The word ‘destiny’ can mean different things to different people, so it is important to be clear about the meaning we are using here, as part of our journey to becoming antifragile.
Like the word ‘destination’, the word ‘destiny’ looks to the future, to the place that we are heading towards. It originally comes from the Latin word destinare, which meant “to make firm or establish.” So my ‘destination’ is a place I have ‘made firm or established’ as the place I am travelling towards. This gives us one meaning of the word ‘destiny’: as something that is fixed, established, and unchangeable.
But as you have probably experienced, just because we start out to go to a firmly established destination, that doesn’t always mean that we will arrive — certainly not on time, and certainly not in a time of Covid-19.
And over time the meaning of the Latin word destinare changed to reflect this. It became more precise. It became “the action of intending someone or something for a purpose.”
So what we really mean when we say our ‘destination’ is the airport is that we are intending to go to the airport for the purpose of catching a plane. But if the traffic is heavy and we miss our flight, then we can always change our plans or get a later plane. This new definition of gives us flexibility to adapt to changing circumstances.
The same is true of our destiny.
When people use the word ‘destiny’ to mean something that is fixed, inevitable, and pre-ordained it removes their ability to adapt: it assumes their destiny is out of their control, which stops them trying to shape it.
But when we use the word ‘destiny’ to mean something we are intending for a purpose, that puts us back in control. It brings us added focus, energy, and enthusiasm. And if things don’t turn out the way we expected, no problem. We can use the extra focus, flexibility, and inspiration to adapt and find a new way to achieve the same purpose.
This is the way we use the word ‘destiny’ in Inner Leadership: it’s an intended outcome we choose, in order to achieve a purpose.
In a time of change, this way of thinking is extremely useful. It’s another step to using change to become stronger.
Adapted from Inner Leadership: a framework and tools for building inspiration in times of change.
You can sign up to daily posts here.