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Pastor Rick Warren said that his nearly 40 years in ministry have helped him learn how to benefit from opportunities by first asking a few questions to determine whether to take advantage of them or not.

Warren notes that successful individuals see opportunities when others do not, a skill people can learn. He admits that he was poor at seizing opportunities and missed out on many early on in his life. But now he has learned to say “no” to good opportunities so that he can say “yes” to great ones.

“Opportunities are all around you but if you don’t know how to see, sift, sense or seize them, then you’re not going to know what to do with your life. You’re going to miss on God’s plan for you,” Warren said during a sermon on Sunday.

The first step in overcoming and managing opportunities is getting rid of things that may seem important but are not, Warren explains.

“The starting point of being successful is the elimination of nonessentials in your life so you can start to clear out the clutter,” said Warren. “I’ve had nine mentors throughout my life, some have been famous and others haven’t. Peter Drucker, founder of modern American management was one of them and he would tell me that I couldn’t keep adding things to my schedule without taking things off.”

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Rick Warren on How Say ‘No’ to Good Opportunities and ‘Yes’ to Great Ones  was originally published on