Shaping your own destiny

The word destiny means different things to different people, so it is important to be clear about which meaning is used as part of Inner Leadership.

The English word ‘destiny’ comes from the French word destinée. It shares the same original root as destination. It looks to the future, to where we are headed, to what is going to happen.

The original Latin word destinare, from which all these words are descended, meant “to make firm or establish.” So it is natural that some people still use the word ‘destiny’ to mean an outcome that is fixed or pre-ordained: a fate that is beyond our control, bound to happen, inevitable.

But over time the meaning of the original word shifted. It changed to become “the action of intending someone or something for a purpose.” A destination is a place I am intending to get to (even though I might not reach it) in order to carry out some purpose when I get there. A child “destined for greatness” is someone who is heading towards a purpose, even though we cannot tell yet what that purpose is.

When you use the word in this way, the way it is used in Inner Leadership, then your destiny becomes a choice that you can make.

And when you set an intention in order to achieve a purpose, you empower yourself to shape your own destiny in two more ways: you give yourself more energy and inspiration to move forward, and you give yourself extra flexibility to respond to events.

In a time of change, inspiration and flexibility are both useful.

Adapted from Inner Leadership.

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