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 for. But its meaning has changed over the years.
It started from the Latin word destinare, which 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 firmly established destination doesn’t necessarily mean that we will get there — especially 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.”
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 need to change our plans.
Defining ‘destination’ this way is gives us the flexibility to adapt to changing circumstances. The same is 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 it puts us back in control. It brings us the added focus, energy, and enthusiasm that we get from working towards a purpose. And if things don’t turn out the way we expected then we can use that flexibility and inspiration to quickly adapt and find new ways to achieve the same purpose.
This is the way we use the word ‘destiny’ in Inner Leadership. Our destiny is not fixed. It’s an outcome we intend, in order to achieve a purpose.
In a time of churning, this way of thinking brings 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 it be 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.
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