The Serenity Prayer

Dale Carnegie
Dale Carnegie (Image via Wikipedia)

Perhaps one of the most influential books that I have read is ‘How to stop worrying and start living’ by Dale Carnegie. I remember that I bought a old second-hand copy (though it looked like a fifth or sixth hand only!) of the book from one of the platform shops for some 15 or 20 bucks. The copy was really old, papers turned almost brown and brittle. I also remember that I read it during my second semester of Engineering; as I topped the batch that particular term. I used to wonder whether it is a coincidence or it was the effect of Dale Carnegie 🙂

Whatever be the practical usefulness of the principles enunciated in the book, Dale Carnegie’s excellent writing skills, his ability to keep the reader engaged, the numerous anecdotes that dot the book and the book’s ‘feel-good’ character made it an interesting and fulfilling read.

Some of my experiences (both first-hand and second-hand) in the last one week made me remember one of the numerous anecdotes and quotes that I read in ‘How to stop…..’. Dale Carnegie had quoted what is popularly known as ‘Serenity Prayer‘ to drive home the point that there is no point worrying about the things that we cannot change and we would be better off dealing with things wherein we can indeed make a difference. Stephen Covey gives a similar call when he asks us to differentiate between those things that fall within our  ‘Circle of concern’ and those which fall within our ‘Circle of influence’.  Coming back to ‘The Serenity Prayer’, here is it:

“God grant me the serenity

To accept the things I cannot change;

Courage to change the things I can;

And wisdom to know the difference.

Once again, I pray to God for that wisdom and courage.

P.S: I had once heard that Dale Carnegie committed suicide. But my ‘customary research’ for this post showed it is just a rumour. I am relieved! 🙂 For those who felt bad like me to hear that Dale Carnegie committed suicide, here is his obituary in the NY Times which makes no mention of a suicide and says he was ill for some time before death –

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One thought on “The Serenity Prayer

  1. I found Carnegie’s book, “How to Stop Worrying (and start living)” in audio book format and listened to all of it. I was a bit skeptical a first based on the title. Even though some of the examples where a bit dated it was like reading/listening to the collected wisdom of centuries. I found Dale Carnegie’s summary of the book on the web and still consult it from time to time. I’d recommend this book to anyone, even people who feel they don’t need such a thing.

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