“If thou follow thy star, thou canst not fail of glorious heaven” (Dante Alighieri).
EACH OF US HAS A “DESTINY” IN THIS WORLD — MAYBE YOU’D LIKE TO CALL IT A “DESTINATION” — THAT IS UNIQUE TO US. Although as human beings we have a good many things in common, we also have some things that set us apart, and among the most important of these are our dreams and goals: the things we want to accomplish while we live. Leaving aside for the moment the question of our eternal destiny, let’s consider the value of seeing that we have (or at least that we can have) a destiny to move toward in this world.
To begin with, destiny doesn’t mean determinism. It doesn’t mean that what’s going to happen in our lives is inevitable or that any specific path is the only one we’re meant or allowed to take. No, in any realistic view of destiny, we see that both our destination and our path are matters of choice. Almost always, the abilities and opportunities that have been granted to a particular person can be used honorably in more than one way, and out of all the possible scenarios that would be right from a moral and ethical standpoint, we’re free to choose. Unfortunately, many people don’t choose. They just drift.
Let me put it this way: your destiny is the thing that will result if you use your life in the way that is best suited to the unique person that you are. Sometimes it’s hard to figure out what our goals should be in that regard, and I agree with Jean de La Fontaine, who said, “A person often meets his destiny on the road he took to avoid it.” But when a person finally does lock in on whatever is the best possible thing they can do to contribute to the world, the motivation that results from that is so powerful it feels like the force of an irresistible fate.
Our destiny, therefore, is determined by the ways in which we choose to think, day by day. Orison Swett Marden said it pointedly: “Our destiny changes with our thought; we shall become what we wish to become, do what we wish to do, when our habitual thought corresponds with our desire.” We can’t think one way and then somehow arrive at a completely different destination. So you need to be careful about your thinking, don’t you? If you keep on thinking as you have today, what kind of destiny is that going to lead you to?
“Destiny is simply the relentless logic of each day” (Jean Giraudoux).