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Dr. Ben Carson: Great Risks Bring Greater Success

CBN.com Dr. Carson is a neurosurgeon renown for his intricate and delicate surgeries to separate the brains of conjoined twins. In his new book, he takes a look at risk. Whenever he faces a hard or risky situation in life, personally or professionally, he asks himself four key questions, and based on those answers, he makes a reasoned decision. Greater risks bring greater success. With risk there is the chance of failure.  

In Dr. Carson's case, some of the conjoined twins he operated on didn't make it. Dr. Carson participated on the team to separate Ladan and Laleh Bijani, the rare case of the 29-year-old Iranian lawyers who didn't survive.  They decided that no matter what, they wanted to go through with the surgery to live separate lives. But those who do make it go on to a better life. Risk-takers dream big, aim high, and move with confidence and reap rewards.

Risk is nothing new. All important discoveries in this world came from people who took risks. There are even plenty of Biblical examples. Our society is obsessed with risks. We are always taking risks no matter what we do.  Parenting is a great risk. Driving a car is risky. A truth about risks is that everything is risky.

A recent study has shown that 35% of stories in U.S. newspapers, and about 47% of front page articles deal with various risks of contemporary life. There are people in this world who are risk adverse and the other group takes the wrong risks. Whether to actively take risks or even stand back and do nothing, there is an element of risk involved in both options. 

The key is figuring out which risks to take. Some people may seem like they "have it easy" or are "more successful" than others, but usually success in risk taking is not by accident. People make their own luck by taking the right advantages and making the right choices. This process involves asking the right questions.

THE BEST/WORST ASSESSMENT            

One of the ways to identify and choose acceptable risks is to ask yourself four questions, or do what Dr. Carson calls a Best/Worst Analysis (B/WA):

* What is the best thing that can happen if I do this?

* What is the worst thing that can happen if I do this?                        

* What is the best thing that can happen if I don't do it?

* What is the worst thing that can happen if I don't do it?

By the time you've thought through those four questions, usually you've analyzed the risks thoroughly enough to make a reasoned decision. The first reactions to these four questions help focus and direct your thinking. If you find you need additional knowledge and wisdom, you need to ask yourself the additional questions of: Who? What? Where? When? Why? How? 

If you do meet with failure in a recurring situation, the outcome may change if the answers to the questions start to change. Usually, the worst mistakes happen when decisions are made when a risk analysis isn't done –when the outcome isn't fully thought through. 

PERSONAL FAITH

Dr.Carson praises God for his accomplishments in life. God, he says, can take people from any circumstances and "make them into anything." He cites his life as living proof of one's ability to overcome obstacles, with determination and the help of and faith in God. His personal relationship with God developed through his association with the Seventh Day Adventist Church, which his mother joined shortly after her divorce, when Dr. Carson was eight-years-old. Today, he and his family are active members of the church.   

Dr. Carson prays and reads the Bible every day, praying as well before every surgery. God, he says, seeks to empower human beings. To know God's will, and benefit from His guidance, one must enter into a relationship with Him. In interviews with the media, in his books, and before audiences, he thanks and praises God for his abilities to help children and their families. His hand-eye coordination, essential for a brain surgeon, is a gift from God, he says, but one he was fortunate to discover and develop. He calls upon all individuals to search for their callings in life, and to seek answers and strength in God.

MORE ON DR. CARSON

Benjamin S. Carson, Sr., M.D., had a childhood dream of becoming a physician. Growing up in a single parent home with dire poverty, poor grades, a horrible temper, and low self-esteem appeared to preclude the realization of that dream until his mother, with only a third-grade education, challenged her sons to strive for excellence.

Young Ben persevered and today is a full professor of neurosurgery, oncology, plastic surgery, and pediatrics at the Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions, where he has directed pediatric neurosurgery for nearly a quarter of a century. 

Some career highlights include the first separation of craniopagus (Siamese) twins joined at the back of the head in 1987, the first completely successful separation of type-2 vertical craniopagus twins in 1997 in South Africa, and the first successful placement of an intrauterine shunt for a hydrocephalic twin. Although he has been involved in many newsworthy operations, he feels that every case is noteworthy – deserving of maximum attention. He is interested in all aspects of pediatric neurosurgery and has a special interest in trigeminal neuralgia (severe facial pain) in adults.

Dr. Carson holds more than 40 honorary doctorate degrees. He is a member of the Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Medical Society, the Horatio Alger Society of Distinguished Americans, and many other prestigious organizations.  He sits on the board of directors of numerous organizations, including Kellogg Company, Costco Wholesale Corporation, the Academy of Achievement, and is an Emeritus Fellow of the Yale Corporation, the governing body of Yale University. 

He was appointed in 2004 by President George W. Bush to serve on the President’s Council on Bioethics. He is a highly regarded motivational speaker who has addressed various audiences from school systems and civic groups to corporations and the President’s National Prayer Breakfast.

In 2001, Dr. Carson was named by CNN and TIME Magazine as one of the nation’s 20 foremost physicians and scientists. That same year, he was selected by the Library of Congress as one of 89 “Living Legends” on the occasion of its 200th anniversary. 

He is president and co-founder of the Carson Scholars Fund, which recognizes young people of all backgrounds for exceptional academic and humanitarian accomplishments. The Fund is currently operating in 16 states and the District of Columbia. He also co-founded Angels of the OR, which provides grants to assist families with non-covered medical care expenses involving both adult and pediatric neurosurgery. Both programs are in national expansion mode.  

Dr. Carson has been married for over 30 years to his wife, Candy, and is the father of three sons. And yes, his mother, Sonya Carson, who made all this possible, is alive and well.

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