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 the Inner Leadership tools for 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. Like fate, it is impossible to alter.
But as most of us have experienced, just because we start out to get to a firmly established destination, doesn’t always mean that we will get there — certainly not on time.
And in fact the meaning of the original Latin word destinare changed over time to become “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 catch a plane for the purpose of going on holiday or getting to a business meeting. And if the traffic is heavy and I miss my flight, then I can always catch a later plane or make other plans. This new definition gives me flexibility to change both my destination and how I get there.
The same is true of destiny.
When people use the word ‘destiny’ to mean something that is fixed, inevitable, and pre-ordained it removes their ability to adapt to change: 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 it puts us back in control. It brings us added focus, energy, and enthusiasm to achieve that destiny. And when things don’t turn out the way we expected, it gives us extra focus, flexibility, and inspiration to adapt and find a new way to achieve the same purpose.
This is the meaning of the word ‘destiny’ we use in Inner Leadership: our destiny is an intended outcome we choose, in order to achieve a purpose.
In a time of change, this definition can be very useful.
Have you chosen a destiny for yourself: an outcome you intend to create, for a purpose you want to achieve? Would you like to have the extra energy, focus, and flexibility that come from defining them?
Adapted from Inner Leadership: a framework and tools for building inspiration in times of change.
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