"Both your fate and your destiny are within you. What are you going to do with them?"
Time and again I hear people throwing and around the terms “fate” and “destiny”, wanting to discuss and explore. It’s funny how people want to use them almost interchangeably or even imply that one means the future is inevitable and the other you can change. Rarely do people really explore what the words mean and how they apply to life.
Let’s start with “Fate”
The dictionary tells us that “Fate” means, “a power that some people believe causes and controls all events, so that you cannot change or control the way things will happen”; “what happens to a particular person or thing, especially something final or negative, such as death or defeat”; “the will or principle or determining cause by which things in general are believed to come to be as they are or events to happen as they do”.
What’s curious is that “Fate” is usually used to explain a negative outcome. Think of how you yourself use it in language. People don’t say “my fate is to be insanely happy”; “stupidly wealthy” or “crazily successful”. No. They say things like “my fate is to struggle through life”; “to never find happiness” or “to just get by”.
The thing with language, is that it defines how we think and labels we give things. Our understanding of the world and our general perspective of the world is defined by the meaning we give to those labels. Seems to me that we are sabotaging ourselves by using a word that by it’s very definition is negative to describe any part of our life is a huge error of judgement.
What about “Destiny”
Again, referring to the dictionary as a starting
point. “a state or end that seemingly has been decided beforehand”; “the force that some people think controls what happens in the future, and is outside human control”; “
Now let's think about how we tend to use the word “Destiny” in our language. Examples such as “If I keep doing the same things I’m destined to make the same mistakes”; “The destiny of our nation depends on this vote”; “Only by confronting his pain can Mark find peace and truly fulfil his destiny as a leader for his community” and “it is my destiny to be successful”. Of course there are times when people use “Destiny” in a negative sense however much less so than “Fate”.
While both words imply a lessor or greater level of lack of control, “Destiny” is the label we lean towards for positives. I’d suggest in your own language you start focusing on your positive “Destiny” rather than what your “fate” may be.
It really comes down to are you a “glass half full” or a “glass half empty” type person? “Glass half empty” types (pessimists) will always find it easier to put causality outside themselves and in the negative. “Glass half full” people (optimists) are much more likely to place causality within themselves and lean towards positive outlooks. Most people tend to have a little “glass half empty” in them. It’s just how we are made as a protection mechanism. It just get’s in the way sometimes when you want to stretch yourself for personal goals. That’s not to say “glass half empty” people can’t be optimistic about something. If you work for a company that is doing well with a good outlook you would of course be optimistic about the company’s future and your job security. What I’m referring to is the general outlook people have for themselves and how they view the world.
Now allow me to tell you the way I view one’s “Destiny”. To me it is more closely aligned to “Purpose”. The reason you are on this planet. I know, that’s a whole other topic and I’ll cover separately. However, the way I think of it is that your “Destiny” is within you and through your actions will either come to pass or it won’t. You see, “Destiny” is not what you do. It’s not a job. It’s not a thing. It’s who you become.
As an example. From when I was young I wanted to be a police officer. This is not the first time I’m telling this story. At the age of twenty three I was accepted to join and go the the police academy. Thinking I had my wife’s support. As the start date grew closer and closer I came under more and more pressure not to go. For all sorts of reasons. Rather than risk the marriage I ended up not joining. Let’s not go into details about what happened to that relationship. That desire to be a police office never left me. I thought it was my “Destiny”, my “Purpose”. Life just never seemed to put me in the right place at the right time. Now looking back at my life with all the things I’ve done I see what my “”Destiny” is. It’s to help people. That’s been the common theme through most things I’ve done. The fact I’m sitting in my office writing this article is testament that I’m fulfilling my “Destiny”. Not from what I thought it would take, doing a particular job, but from who I become.
In the end what I’m suggesting is to use some positivity in your language. It’s tough to have a positive outlook if the language you use leans towards the negative. It really does come down to the choices you make. You can choose to focus on what you don’t have or the negatives of where you’re at in life. That’s a completely valid choice, just somewhat unhelpful. Or, you can choose to focus on the positives of your “Destiny”. It’s ok not to even know what that is right at the moment. But most people don’t invest enough time working to find it or work it out. The answer may be closer than you think.
Your “Destiny, your “Purpose”, is inside you. If you just listen. In another article we will delve deeper into how to work out what you “Purpose” is. It’s important enough for it’s own article. We all have one, it’s inside every one of us. Most of the time we simply can’t see the forest for the trees. Just because you can’t see it when you choose doesn’t mean it’s not there. As Mark Twain said “The two most important days of your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why”. Your destiny is within you already. Youngest have to choose to see it and live it.
CEO Third Age Man