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Why Didn't The Dog Move?

A friend of mine walked into my office one day and lamented that he couldn't go after what he wanted in his life because his hands were tied. And yet when he had to get his daughter into a particular school that he really wanted, he went all out, tried different methods, thought innovatively to make sure his girl did get admission in that school. I don't remember him giving up by saying "my hands are tied". He was relentless. So, what do you think is different?