Fate and Destiny: Are They Real or Are They Bullshit?

27 September 2013 — Todd Smidt

There are many things in this vast world of ours that I don’t understand. Why Franks Red Hot Sauce makes everything better. How Nicholas Cage keeps getting lead roles. Why people who live BELOW sea level always seem surprised that a hurricane would lead to flooding (looking at you New Orleans). Accounting. Scientology in general. And why the Nebraska Cornhuskers football team always finds a way to break my heart.

These are questions that in the end I have just accepted don’t have tangible answers. And in an attempt to not go insane, I’ve made my peace with that. However, there are other topics of importance that I also seem to not grasp. One of these on my mind as of late is that of fate and destiny.

When I was younger (and much more likely to do and believe what others told me to) I thought that it was an absolute certainty that both fate and destiny were real. I mean they HAD to be, right? How else can you explain why things happen to us?  Why would so many people talk about something if it wasn’t real?   How else can you calm someone down or ease tension and anger from a situation?

However, phrases like “if it’s meant to be it’ll find a way,” “God will see it done,” and “Love will find a way” paired a long with a lack of action have become more and more a topic of irritation for me.



For most people, the concepts of fate and destiny are comforting ideas. They allow them to live their lives however they want and truly believe that something will happen to them regardless of their choices. In a way, it absolves them from any real responsibility for their circumstances.

Related: Why It’s Okay to be Selfish

What I don’t understand is why more people don’t find theses concepts to be delusional.

If I told you I wanted to be a published author, but I never wrote anything, would you tell me that “it just wasn’t meant to be?” No. You’d tell me to actually do something toward achieving my goal. I hope you’d tell me to write and write and keep writing until my fingers bled. I hope you’d tell me to read until my eyes were bloodshot and glassy. With enough effort and energy, perhaps I would become a published author.

If I did end up achieving my goal, what was the cause of it? Is it the hours I spent preparing and working my ass off or was I just magically destined all long to accomplish this goal? To me, the former seems much more realistic. I’m not looking to deny that some people are more talented than others, but hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard.

The thing that bothers me the most about the question of fate and destiny is that they are concepts that can give people an excuse. “Fate and destiny” being real takes responsibility away for what happens in each of our lives. We use these words and concepts as a crutch. By believing that things will happen on their own with little to no work on our part, people end up disappointed and confused.

And that is where everything goes to shit for me. Instead of taking action towards what we want and working to achieve something, we sit back, wait and hope. Because haven’t you heard? it’s my destiny to be great. I’ve never found hoping to be much of a strategy. If it was, the Cornhuskers wouldn’t have lost a game for the past 20 years and I’d be married to Emma Watson, but I digress.

Related: Tips for a Good Life


I am currently working on a cruise ship in Australia. A bit random? Perhaps. Do I think that when I was 5, this was my ‘destined’ path? Was I destined to leave everyone and everything I knew behind me in search of something new? Not a chance. I am here because of every choice I have made over the past 23 years.  Getting an M.I.P., going to Creighton University, deciding not to go to law school, taking a desk job that wasn’t right for me, deciding I wanted nothing more than to travel the world and work with people. Most importantly, deciding to do something about it when I realized how unhappy I was.

The things that brought me here?

My choices.

Are fate and destiny real?

I’ve said all of this to get to this point.

Your life is yours. Where you are, who you’re with, what you do—all of these things stem from the choices you’ve made. But the beauty of it all is that no matter where you at in life in regards to your goals or your happiness, YOU have the ability to change it. There is no predetermined situation.

We create our own.

You decide whether that concept is terrifying or freeing. Personally, I find it freeing. To truly believe that I have control over my life and no one else was one of the most liberating things I’ve ever experienced. I hope for your sake that if you haven’t already, that someday soon you realize this and make your life exactly what you want it to be.

Maybe that’s what destiny means after all.

Stay Gold.

2 responses to “Fate and Destiny: Are They Real or Are They Bullshit?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *