Here's a German proverb that I like (translated, of course)
"you have to take it as it happens, but you should try to make it happen the way you want to take it"
That's posted over my desk where I see it at least 10 times a day. It sums up my desire to be a "do-er" not a "done to-er" - and my belief that you can influence almost any situation, if only by changing the way you react to what life throws at you. Something as simple as listening and asking questions showing genuine interest can change the way "it" happens.