Thursday, August 20, 2009

Fate and Destiny

Humans have long been enamored with the concepts of fate and destiny. While both imply that the course of our life is predetermined, fate has negative connotations (e.g. early death) while destiny hints of fame and success. Like many other products of the human mind, both are delusions and accepting them can have significant consequences.

Beyond the effects of happenstance (good or bad luck in the secular sense, the hand of God to believers) the course of our life remains under our control. Those who focus on fate or destiny are prone to make cavalier or irresponsible choices, either assuming that behavior has no relation to outcome (fate) or that the purpose of their life (destiny) will protect them from negative consequences. Such points of view, relatively common in teens and young adults, often saps motivation and promotes risky behavior.

Acknowledging that we have the means to reach our goals is the first step toward achieving them. By refusing to accept the notions of fate and destiny, we are free to focus on our personal choices, aware that all have consequences. The power to succeed comes from within.