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Stairway to Success: The Complete Blueprint for Personal and Professional Achievement by Nido R. Qubein

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4

THE ART OF THE POSSIBLE

God, give us the grace to accept with serenity the things that cannot be changed, courage to change the things that can be changed, and the wisdom to distinguish the one from the other.

—REINHOLD NIEBUHR

Once you have decided what to place at the center of your life, your next step is to focus on the areas that you can effectively influence. Some of the things that are important to you may be beyond your area of influence. Music may be an important part of your life, and you may dream of singing on Broadway. But if you sing like a bullfrog with laryngitis, it’s unlikely that you will be able to will your way into a Broadway role. But that doesn’t put music appreciation beyond your area of influence. You can enjoy going to performances, and you can learn the lyrics and sing along in the privacy of your home or automobile. You can also learn to play an instrument.

You may find that the adorable person you married has a chemical-dependency problem or has a violent temper or is a poor money manager. You may offer your spouse your support and encouragement in overcoming these problems, but they actually lie outside your area of effective influence. The only person who can overcome an addiction is the addict; the only person who can control a violent temper is the individual with the violent temper; the only one who can change sloppy money-management habits for the better is the individual who has the sloppy habits.

You may face many limitations that you ...

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