Rubin Hurricane Carter died yesterday, a man who took responsibility for his life.

and he leaves us with a lesson on taking responsibility for our life. What do I mean? 

He once said that innocence is an overrated commodity, pointing out that he was innocent but spent many years in prison. But he went on to say something I shared with my sons, and I hope it stuck.

But first, this all started because I heard an interview with Rubin Hurricane Carter around the time the Denzel movie came out, and I was so impressed with the way in which he chose to live without bitterness, while at the same time being fully accountable for what had happened to him, rather than hiding behind the veil of injustice, which if anyone ever had the right to do, he did.

​Take Responsibility for Your Life

I had tried to get a copy of his autobiography for my youngest son, and couldn't. Despite the release of the film and its success, and completely against the commercial traditions of hollywood, there was no big release of the book, and in fact, amazon only listed a used version at $600 dollars​.

"How can that be?" I asked myself, so I dug further. After many hours I ended up on amazon's canada site, and was able to find a brand new release of the book, with Denzel on the cover. It seems everywhere in the world the book had been released but not in the US. Strange, huh?

In the interview he said something that will always stick with me, as it is the essence of being accountable for what happens to you. When asked if he was innocent, he replied that prison is filled with people who think they are innocent. Innocence is an overrated commodity. 

"The question one has to ask oneself in a situation like this if one is ever to get anything of value out of it, is how did I get there. How did I ever let myself ​get into a position whereby I could end up in a place like that. And more importantly, what steps do I have to take in the future, to ensure I never end up in a place like that again."

Goodbye Mr. Carter, and thank you.​

​Photo By Michael Borkson (Flickr: Rubin "Hurricane" Carter) [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

About the Author

Dan Strongin works with medium to small companies, helping them master the art and science of managing.

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