A couple of months ago, I was talking with one of my friends, she is my “talk-on-any-topic-mate”. By the way, despite the fact that we live in completely different parts of our planet, which means in different time zones (she lives in California, I live in Australia) and are quite busy with our lives, we somehow find time to call and can talk for hours on different topics. I am lucky to have this person in my life who shares my interests to the same extent. Anyway…
The last time we spoke, we came across the topic of fate. This topic is rather hackneyed, we all think about our destiny from time to time throughout our lives. However, I think that the theme of fate and destiny is so vast that we can talk about it endlessly.
We just touched on this subject a bit and agreed that we will continue the discussion in our next conversation. So, this week I decided to dive deeper into this question, and I’m happy to share what I have learned so far.
What is destiny?
First of all, there are two words that describe very similar concepts that can be easily confused: fate and destiny. Even definitions from different dictionaries sometimes contradict each other. However, after examining several different sources, I identified the main difference: while fate is set by outside forces, destiny involves choice. Let’s take a close look at destiny first.
There are millions of destinies and each is unique in its own way. But is there a pattern? Some laws and orders that unite the life paths of everyone on planet Earth? Many people believe that destiny is predetermined, while others, rolling up their sleeves, are in a constant struggle with life’s circumstances.
Wikipedia claims that ancient people believed that destiny had three characteristics: unknowability, totality, and independence from human will. But then came the era of revolutions, technical progress and times when man became the centre of the world, at least, in his mind.
Moreover, in our age of achievement and motivational speakers, it has become simply old-fashioned to remain a fatalist. People are no longer think that you can’t change your destiny, at least most of them.
Are you a Creator or a Fatalist?
Am I a fatalist or the creator of my life? I couldn’t answer this common philosophical question. And the reason for this was various events that happened in my life.
When a negative event occurred, I was pretty sure that everything had already been written from above. When my desires materialised, I thought that I was the one who created my reality and no one else.
The exact picture didn’t develop in my head for a very long time. The more I thought, the less I understood. But eventually, I got an answer to the question of what destiny is and how I can manage it, at least, I think I get it… However, the answer wasn’t so obvious.
Managing your destiny without losing yourself
All my life I was the one who was guided by phrases such as “get up and act“, ” achieve as much as possible“, ” make wishes and fulfil them” and so on. These guides to action have helped not only me but thousands of people to change their lives.
On the other hand, all these motivational mottos have driven many into cognitive dissonance. It seems to me that because of the fashion trend “take destiny into your own hands” people have lost themselves even more. I was one of them too.
However, over the past 10 years, the focus on results and success has shifted significantly towards inner balance and happiness. And it looks like the pandemic has exacerbated this shift.
Now a person’s task is even more complicated. It is required to find a middle ground between your true purpose, external circumstances, attributes of success and internal comfort. In other words, our mission today is to “manage destiny” without losing ourselves. But, can we do this? And if we can, then how?
Lessons we should learn
I believe that the destiny of a person is a multivariance of events that originate at every point in life. Every day, every second, we make a choice in one direction or another, thereby shifting the lines of our destiny in one direction or another. In other words, through choices we manager our destiny.
However, there are also elements of fatalism in our life. It seems that our destiny is predetermined in relation to where we were born, in what family and country, with what level of wealth, what kind of health. Thus, these key points define the scenario of this exciting game called “It’s My Life”.
I also believe that we all have certain “assignments” that we must complete during our lifetime that will help us grow as individuals. If we don’t pay attention to these tasks, then some external factors and circumstances intervene, which literally pull us out of the context of reality in order to force us to change and grow.
If these external circumstances really occur in our life, then we have two options: “burn out” under pressure or “rise from the ashes”, radically changing the way of thinking and life. Such circumstances are commonly called “the hand of God,” “evil fate,” “fatal accidents,” and so on.
From my own experience…
I’ve had several events, after which I viewed my life as “before and after.” There were three serious car accidents (I think this is how the Universe communicates with me). I don’t want to dive into all the details, but all these accidents were turning points for me when I simply couldn’t live the way I used to. I had to radically change my approach to life.
It’s interesting that many people perceive such events as punishment, but I don’t believe in it. I believe that all these incidents are sent to help us to “wake up”.
However, there are those people who don’t want to wait for such sobering “kicks” from the Universe, but act and achieve incredible heights thanks to the fact that they decide to take their lives into their own hands. I admire people who feel when it’s time to change. I wish I could…
And I admire even more people who can take a leap of faith from one level to another. I know it is possible. But such leaps are more likely from the category of changing the scenario itself, and not a simple direction of movement from one predetermined event in your life to another.
How choices change what is written by your destiny
When I think about changing a whole plot, the scenario of life, I imagine that a person is on the first floor of reality, where he has one destiny and certain circumstances. If he wants to change the whole plot, he can go beyond the first floor and climb to the second. There will probably be other lines of his destiny and he will go according to an alternative scenario of life.
A perfect example here would be Australian Nick Vujicic, who was born without arms and legs. Despite his physical disabilities, he got two higher educations, plays golf and football, rides a skateboard and catches a wave on the surf, and has a happy family.
He also visited 45 countries, personally met with 7 presidents and inspired hundreds of thousands of people by his example to live without excuses. He is a super motivator, businessman, writer, singer. Nick didn’t complain about his destiny and illness, although he heard a thousand times about his own inferiority and caught humiliating glances.
In his speeches, Vujicic never says: “If you have arms and legs, then you have no problem!” He knows how to charge, convince, show by his own example that everyone in this world has an ocean of opportunities. His words urge people to develop, broaden their horizons, remind them of the free will of each person.
When I lose motivation, I usually remind myself of people like Nick. His example and the examples of other people with disabilities show us that despite seemingly insurmountable life circumstances, we can completely change the scenario of our life if we want.
How can we change our destiny?
Obviously, making informed choices and knowing where you are going is the key to managing our destiny. As simple as that. However, what is the right way to follow the chosen path?
I am afraid that there is no exact formula for a prosperous or happy destiny. However, there are simple basic rules that we can apply to our lives in order to at least take control of our destiny. They are here:
First of all, take responsibility for your life and stop complaining about a bad boss, government, taxes and other external circumstances. As I mentioned above, there are thousands of examples when people with disabilities changed the seemingly inevitable and became successful, rich and happy.
Second of all, find out what exactly you need, what is in line with your true path and values, and not just imposed by society as a measure of a “happy life.”
Third of all, start working with your thinking. Fortunately, now there are many ways – personal growth courses, meditations, psychologists and other effective tools for knowing oneself. Changes in thinking will be followed by changes in choices and actions, and then in the lines of your destiny.
These components are the bridge between the famous phrases “You can’t escape destiny” and “Destiny is in your hands”. Either you are ready to take responsibility, change and act, while subtly feeling the surrounding space and yourself. Or you are simply subordinated to a certain scenario and play a designated role in it. Which choice to make is totally up to you.
PS. My dear “talk-on-any-topic-mate”, I’m ready to discuss this wonderful subject. Please, call me…