The Difference Between Fate and Destiny

What’s the Difference Between Fate and Destiny?

Mateo Sol

Image Credit: hipahipa 


Fate and destiny are both terms that tend to be used interchangeably in conversations.  We hear people saying “He met his fate” and “It must be her destiny” – but have you ever wondered what the actual differences between fate and destiny are?

If you’re wanting to discover what path you’re on, I want to help you find a clear answer by the end of this article.


“Fate” comes from the Latin word Fatum meaning “that which has been spoken.”  Therefore, through the ages, fate has come to be associated with that which has been predetermined for our lives.  It is based on the notion that there is a natural order in the Universe which cannot be changed, no matter how hard we try.  The ancient Greeks and Romans even believed that three goddesses called Clotho, Lachesis, and Atropos (or theThree Fates”) had the role of determining a person’s ultimate life path.

Overall, fate tends to have pretty negative connotations.  For example, people who experience misfortune often tend to believe that fate is the cause.  Pessimistic terms such as “to seal one’s fate” and “a fate worse than death” all suggest that fate is something undesirable and negative.

Spiritually, fate is what occurs when we ignore our life calling and don’t actively work to reconnect with our souls or True Nature.  When we leave our lives up to fate, we are basically handing over the reigns of control to other people and outside circumstances.  When we don’t put any effort into consciously changing and evolving, what happens is fate.


Destiny has much more positive connotations than fate.  Deriving from the Latin word Destinare, destiny means “that which has been firmly established.”  While this definition also refers to the idea of predetermined events, destiny is something we can actively shape and alter.  Unlike fate, there is an element of choice in destiny.  Qualities such as courage, compassion, willpower, and patience can all help to change your destiny.

Spiritually, destiny is intimately connected to our ultimate life path.  When we choose to step up and take responsibility for our lives, then we are actively shaping our destiny instead of leaving our lives to fate.  Fulfilling our destiny involves consciously developing a connection to our deepest inner selves and maturing on an emotional, mental, and spiritual level.

What’s the Difference Between Fate and Destiny (Summarized)

Fate is that which you cannot change.  Destiny is that which you’re meant to do.  While fate is what happens when you don’t take responsibility for your life, destiny is what happens when you commit to growing, learning, and taking chances.  Being “destined for greatness” only comes through active and conscious decisions.  But fate is what happens when you let other people and external circumstance dictate your life.

Do We Have Control?

Fate and destiny can be perceived as two sides of the same coin: both are predetermined.  But the important thing to remember is that there are infinite possibilities in life.  Fulfilling our destiny means consciously directing the stream of our lives in a certain direction.  While subjectively this means (to the ego) that we have control and choice, objectively, there is no such thing as control or choice because the concept of “me” and “you” don’t exist (except in the mind).

So the answer to the question “do we have control” is paradoxical: we do and we do not have control.  However, while we are still operating on the level of having a sense of self (ego), it is vital that we proactively work to step up and take responsibility for our destiny.


As long as you are consciously seeking to learn, grow, and spiritually evolve, you are fulfilling your destiny.  However, if you’re wanting to achieve your highest potential, you might benefit from the following tips:

• Develop self-understanding. There are so many free resources out there (including this website)
which can help you understand who you are better.  Our free tests section is a great place to start.

• Find out what you’re passionate about. What sets your soul on fire?  What excites and thrills you?
What do you admire and deeply enjoy doing?  Make sure you keep doing whatever fulfills you.

• Surround yourself with supportive people who inspire you. Critics and judgmental people often
trigger huge amounts of self-doubt within us.  Sometimes we actually listen to these unsupportive
people who tell us how to “live our lives,” resulting in us choosing the wrong
 life path.  Identify people
in your life who are negative influences and remove them or reduce contact. Seek out kind, inspiring,
and empathetic friends.

• Permit yourself to move out of your comfort zone. Often, the biggest life changes occur when
we make bold decisions.  Sometimes fulfilling your destiny means getting a little bit uncomfortable or
even making a terrifying leap of faith.  Whatever the case, make sure you listen to your
 intuition and
also use logic where necessary.

• Identify limiting beliefs. When we believe our thoughts, we experience anger, insecurity, sadness,
shame, and anxiety. The number one greatest block most people experience when trying to fulfill their
destiny are core beliefs. Core beliefs are the main ideas we carry about ourselves which we were
conditioned to believe since birth. Common core beliefs include “I am unworthy,” “I am stupid,” “I am
a bad person,” and “I don’t deserve happiness.” Read more about
 core beliefs.

• Ask other people for support. You don’t need to travel your journey alone.  If you need some
guidance, seek out help from a loved one, counselor or
 spiritual teacher.  People who have walked
this path before you can share a lot of wisdom which will benefit you greatly.  I like to say a simple
prayer asking for guidance when I need help.  Prayer doesn’t have to be religious – you can pray to
Life, the Universe, Spirit, the Mystery, or whatever moves you.

• Make a list of all your strengths. This simple practice can help to direct your energy in a more
sustainable and beneficial way.

• Remember that setbacks are normal. There is no such thing as failure, only learning opportunities.
If something doesn’t go your way, take a deep breath and realize that sometimes life wants us to
move in a different direction.

• Create goals. Goals are clearly defined milestones which can help you to get organized and
prioritize what is most important to you.

• Show kindness towards yourself. The more love and compassion you show towards yourself,
the more you are naturally moving towards your ultimate destiny. 
Be mindful of negative and critical
thoughts and let them pass without attaching to them.

• Be yourself. There has never been a person exactly like you on the face of this planet, ever.
Instead of imitating other people, explore what comes most naturally to you. There are too many
people out there copycatting others.  Be yourself.  Explore your own style.  Enjoy the peace that
comes with not having to be someone you’re not.

• Ask yourself, “What do I want the most in life?” and direct all of your attention towards fulfilling
that goal.  Do you want freedom, peace of mind, love?  When all’s said and done, everything returns
back to the desire for happiness. However, remember that chasing happiness actually creates suffering.
Happiness can never be found in the past or future: it can only ever be found now, in the present
moment.  Therefore, to further refine the question, you might like to ask yourself “How can I enjoy
life right now, in the present moment?”

Has this article helped you to discover the difference between fate and destiny?  I hope the tips here have inspired you to actively shape your life path, rather than leaving it down to the forces of fate.