Embrace your (positive) destiny

by Scott Barry Kaufman, April 27, 2018 in Blog

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I’ve been thinking a lot lately about destiny. I think destiny exists. Within each of us is a particular set of proclivities that when matched with just the right environmental triggers, then BAM, there it is. It’s undeniable. Even though our conscious minds may go through many tricks to deny the reality of the match, it’s clearly there. Destiny doesn’t have to be grandiose, and we have multiple destinies. Evolutionary psychologists have done an awful lot of research on destinies that are not so healthy for us, such as our destiny for aggression (given just the right triggers), our destiny for sexual attraction (given just the right triggers), and our destiny for the thirst for power and status (given just the right triggers).

But what about positive destiny? Here too we have many destinies. Maybe it’s that perfect match with that violin, or a perfect match with that person you see at Starbucks every week, or that perfect match you have with that volunteer organization. I believe we spend a disproportionate amount of time avoiding our positive destinies.

  • No, I can’t be a violinist because I have to be a teacher (actually, you don’t have to be anything).
  • No, I can’t be with her because then I will limit all my options (trust me, you don’t have as many options as you think you do).
  • No, I can’t volunteer for that group because it would take time away from my main job which makes me money (is the money really worth the pain of your job?)
  • And on and on.

It has occurred to me that probably those who are the happiest and most fulfilled in life are those that just ignore their destructive destinies and fully embrace their positive destinies head on and with the full vigor of life. Or at the very least, they’ve accepted their positive destinies, and have made peace with them (they have also accepted their destructive destinies but they just step over them). They aren’t always on the lookout for what else could be, because they really know when they met their destiny. We spend a lot of time in psychology trying to determine all of the various factors that lead to happiness, but I think this is probably the most understudied factor of them all.

Now, you may be wondering how choice is possible if these are destinies. Well, I also think free will exists. That’s right, I think both destiny and free will exists! Destiny is always there, a constant force in our lives moment to moment. Then again, our consciousness is also always there (at least when we’re awake and have had a certain amount of coffee), moment to moment, a constant force in our lives. I believe we can override our destiny. If our destiny is to get addicted to cocaine, we can intentionally avoid the cocaine. If our destiny is to cheat on all of our partners, we can still not cheat on all of our partners. I’m not saying it’s easy to override our destructive destinies. Gosh, sometimes it may seem downright impossible. But I really do believe that we have some power to do so, and even more important than overriding our destructive destinies, is our power to embrace our positive destinies.

Stop fighting the current of what’s meant for your growth because you are spending your entire life pursuing what is not meant for you. I guarantee that you will be much happier than you ever thought possible.


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