Here are a few snippets I've extracted from a lengthy interview done with Carson by the Academy of Achievement, in which he was inducted a number of years ago:
Growing up poor and "at risk": "Once I recognized that I had the ability to pretty much map out my own future based on the choices that I made and the degree of energy that I put into it, life was wonderful at that point. I used to hate my life up until that point because I hated being poor."
Personal responsibility: "My mother was a person who would never accept an excuse from my brother or myself. It didn't matter what the situation was. If you came with an excuse, she would also say, 'Do you have a brain?' After a while it became clear to us that no excuse was acceptable, so we became pretty creative."
Family: "The more solid the family foundation, the more likely you are to be able to resist peer pressure. Human beings are social creatures. We all want to belong, we all have that desire. If the family doesn't provide that, the peers will, or the gang will."
Priorities: "The most important thing to me is taking your God-given talents and developing them to the utmost, so that you can be useful to your fellow man."
God and America: "(God) has become an essential part of my life and my being. ... When we created this nation, we believed in God. ... .I believe that's one of the reasons ... we got to be so great, so quickly."
In his new book, Carson discusses his approach to dealing with risk, a core issue for exercising personal responsibility. He has a simple but effective approach that amounts to examining the best and worst outcomes that can result from a given course of action.
Carson's story and message lays bare what makes Americans and America great and makes clear what we need to focus on to stay this way. It's worth checking out.
Happy New Year.