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Your Destiny: Find It and Live It

Let’s discuss the topic of your destiny, what it is, whether it exists and how to find it.

There are several, contradicting views on this subject. We’ll look at a few of them and integrate them into a fuller understanding of destiny, helping us navigate our life journey and find our own destiny more easily.

Does Your Destiny Exist?

Let me define your destiny as the life you were meant to live. After we explore different perspectives on destiny, we’ll change this definition slightly to make it more nuanced.

Isn’t it true that most of us wander through life with at least a vague sense that this isn’t how our life should be, that there’s something greater out there for us?

Though I think that’s definitely true, not everyone agrees. There are two major opposing views when it comes to destiny, which in my view both contain truth and ultimately converge rather than diverge. Let’s explore them.

The “No-Miss” View

On one hand, there’s the view that we’re automatically living our destinies just by virtue of being alive. Whatever we experience, whether we like it or not, is our destiny. Every experience contributes to our growth. Every experience contains potential learning if we pay enough attention. You’re meant to live it because you are living it: no more, no less.

If you like, you can base this on the idea of reincarnation, that as souls we live not one but many lifetimes, and that our soul grows with every experience we have, whether we’re aware of it or not, whether it’s pleasant or not. The soul accumulates learning experiences and slowly becomes wiser, fuller and more developed over time.

I like this point of view because it’s reassuring in difficult times and unpleasant life circumstances. Nothing is a waste of time: it’s a lesson. We can’t really go wrong. Isn’t that empowering?

The “Divine Plan” View

On the other hand, there’s the view that we have one, predefined destiny that we’re here to live out, and that we can do so to many degrees. The further we are from it, the less fulfilled we are.

I know what it’s like to be miserable, and I know what it’s like to feel unmistakably that my current life isn’t the one that I was supposed to live. It certainly didn’t feel like my life was an expression of my deepest destiny, and that’s when I realised I had to change.

Whether we reincarnate or not, I think we’re all here to have particular experiences, be that for the growth of our soul, or just for the full expression of our unique self in a singular, finite life. We can’t do it all on this earth. We can’t have 100 careers. We can’t live in 1000 different places. Life is too sprawling.

Besides, we’re all unique. We have our personality, our appearance, our interests, our aversions, our unique experiences. We are drawn to particular careers, relationships, friendships and hobbies because they resonate with us. Inevitably, our life unfolds around certain themes that encapsulate our uniqueness. When we can’t fully contact and express that uniqueness, we feel limited and we start to wonder why we’re here.

Is it “meant to be” or “written in the stars”? I don’t know. All I know is that we get really damn miserable and nihilistic when our circumstances aren’t as we know they should be.

I don’t know if this is a fixed, prepackaged set of circumstances, as though there were only one career, one person, one place, one house that were all right for us. That seems too limiting given the remarkable variety of experiences available to us nowadays. I think there’s room for change and discovery and free will, and that ultimately it comes down to whether our lives enable us to fully express our uniqueness.

Yet in any discussion on destiny, we must take into account the fact that though there is a continuity to our identity, it also goes through remarkable change and transformation, including our ideas of what life is and why we’re here. By extension, our destiny must also change over time.

The Integrated View

Taking into account all this, let’s update our definition:

Your destiny is the experience of fully expressing your uniqueness at each point in your life journey.

I think this view of destiny includes the others but doesn’t fall into their downsides. It allows for change and growth throughout life; it allows for us having a unique personality that leads us towards some experiences over others; it is broad and all-encompassing.

It doesn’t disregard the fact that all experiences are part of our destiny. The unpleasant ones act as a negative contrast, a signpost for when we’re not fully expressing our uniqueness, and in the end play a crucial role in us finding that uniqueness.

It also allows for the fact that destinies can be exhausted and new ones can spring up. In fact, this is pretty much inevitable.

And it also means that we may not be living our destiny at any given time. Let’s face it, most of us don’t fully express our uniqueness and so miss out on the joy that it brings.

Are You Living Your Destiny?

It’s crucial you’re able to tell whether or not you’re living your destiny. This isn’t one-dimensional: you can live your destiny in some areas and not others. But overall, if you follow these guidelines, you’ll know whether you’re fully expressing your uniqueness.

The acid test is your level of fulfilment. Ultimately, if you’re not living your destiny, you’ll be unhappy. The further away you are, the less fulfilled you are.

Is there a part of you telling you that this isn’t the life you should be living? Do you wake up with a sense of dread? Do you go about your day feeling empty, purposeless, bored, uninspired?

Look to the main areas of your life: probably career, kids, intimate relationship, friendships and family. Do you feel fulfilled in these areas?

I’m not saying we must be ecstatically happy every single day, or that we’ll never be buffeted by the storms of life. Inevitably we’ll face difficulties and pain, no matter who we are. That said, we also shouldn’t experience more misery than joy. If that’s your baseline emotion, you’re not living your destiny. There are greater possibilities out there for you.

It takes great courage to earnestly examine your life and admit that hollowness and meaningless are the dominant themes.

Listen to your heart. It knows all things, because it came from the Soul of the World, and it will one day return there.

Paulo Coelho

Your life may even start to unravel as you realise that many of your pursuits and accomplishments did nothing but create a veneer of joy, not high-quality, lasting inner contentment.

Okay, we’ve spoken about how to identify when you’re not living your destiny. Let’s turn to what it feels like to live it.

What Does Destiny Feel Like?

As you might have guessed, ultimately living your destiny feels like satisfaction and fulfilment, derived from the intrinsic experience of living your life, rather than the extrinsic rewards for what you do.

When I try to explain passion and joy, I often revert to talking about childhood. Let me put it this way: if a child is playing their favourite game with their friends, how do they feel? They feel uninhibited, carefree, joyful. And it’s the game brings them pure joy. They’re not bothered about salaries, or social status, or any other extrinsic reward, at least before a certain age. They just love the game. Do you remember this feeling?

Living your destiny feels similar. It feels like play. Even if your destiny involves you’re working hard, your work is an expression of yourself, so it doesn’t feel like work. It simply feels like a natural extension of your innate desires.

You also get this huge sense that fundamentally life is worth living. No longer is it a grind, a Groundhog Day you relive again and again with no real purpose to it. Your days are filled with meaning. They seem to glow and shine.

What’s more, your life journey becomes clear. Your past successes and struggles now look like necessary steps on the path towards your fullest self-expression, and you feel grateful for all the ups and downs you experienced.

Remember that wherever your heart is, there you will find your treasure. You’ve got to find the treasure, so that everything you have learned along the way can make sense.

Paulo Coelho

I hope you’re getting an idea of whether you’re living your destiny or not.

How to Live Your Destiny

Living your destiny sounds ecstatic and fun, but in fact it’s pretty difficult. It’s a process of transformation, of alchemy, of converting lead into gold. The gold is certainly shiny and desirable, but the conversion process is often messy and painful.

It all starts with stringent self-examination and brutal self-honesty. Are you really living your life to the full? Are you expressing your uniqueness? Will you look back on your life and be proud? We don’t do this to engage in self-flagellation, but to let our deeper yearnings come forth, to let our heart speak.

Only when you can honestly answer these questions, with no filter, can you begin even contemplating the move towards your destiny.

Once you have, it’s time to start planning and making bold strategic moves. Don’t just rashly quit your job or sell your house. Be strategic about it. Yet also some boldness is required: it’s the price for living your destiny. Tough decisions are necessary. You’ll likely have to move into uncharted waters for a while until you align yourself with your greater purpose.

If you’d like a comprehensive, big-picture plan, check out my article Find and Live Your Life Calling.