There was a post recently on a Facebook fiction writers group that I’m part of. The poster asked if we thought we were inherently destined to be writers or was it more a case of choosing that path out of curiosity. A good question.
It led me to ponder the question further on a grander scale. You often hear terms like “They were destined to be great,” and other such things. It would seem that there are many out there who believe destiny is a real thing. That the course of each of our lives is somehow mapped out and planned for us before we even came to be.
I can understand why people may think that way; especially those of any kind of faith in a higher power. If you’re of a particular faith then surely God has chosen exactly the kind of person you’re to be.
As I’ve stated many times before and, no doubt, will state many times in the future, I am no man of faith (at least not faith in any theism). I don’t think there are any gods creating everything and it’s a mind-set I am completely unwavering on. There isn’t a person who will ever convince me otherwise.
To that end, the idea of destiny and fate hold no water with me. The two are intermittently linked to religion and theistic faith. If destiny and fate exist then that means there is a higher power at work controlling everything and I know there isn’t. How do I know? I just do. I have faith in my own mind so I have no reason not to trust my thoughts. I avoid the word ‘belief’ because there are some out there that claim belief is a requisite for any kind of theistic faith. So to avoid that rather petulant pitfall, I rely on my brain; the actual tool for thinking and the reason I think anything at all.
Destiny is a funny thing and I believe there could be a way to explain that doesn’t get into the minefield that is religion; things such as genetics and inherency. We see it often where a person is especially talented at something and their offspring ends up being talented in exactly the same field. Football is littered with the sons of former footballers, for example.
Is that really any kind of destiny, genetics, or inherency though? Could it actually just be sons and daughters mimicking their parents and growing to become talented at the same thing as their parent because of the influence it had on them as a youngster? I would say that is definitely more the case than a person being, in some way, preselected for greatness in a certain field. Nobody is born a genius chemist. They had to learn how to become one irrespective of how great a chemist their mother was. Why chemist? Why not, bitch? *Winky face*
No, I’m afraid I’m simply not sold on the idea of anybody being destined for anything. I think natural talent that could be genetic or inherent exists. Some people are able to slot into certain niches because there is something they just have; some natural instinct that sees them able to become good at certain things a lot quicker than most. Nature works in its own special ways. Fate or the Great Almighty have absolutely nothing to do with it. We can’t explain a lot of what nature does because nature is too advanced for any of us to get a proper grip on it—probably why theism was even created in the first place.
Even where natural talent is present, a person must still possess some desire to become good. I could, for all I know, be a naturally talented fisherman. I wouldn’t know because I’ve never tried and never will because I have absolutely no desire to handle live fish—even dead ones a lot of the time. Desire is a very important ingredient to anybody becoming good at anything.
My natural talent turned out to be swimming. It’s shocking really as it took me well over the average length of time to achieve my first swimming badge—the ten metres. However, once I’d got that, I whizzed through all the rest in record time. I actually took my last badges while I was still officially too young to take them. I passed them all first time as well. Then along came competitive swimming and I went from being an also-ran to one of the best at the club in the space of the year to the very best in about another year.
The problem with swimming is that I reached the peak I could achieve at that swimming club. The training I was receiving was, with no disrespect to my trainers, as good as it was ever going to get there. Could I have gone onto better had I joined a club like Stockport Metro, a club famous for churning out British Olympic swimmers? In reality, I don’t know for sure. That said, every fibre of my being tells me that I could have wound up a Great Britain swimmer had I gone to a club like Stockport Met. I think I would have done.
What was the problem with my swimming? I lost the desire. There were outside influencing factors behind that, but a lot of it was because my heart wasn’t in it from about age fifteen onwards. So let’s say, hypothetically, I was destined to be a Great Britain swimmer. If I’d lost the desire, would I have fulfilled my destiny? I don’t think so.
Desire is the root to any success. I don’t know if I’m a naturally talented writer (if talented at all—I know I’m definitely not bad judging by what I see from others), though I know, without a shadow of doubt, that I desire to succeed as a writer. I don’t think I’m destined to get published. I think I will if I put in the effort and don’t give up. It’s not my destiny. Destiny is, in my opinion, a complete fable. It’s no more a thing than flying pigs.
You will achieve nothing without the desire to achieve it. You could argue about the successful gymnasts of the Eastern Bloc who were forced to become great by bullying and abusive coaches. Although, I imagine if you asked them if they feel they’d really accomplished anything they would likely say no because of the cost of becoming great. They didn’t really choose to be great, nor were they destined to be. They were bullied into it for fear of their lives. A rather hollow way to become great, I’m sure most would agree.
So my initial comment at the start of the last paragraph stands. You need desire to achieve your goals. You need to want to achieve the goals in order to feel as though you accomplished anything. Desire is the most essential tool to anybody hoping to achieve something. Destiny, on the other hand, is something I’ll leave for people who believe in fairy tales.
There’s nothing wrong in feeling you’ve achieved some kind of birth right once you’ve succeeded, yet I think that feeling you haven’t achieved your destiny when you fail is a short-sighted view. I mean, if it’s your destiny then you’re destined for it, so if you don’t get it then it was surely never your destiny.
NOTHING is a birth right. Nothing is a given. Anything you get out of life holds more than just a trace element of choice. We can be coaxed, persuaded, even bullied into heading down certain paths, but we’ll only feel true happiness on completion if we really wanted it deep down inside ourselves from the beginning. If desire alone was enough to make me a best-selling author then I’d be a more well-known name than Stephen King. Hard work is another essential ingredient. We’ll breach that subject another time.