teachings of the Seventh Day Adventist church. It was there, while listening to a sermon, that Carson decided to pursue medicine, initially as a missionary, and discovered the safe haven and strength God and scriptures afforded.

Drawing upon her faith in God, and the power of positive thinking and the intellect to solve problems, Sonya Carson set about laying the academic and moral groundwork that would transform Carson's life and help make his dreams for success a reality. When the family returned to Detroit in 1960, Carson found himself at the bottom of his class in the predominately white Higgens Elementary school. Years later the then famous surgeon Ben Carson, M.D., would describe himself as the fifth-grade "class dummy," a child who, taunted by classmates and ignored by teachers, was soon convinced of his own stupidity and that being black meant the world was stacked against him. Two events his fifth grade year changed his perception of the world and his ability.

A pair of prescription glasses enabled Carson for the first time to see the writing on the chalkboard and have a clear view of his lessons. Determined that he see and develop his intellectual potential, as well, his mother turned off the TV at home and required each of her sons to read at least two books a week and write a report on each for her to read. Years later, Carson would learn that his mother, with only a third-grade education, had been unable to read the reports. Her unrelenting insistence, and Carson's work in this regard, paid off with big rewards. By reading books, Carson began to acquire the knowledge that would send him to the head of his class, earn the respect of his classmates and teacher, and convince him of his self-worth and potential.

As he began to apply himself in school, and experience the heady triumph of knowledge, Carson was forced to control a temper that threatened his accomplishments and his future. In his books, and to rapt audiences, he tells the tale of his attempt to stab a classmate who tried to change a radio station in a dispute. His knife blade hit the boy's belt buckle, instead of his flesh. Shocked by the ease with which he'd justified and unleashed such anger - nearly taking another's life, and effectively ending his own - Carson locked himself for hours in the bathroom at home, reading the Bible, seeking the wisdom and self-restraint he would need to build a future. When he finally left the bathroom, he left behind his willingness ever to let another person control him, by responding in anger, realizing how self-destructive an emotion it was. Freed from the bondage of anger, empowered by the knowledge that education could open doors, and with a record of academic achievement at Southwestern High School, Carson won a scholarship to Yale.

In his book, Take the Risk, Carson unpacks four simple questions that can help anyone move forward in life.

His Best/Worst Analysis for any situation includes four questions:

What's the best thing that can happen if I do this?
What's the worst thing that can happen if I do this?
What's the best thing that can happen if I don't do it?
What's the worst thing that can happen if I don't do it?

These questions make living a life of abundance, very practical. They take the mystery out of the decisions we are often unwilling to make. The rewards are huge. So, why not take the risk.

1 comment:

Jamie A. Grant said...

Yes, I think that I would like to read this book sometime...