Posted: July 19, 2021 in: Pain-2-Power, Person of the Week


I am reminded, again, of why I supported Dr. Ben Carson when he ran for President of the United States and held a fundraiser for him at my home. Carson is the definition of Pain-2-Power.

Dr. Carson, who I first met when I was a student at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, is, of course, the legendary neurosurgeon who, back in 1987, separated 7-month old West German Siamese twins joined at the head.  The procedure lasted 22 hours, required Carson lead a surgical team of 70 individuals and involved a technique never before even tried:  reducing the body temperature of the twins to 68 degrees and stopping, which stopped their hearts and all blood flow.  The twins lived.  While understandably facing massive continuing neurological challenges, they returned home.  Then Carson performed the surgery four more times on other twins in the same predicament.

Carson grew up very poor and very angry in Detroit and found himself in the midst of street violence that could have ended his life or the life of others.  It got this bad:

In general I was a good kid. It usually took a lot to make me mad. But once I reached the boiling point, I lost all rational control. Totally without thinking, when my anger was aroused, I grabbed the nearest brick, rock, or stick to bash someone. It was as if I had no conscious will in the matter.

Ultimately, though, Carson wrestled his anger to the ground and used his pain to as fuel to find his power—which, lucky for lots of neurosurgical patients—turned out to be his remarkably gifted hands.

During his campaign for the 2016 Presidential election, Carson was the consummate gentleman.  His quiet, studied, enormously powerful intellect and empathy were mistaken for a lack of energy by too many voters, and we missed the chance to be led by a man who I believe would have achieved the status of Lincoln or Jefferson—a man who once said, “I was asked by an NPR reporter once why don’t I talk about race that often. I said, ‘It’s because I’m a neurosurgeon.’ And she thought that was a strange response … I said, ‘You see, when I take someone to the operating room, I’m actually operating on the thing that makes them who they are. The skin doesn’t make them who they are.’”

Now, Ben Carson, who is, of course, black, is speaking out about the evils of Critical Race Theory, which asserts that white people are inherently racist and that the challenges black people face succeeding is due to their status as victims of whites.  He knows better.  He knows that there are many factors that determine the challenges that any individual encounters in life and that overcoming them depends chiefly on the decision to make the most of one’s life.  He doesn’t want people in pain in America to run from their adversities to embrace a victim mentality and leave it at that.  He wants them to stand firm, stand tall and make the most of themselves by, as I see it, turning their personal pain into their personal power.

Here’s one other Ben Carson quote:

You have the ability to choose which way you want to go. You have to believe great things are going to happen in your life. Do everything you can – prepare, pray and achieve – to make it happen.

If that isn’t true to Pain-2-Power Principles, I don’t know what could be.  And that is why Dr. Ben Carson is this week’s Pain-2-Power Person of the Week.

Dr. Keith Ablow

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