Whatever limits us we call fate. ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson
There exists no greater prison than the prison of the mind, and there is no greater darkness than the darkness you think is light. This is the epitome of self-deception, and self-deception is when you’re living your life according to a false belief that you conjured up. Nobody made you believe it. You created it yourself.
Self-deception is the guard that keeps you existing in a doorless prison cell. That’s right. There is no door. You could leave it at any time, but you don’t. You choose to remain there because of the intimidation and control of the guard, and he has you grossly deceived.
He rules by the power of suggestion, but he can never offer proof for what he says. He claims to know your future, but his only evidence is the past. If anyone else speaks a different message into your life, he is the one who deflects it from ever finding a home in your heart. Oddly, you like him. You’re used to him. You keep him around because he is the one who justifies your failure.
This is self-deception, and his highest aspiration for you is that you’re one day buried deep along with your gifts, talents, skills, and resources. He knows it’s only a matter of time before you’re too old to step out of the prison cell and take a chance on yourself. He’s patient, and he’ll remain in your way for as long as you allow him.
Fatalism is Fatal
There is no self-deception so fatal as that of fatalism, and there is no self-deceiving idea more limiting to your progress than the idea that there is a fate from which you cannot escape. What is fatalism? It’s when whatever happens to you happens because it always happens. That’s the mind trap of fatalism.
I meet so many people that are imprisoned by some form of fatalism. For some, the evidence is extreme. They believe there is a fate from which they can’t escape. Their parents amounted to nothing. Their grandparents amounted to nothing. Their siblings are dead, or in jail, and an equally dark future awaits them.
The fatalist is powerless over his or her future, and nothing can be done to avoid the predetermined path that the Universe selected for them. They try to hope, but the gloom of their heritage blankets what little light they have with the black clouds of despair. They are trapped, and so they learn to accept their lot.
This is what it’s like when you live with fatalism. This is the binding existence you’ll remain in so long as you believe you were born to lose, or that you’re destined to always have darkness follow you throughout your life. You believe your fate is already determined, so you exist with those self-imposed limitations.
It happens to all of us, but not all of us remain in the prison cell. For some, the light of possibility slices like silver blades through the dusty mist of their mind prison and they follow it out of their bondage. The light penetrates their mind and we realize we can decide to escape our past, and we weren’t born to lose. There’s no fate that awaits us, and there’s no chains that can keep us back. Liberty is born in us, and we will not be imprisoned again.
Today’s Decisions are the Only Things That Determine Your Future
Fatalism is a belief—nothing more. It’s an adopted outlook on life that only appears to have evidence to support it, and you can change the course you think your life is supposed to take.
This is the philosophical question behind the film Forrest Gump where the gnawing tension throughout the story is whether there is a fate from which one cannot escape, or “life is just a box of chocolates because you never know what you’re going to get.”
The Lieutenant Dan character said he was supposed to die in the jungles of Vietnam as his predecessors had died in war, but Forrest Gump changed that deadly cycle and only later did Lieutenant Dan come to terms with it. Yet, it seemed as if Forrest Gump—an intentional simpleton—could not escape his good fortune. The only things Forrest could not control was the love of a woman and the death of his mother.
If there is a destiny, you don’t know what it is. If there is a predetermined plan for your life, you have no way of finding it out. Therefore, why worry about it? The sum total of your present life was only determined by the decisions you’ve made, and the future will be no different.
Your future is not written down unless you get busy putting a plan together to make it what you want it be. That’s why the enemy of fate is your own determination to take control of your future. Either you let people and circumstances determine your life for you, or you become the cause that creates the kind of life that you want. Will you be acted upon, or will you take action? The decision is exclusively yours, and you need to start exercising the power of your will.