Your Decisions Determine Your Destiny
The title of this blog post sounds a little intimidating, but I’m using it because I like the alliteration. Also, I think there was a similar quote that I wrote down when I collected quotes in high school. I didn’t understand the meaning of it back then, but I liked the conviction that it held. Now it makes more sense to me and that is why I want to unpack it for you here today.
Destiny can seem like a heavy topic. It evokes themes of epic ordeals and great purposes, but in reality destiny is what happens when you live your life and then look backwards over the road you have taken and observe how everything fits together to get you to the point that you are looking back from.
Can you be born with some great destiny that you need to fulfill?
Maybe. I’m not going to say that you aren’t but I am going to say that there is a difference between purpose and destiny. We are all born with a purpose, whether we view that purpose as big or small it is a driving force within us and we know that we are living it when we feel joy, satisfaction, and fulfillment. Purpose does not have to take any particular form and the way you express your purpose can change throughout your lifetime. Purpose is simply a natural expression of your life energy and no matter how it looks when you express it or whether it is validated or not you will know you are living it by the feelings it produces in you. Purpose is ingrained in who you are and when you are being who you are absent of detrimental external factors or habitual harmful internal beliefs, you feel good. If you cut yourself off from who you are then you cut yourself off from your purpose and it doesn’t matter how amazing your external circumstances appear or how much validation you get from the outside world, it will feel crappy.
Destiny is not purpose. Destiny is the idea that things work out a certain way because they must and it is an idea that conflicts with the idea of freewill. This is where writing becomes tricky for me. The way that I see the world most things occur in opposite complimentary pairs. This means for every true thing I say I find that the opposite is also true. When I am explaining one particular concept I am choosing to intentionally ignore half the truth for the sake of clarity. We could have a debate about whether destiny is real or free will is real, from my view they both are and they interact in such a beautifully cohesive way that it makes me smile every time I look at it—but I’m not going to get into that here. For the sake of this post I want to propose that your destiny is something you choose. It does not generally come in the form of one grand sweeping gesture, which is how epic stories and movies often portray it—but as the outcome of every decision big or small, conscious or unconscious that you make every day many times a day.
Our life is not one solid, fixed item. It looks more like a mosaic or a sand painting (to give you an idea of the scale of each decision and the number of decisions it takes to create a solid image). Every day you are making thousands if not millions of decisions, you are doing it constantly. What you chose to think about in any particular moment is a choice. Whether you choose to notice those thoughts or not is a choice. If you choose to wake up and follow your typical routine you have made a choice and if you choose not to get up at all you have made a choice. What you choose to eat, where you choose to go, how you choose to get there—all of these little choices add up to the masterful painting that you are creating of your own life and one day if you choose, you can step back and look at the painting you have painted so far and see how all those little pieces lined up to bring you to that point and you might call it destiny, because in fact with all the choices and events lined up exactly as they are you could have no other painting than the one in front of you—but you also could have chosen a different choice at any point in time along the way. This is why choice is the most powerful tool you have at your disposal, it is the essence of your creative power and will build the life you are creating. Whenever you choose to do one thing or not do another, to look left instead of right, to interpret a situation as a failure, a success, or neutral occurrence you are creating a piece of your destiny.
What we choose is where our power lies, yet so many of us go through life feeling like we don’t have a choice. Choosing to believe that you don't have a choice is choosing to give up the bulk of your power. On an emotional level a lot of resistance might be triggered in relation to this statement. There are things that we go through that we feel that we do not have a choice about and there are other things that happen to us that we did not consciously choose but feel that we are stuck living with.
For the first set of items such as working long hours at jobs we hate in order to survive, technically you have a choice. You could stop. The consequences of that choice might seem too high to risk so you continue to choose to work at the job. There is no judgement for doing that, but it’s still a decision that you made. You decided that you would rather work at this job you hate than risk running out of food or shelter. That’s not a bad decision, but it is yours and owning it can be used as a tool to help you feel better about the situation because you could choose the opposite. You could choose not to go to that horrible job and end up living on the streets, but that is not what you want so you have chosen to work and can be proud of your ability to survive in this way. In the end whether you stay or leave, it was your choice. Even if the consequences of doing or not doing something are dire, you still have the choice to do or not do it. This is true even if someone had a gun to your head and told you to do something or die. In such a scenario you would still have a choice. You could choose to do it or to die. That sounds harsh, but it is still a decision and one that only you can make.
What about things that happen to you that you didn’t have a choice over? Well, energetically when you start talking multidimensionally you start to see that you actually do have a lot more power over things that seem to happen to you than you might realize from this particular, physical perspective. But, let’s say that you don’t believe in any of that stuff and it isn’t helpful for you to think in that way. In that case, my argument is this, even if you don’t choose everything that comes into your path you do choose how you will interpret and respond to it. For example, let’s say that you try something and it doesn’t work out. It might not have been your decision to see the thing you wanted to do fall apart, but you can now decide whether you interpret the event as a failure and melt into the idea that you will never have what you want or you can choose to see it as one attempt that you learned from which will provide useful information when you try again in the future. Whichever interpretation you choose is your decision and it is a decision that will factor into that painting of your personal destiny that you are in the process of creating.
Let me give another harder example, lets say that you were born into an abusive family. You didn’t choose this and it caused you a great deal of harm. It doesn’t seem fair that this happened, but it is still your decision how you handle it. As an adult you can decide to get away from people who have harmed you. You can decide to look at those wounds and patterns and learn more about human behavior and then decide to make different choices than the people who raised you. You can choose to work on your own health and wellbeing and choose to have compassion for others who you recognize to be in similar situations. You can also decided to run away from the problems and not face them. You can decide to bury the pain in an addiction and numb yourself not to feel it. You can decide to repeat the cycle in your other relationships because it is all you have known and you have decided not to learn a different way. All of these are choices, decisions that you can make and whichever ones you choose will shape your life trajectory.
I am not saying that all or any decision is easy, but power and destiny lie in your decisions. They specifically lie in the pattern of the decisions you make. Some decisions will have much more immediate implications than others, but they all add up eventually to make up the mosaic of your life story. The way you paint your story, the beliefs you imbue them with, the thoughts you focus on, all of these mini-decisions will be part of your creation. That creation is your destiny and it is a destiny created by you every day, every second. This means that if you do not like the destiny you are creating for yourself you have millions of opportunities to make new decisions, every second you have new choices you can make. There are always new thoughts you can focus on, new things you can learn, new views you can assume and new actions you can take—if you choose to.
In every moment you are making decisions. What you do in this moment and with this decision will weave its way into your masterpiece and create a part of your destiny. So you see, big and small as they might be, your decisions determine your destiny.