“Ideals are like stars; you will not succeed in touching them with your hands. But like the seafaring man on the desert of waters, you choose them as your guides, and following them you will reach your destiny” (Carl Schurz).
MUCH OF THE QUALITY OF LIFE DEPENDS UPON OUR DESTINATIONS, THE GOALS TOWARD WHICH WE TRAVEL. If we have no conscious direction, or if we’ve been careless in choosing our direction, our lives will be less than a human being’s life ought to be. As this year reaches the end toward which it has been moving, let’s spend the day reflecting on the ends toward which we ourselves are moving. And if those ends are less than desirable, let’s change them.
As can easily be seen from the words themselves, “destiny” and “destination” are closely related. Our destiny is the end of the road we are traveling, the port toward which we are sailing. For better or worse, our lives are going somewhere; the only question is whether our destination is one we’ve carefully committed ourselves to — based on our principles — or whether we’re just drifting with whatever current happens to surround us at the present time.
The best destinations are not those having to do with external circumstances but those concerning our character. External goals are perhaps better than none at all, but the fact is, much that is required to meet external goals is beyond our control. If, for example, my chosen destinations are to live in a certain place, marry a certain person, have a certain net worth, etc., I may be hindered from reaching those goals by factors I can do nothing about. But if my destination is to have a certain kind of character, the choices necessary to be that kind of person are always within my power. In determining our goals, it’s far better to be concerned with what we are than with what we have.
There is no better time for introspection than year’s end, and there is no better introspection than that which improves the quality of our destinations. Our inward characters are measured, in large part, by the worthiness of our goals. And at last, our destiny will be to enjoy or to endure the destination to which our choices have taken us.
“Thoughts lead on to purposes; purposes go forth in action; actions form habits; habits decide character; and character fixes our destiny” (Tryon Edwards).