The Difference Between Fate and Destiny – Are You Doomed?

Difference Between Fate and Destiny

The difference between fate and destiny is quite simple. It boils down to a belief. You either believe in fate or you believe in destiny.

Very rarely will someone believe in both? In fact, it is not possible to believe in both ideas at the same time because there is an inherent contradiction.

It’s been said that this contradiction is the reason for the smirk on the face of the Buddha.

This contradiction of whether we are in control of our own lives or whether there is some greater force at work…pulling the strings.

Understanding the differences between fate and destiny can help to un-muddle this contradiction and give you some greater insights into creating your life and following your true purpose and calling.

What Is Fate?

Fate is that which you have no control over. It refers to events and circumstances that we believe is controlled and predetermined by God, the universe or some supernatural power.

We tend to use the word fate quite freely in our everyday language and for the most part, it has a very negative connotation.

Misfortunes or “bad luck” or many catastrophes we usually refer to as fate. These events that are completely out of our control and for the lack of an explanation as to why it happens we simply revert to calling it fate.

In Greek and Roman mythology, The Fates were the three goddesses who preceded over the birth of all humans.

It was believed that each human had a specific life path assigned to them t birth. A path they could not change and had no say in.

Later religious doctrines from the early Christian churches adopted this idea as a means to keep people their control.

The idea of fate removes a person’s free will from the equation. No matter what you do, no matter how hard you try. You are doomed to a certain fate.

Like so many mythological tales, this idea of fate has stuck around is one of the biggest lies ever told. We now know that we have free will and the power of decision – something that people in ancient times did not fully understand.

When you believe that your life is controlled by a pre-determined fate then you are controlled by fear.

Fear has been used since the beginning of time by the ruling classes to control the masses.

So, what does all this mean in our modern world and our daily lives?

Most people who subscribe to religious doctrines still believe that their live paths are predetermined and that God has already mapped out their entire lives.

Many people feel like their lives are out of control and like they have no real “say” in what is happening with their lives.

One of the most empowering understanding we can get from the law of attraction is how we are indeed co-creators in our lives. We are not doomed to any fate.

We are in fact called to fulfill our destiny.

What Is Destiny?

The word destiny is derived from “destination” and implies that our lives are heading towards a specific “place” or destination. This is not so much a physical place as it is a spiritual place.

While the common belief is that your destiny is also pre-determined, unlike fate, your destiny is is a path you have to forge yourself.

Destiny is a mere potential; a possibility that exists and a path that is available. This path is laid out in front of you with many challenges great and small.

Meeting these challenges, overcoming them and growing through these life experiences is what unfolds the path in front of you.

The ultimate realization then is that your destiny is not about reaching a specific destination but rather the experience of uncovering the path. It is by discovering your own unique path that your destiny is revealed.

Your destiny is the path your soul wants you to take through this life for it to experiences what it came here to experience.

When you are on the path towards your soul’s destiny we often refer to you being “on purpose”.

When you realize that you don’t have a soul, you ARE a soul and you are not here to work 36 hours a week, take 2 weeks holiday a year, pay bills, have 2 kids, drive a Toyota Prius, buy a house in the suburbs and retire when you are 60.

Most people’s life paths take on some variation of that which rarely translates into them ever living on purpose.

When you are living on purpose and moving towards your destiny your life is rarely a cookie-cutter life. When you are authentically you, you live your passions and pursue your soul’s calling then you are often seen as a weirdo or the odd one out.

The irony is that when you look at people in the culture who are “super successful” they are usually the misfits or the dreamers. They are the ones who follow their own inner calling and move towards their destiny.

They do not resign to fate.

The Differences Between Fate and Destiny

While fate and destiny both imply some predetermined end, they are very different concepts. Your fate is the default your life will revert to if you do not use your own power to direct and steer your life in a particular direction.

If you believe that your life is controlled by fate and that you have no power and no say in what happens to you then that will be your experience of life.

I see this all the time with religious people. They give up and surrender their true God-given power for the sake of some doctrine that was established more than 300 years ago.

One person gets a cancer diagnosis and decides that it is their fate and they roll over and die. Another person gets a cancer diagnosis. They see it as challenge and a signpost that is steering them into a new direction.

They battle themselves, their own minds, beliefs and in the process of overcoming the challenge, they find themselves on a new path. They become an inspiration to millions and help change the world.

The only real difference between these two people is that one believed in fate and the other in destiny.

The differences between fate and destiny reveal themselves differently in different people’s lives but here are some common differences between fate and destiny.

You feel completely out of control and you have no influence over events and circumstancesYou understand how your thoughts, words, and actions create your experiences
Your ego is in charge of your lifeYour soul or higher self is in charge of your life
You believe that fate will decide your future. All you can do is hope for the best.You know deep down that there is something greater for you
You give up on trying and pursuing your dreams and just go with the flowYou have hardened your will and have a determined persistence to live the life you desire
You live in fear – you just hope that fate has not got something really bad in store for youYou live in gratitude – you see the gift of life and your own power to create your experience
Life is happening TO youLife is happening FOR you
You feel stressed and drainedYou feel inspired and guided
You wake up anxious and worried about the day aheadYou wake up excited and energised by the day ahead
You just want an easy lifeYou want a fulfilling life
Most life decisions are made for you by defaultYou consciously make your own life decisions (especially the way you think and feel)

Lessons From Fate and Destiny

We can not have a sensible discussion about fate and destiny without talking about Joseph Campbell and his marvelous writings. He was one of the great philosophers/authors of our time and wrote passionately about mythology.

In his most famous book, The Hero’s Journey he outlines the story of every hero. It is also the story we see in almost every Hollywood movie.

The hero goes on a journey to find what he wants. On this journey, he is met with seemingly insurmountable challenges. These challenges make him doubt himself, his life and every aspect of existence, yet he stands tall.

He finds it in himself to take on the challenges and in the process of “sleighing the beast” he finds his true strength.

In the process of overcoming these challenges on his path, he uncovers a whole different path. What he thought he was looking for becomes insignificant as he discovers his true destiny.

We see this story in some form, in almost every movie. It is a story about destiny.

I believe that the reason why people are so attracted to see hundreds of movies with almost exactly the same storyline is that when we watch these movies, the stories resonance with us on a very deep level.

You must be willing to give up the life you planned, in order to have the life that is waiting for you.

– Joseph Campbell

Your destiny is rarely the cookie-cutter life that is laid out for you by your parents, your circle of friends, or society.

Your destiny is your inner calling.

It is what your soul calls you to.

It is a path or a journey of self-actualization and is the path to true happiness and fulfillment in life.

Following your destiny is rarely the easy path in life. In fact, it is often the opposite. When you pursue your destiny you will face many challenges – many of them will seem unsurmountable.

It is in overcoming these challenges that your path unfolds.

The cave you fear to enter holds the treasure you seek.

– Joseph Campbell

In mythology, the idea of a sorcerer looking into his crystal ball and seeing the future has fascinated mankind.

By nature, human beings do not like the unknown. The unknown is not safe and your entire nervous system is wired to keep you safe.

Even today there are many clairvoyants who claim they can see into the future. While there certainly are people who can tap into frequencies and energy from a future time, nobody can “predict” the future.

Even the greatest clairvoyant in history, Nostradamus has been wrong more than he has been right.

Clairvoyants can be dangerous – especially the fake ones. They can turn your fate into your destiny.

Choosing Between Fate And Destiny

As I mentioned in the opening, fate and destiny ultimately boils down to your beliefs. You may have had many life experiences that made you form the belief that life is either one or the other.

Only when you start seeing life in a more spiritual light and understand that you are indeed co-creating your life you will see how fate is really an illusion.

Until you make the unconscious conscious, it will direct your life and you will call it fate.

– Karl Jung

Most of what we call fate in our modern culture is simply experiences and events that we attract into our lives through the way think and feel. The law of attraction is universal and is always at work.

As your consciousness evolves and you start listening to the inner callings of your soul – calling you to your destiny, you start moving in a different direction in your life.

Some of the things you can do to actively follow your own destiny includes:

  • Finding your purpose
  • Meditating
  • Learning and studying spirituality and higher consciousness
  • DO more of what you love (things that make you feel alive)
  • End toxic relationships (where there’s no love)
  • Build dreams, set goals and create intentions
  • Hang out with people who already are what you want to become

Living your life on purpose rarely shows up at your front door. It wants to be discovered.

It is the journey of discovery and moving through your life towards a destination (or destiny) that will unfold your soul’s true desire to experience life through you.


With a passion for spirituality, self discovery, and understanding this life, Neod spends his time musing about what is, what could be and what might come about. After writing for 20 years he's still growing, learning, exploring and sharing with love, joy and compassion.

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