It’s important to allow time for this maturation process. Running for president is a big deal, and even people who excel in other areas of life are rarely ready for the national media spotlight. For years, I’ve been arguing that Carson was ill-served by conservatives who prematurely thrust him into the deep end of the pool. I was also critical of his incendiary rhetoric, which I believe only served to undermine his inspiring story and conservative message, even as it drew plaudits from the base who just wants someone who “tells it like it is!” And I still think I was right. But Carson has also impressed me by escaping this conservative ghetto, and rising to the occasion. Most people are susceptible to the temptation of eschewing the hard work of improving — especially when hurling red meat garners results and ink.

If politicians are known to have egos, then you might expect a world-class surgeon (a profession that lends itself to developing a god complex!) to have a huge one. But a willingness to learn is a sign of humility, and Dr. Carson is showing signs that he is introspective and self-critical.

Rather than blame the “lamestream” media for hyping his gaffes (and reveling in the attention and praise his controversial comments garnered on the Right), he has set about minimizing his mistakes. “I’ve learned how to phrase things in a way that people can actually hear what I’m saying,” Carson recently told Howard Kurtz. “If you use certain words, it can be the most wonderful thing [but] they won’t hear it.”