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 towards 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.
Initially, the Latin word destinare meant “to make firm or establish.” This gives us one meaning of the word ‘destiny’: as something that is fixed, established, and unchangeable.
But just because we set out to travel to a certain destination doesn’t necessarily mean we will get there. We might set out for the airport but get caught in traffic. We might plan a trip or holiday and then find that a global pandemic forces us to stay home. And over time the meaning of the Latin word destinare changed to reflect this. Instead it came to mean, “the action of intending someone or something for a purpose.”
So what we really mean when we say that our ‘destination’ is the airport is that we are intending to go to the airport for the purpose of catching a plane. And if the traffic is heavy or an Icelandic volcano erupts, we know that we might have to change our plans.
Defining our ‘destination’ this way brings us the flexibility to adapt to changing circumstances.
And the same becomes true if we define our ‘destiny’ this way.
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 this puts us back in control. It also brings us extra focus, energy, and enthusiasm. And if things don’t turn out in the way we expected then we can use that flexibility and inspiration to quickly adapt and find new ways of achieving the same purpose.
This is the way that Inner Leadership uses the word ‘destiny’. Our destiny is not fixed. It’s an outcome we intend, in order to achieve a purpose.
In a time of churning, thinking about our destiny in this way will bring us another step closer to becoming antifragile, using change to become stronger.
Have you chosen a destiny for yourself: an outcome you intend to create, for a purpose you want to achieve? Would you find it useful to have the extra energy, focus, and flexibility that come from doing so?
Adapted from Inner Leadership: a framework and tools for building inspiration in times of change.
You can sign up to daily posts here.
(And remember: you don’t learn to swim by reading about swimming, you also need to practice.)