“Part of [Rick] Rubin’s genius,” Mr. Hilburn says, “was that he didn’t simply portray Cash as a rebel. He wanted to break through the public image of Cash as a superhero by capturing his human side — the struggle and the pain and the grit. Says Rubin, ‘When I asked artists what they admired about him, that’s what they often mentioned — that vulnerable, hurt aspect, the man who wouldn’t give up.’ ”
Cash persevered through heart surgery, neurological problems, a damaged jaw and failing eyesight and even continued to record music after the death of his beloved June in May 2003. He died four months later; by then, according to one estimate, doctors had him on some 30 medications.
His son, John Carter, later said: “I believe the thing about Dad that people find so easy to relate to is that he was willing to expose his most cumbersome burdens, his most consuming darknesses. He wasn’t afraid to go through the fire and say: ‘I fell down. I’ve made mistakes. I’m weak. I hurt.’ But in doing so, he gained some sort of defining strength. Every moment of darkness enabled him to better see the light.”
Interesting way to look at it: Admitting weakness is displaying strength. People admire that level of honesty – and your ability to overcome struggles.