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Choosing Your Destiny

  • Les & Leslie Parrott for the eHarmony Research Library
  • 2003 31 Jul
Choosing Your Destiny

It's so easy to be passive - to move through life simply reacting to outside forces. Like passengers on a bumpy bus ride, we watch the scenery flash by our widow as life happens around us. We show up, sit back, and let fate determine our destination. It's been said that most of us plan more for a Christmas party than we do for our lives.


And when it comes to achieving wholeness, to building a solid sense of identity and self-worth, we want something to happen to us. Like magic, we want to be zapped with an insight, with wisdom, or even a mystical experience that will change us. 


The problem is you don't catch a sense of self-worth from reading a book or attending a seminar or seeing a therapist. Self-worth comes from hard work. It is earned. It comes from dreaming to make a difference and then making the sacrifices to make your dreams a reality. Wholeness is forged from your efforts. You will never achieve it as a mere passenger, you must sit in the driver's seat. In his play Don Juan in Hell, George Bernard Shaw correctly concluded: "Hell is to drift, heaven is to steer."


Taking responsibility for your destiny will determine the kinds of relationships you build. People without a growing sense of wholeness, without responsibility, have hellish relationships. They behave more like beggars than choosers.  Consider the dating game.


It seems that even some species of the animal kingdom have more relationship savvy than we humans. When it comes to choosing a mate, for example, a female penguin knows better than to fall for the first creep who pulls up and honks.  She holds out for the fittest suitor available. The Asian jungle bird Gallus is just as choosy. And so is the female scorpion fly. But when it comes to human relationships, it seems that far too often little effort goes into selecting and choosing. Why? Because we lack initiative, purpose and clear-cut goals.


All of your relationships, if they are to be healthy, must be predicated on your having an identity, forging a purpose, having courage, and making commitments to things outside yourself. Once you take an active role in the quality of your own life, other people share in your growth rather than becoming responsible for it.


If you are serious about writing your own destiny, however, you will need a couple of tools. To begin with you'll want a personal statement of purpose and a small set of meaningful goals. Your purpose will set your course and your goals will serve as your road map to being the person you were meant to be. 


Some of the most advanced corporations make a practice of "revisiting" their mission statement every few years. They study the document that sets forth their original aims and then measure their performance. At regular intervals companies look at whether the aims of the business have fallen out of sync with its mission statement, whether these aims need to be brought back into line, or whether the statement itself needs to be rewritten to reflect current realities. 


As individuals, we need to do the same thing. A purpose statement keeps us on track. How do you write a personal purpose statement? You have to answer one question for yourself as honestly as you can: What do I really want from life? Once you determine this, you can craft specific goals that will help you achieve your purpose.


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