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. But its meaning has changed over the years.
It originally came from the Latin word destinare. This 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 probably know, just because we set out to travel to a firmly established destination doesn’t necessarily mean that we will get there — and certainly not in a time of Covid-19.
So over time, the meaning of the Latin word destinare changed to reflect this. It became instead “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 or an Icelandic volcano erupts, we may have to change our plans. Defining ‘destination’ this way is gives us the flexibility to adapt to changing circumstances. And 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 then 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 still use our 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 outcome we intend, in order to achieve a purpose.
And in a time of churning, this way of thinking is another step to using change to become stronger.
Adapted from Inner Leadership: a framework and tools for building inspiration in times of change.
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