The Real Difference Between Fate And Destiny—And How You Can Harness Both

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We hear the terms used all the time. Heroes being told in movies that whatever battle they’re about to face is their destiny, or those with immense talents being told it was fate that they were gifted in such a way, but what do those words actually mean?

It’s not uncommon for people to use them interchangeably, but in reality, they couldn’t be more different. Come learn what the real difference is between the two and how you can use both to shape a better future for yourself

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Set In Stone

Fate and destiny are both terms regarding one’s future. They’re often thought of as pre-determined plans, paths set before us before we’re even born that dictate what our lives will consist of and what themes will be present throughout.

A crystal ball on a table with smoke behind it.
Canva / Aleksandr Kichigin
Canva / Aleksandr Kichigin

Will we grow to be wildly famous? How many children will we have? Will we make a difference in the world? All questions that are already answered thanks to our fate or destiny.

It’s Not Quite That Simple

While it’s common to think of both fate and destiny as the same thing, there’s a large difference between them; one that makes it impossible to conflate the two once you’re aware.

A tall stalk of purple flowers among a field of yellow flowers.
Unsplash / Dan Meyers
Unsplash / Dan Meyers

Learning the true meanings also lends strength, as knowing what’s in your hands versus out of your control opens you up to new opportunities.

So, What Is Fate?

Fate is closer to the definition written out above. Fate is that set path, the track you were placed upon once your life began.

Some tarot cards laid out with a hand holding up The Sun card.
Unsplash / petr sidorov
Unsplash / petr sidorov

Fate tells us that our struggles are unavoidable while our victories are won from the start, and while it can be comforting to know that there’s nothing we can do to change these aspects of our lives, it can also be frustrating for that very same reason.

And What Is Destiny?

Unlike fate, destiny can be changed.

The word 'destiny' in a dictionary being focused on
Getty Images via Canva / ercegokhan
Getty Images via Canva / ercegokhan

Destiny is sort of a predetermined role, but not in the ‘you will end up here no matter what’ sense. Instead, our destiny is something we have the potential to become if we want it badly enough.

We can fulfill our destiny by working towards it, chasing it, and actively striving to make the most out of our lives. You can also alter your destiny by taking different approaches or changing the perspective through which you achieve your goals.

Levels Of Control

That’s right, the main difference between fate and destiny is whether or not you’re able to influence it. Both are cosmic forces that work in mysterious ways, ones we cannot see or directly manipulate, but both have an immense impact on our lives.

A man stands before a fork in the road, contemplating which way he should go.
Canva / pixelshot
Canva / pixelshot

They can also work in tandem. Destiny can be seen as the end goal while fate makes up the bumps in the road we travel on to get there.

Not Everyone Agrees

Some people prefer to put more stock in destiny, while others strongly subscribe to fate being the sole deciding factor for life’s outcomes.

A sign on a trail that points to the future ahead, and past behind.
Unsplash / Hadija Saidi
Unsplash / Hadija Saidi

It’s all personal preference. Are you the type that likes to give up control, is happy to follow, and wants to do the best you can within a set of boundaries decided for you? Then you may be a fate person.

If you’re someone who prefers to take charge, lead, and make all the big decisions while others follow in your footsteps, then you may like the idea of destiny more.

There’s No Right Answer

Neither of the traits listed are inherently good or bad, and there’s no consensus on whether or not fate is a better belief system than destiny or vice versa.

A ceiling decorated with paper suns and moons.
Unsplash / Nastya Dulhiier
Unsplash / Nastya Dulhiier

In the end, all that matters is that you’re comfortable in your beliefs and confident in your path, whether or not you have any control over it.

How To Shape Your Destiny

If you are interested in getting a hold of your destiny, there are some simple steps that can help bring you closer to shaping your future.

A man standing before a mountain range sprawling before him.
Unsplash / Chris Hayashi
Unsplash / Chris Hayashi

They’re all rather ambiguous as they’re heavily dependent on present aspects of your life, but some of the ways you can start shifting your destiny are by setting goals, seeking new experiences outside of your comfort zone, and always learning more about yourself.

How This Helps

Setting goals and getting out of your comfort zone proves to the universe that you got this. You will not be restricted by the confines put upon you; you have the strength to rise above your current position. It proves your drive, curiosity, and love for the world.

A set of binoculars against a colorful sky.
Pexels / Michael Zittel
Pexels / Michael Zittel

Learning about yourself aids in self-awareness, while giving you more avenues to chase. If you keep trying new hobbies and find that you feel very passionately about one, that’s something you can pursue that you might never have thought of before!

The Power Is In Your Hands

That not only includes the power to change your destiny but the power to stick to fate as well. Many people find that following what’s already been laid out for them is much easier and more comforting than stressing about changing things. Once again, there’s no right or wrong answer, just the one you feel most drawn to.

A woman writing in a journal as she looks away thoughtfully.
Pexels / Andrea Piacquadio
Pexels / Andrea Piacquadio

You can even work both into your beliefs. Chasing one’s destiny is great when it’s doable, when you have the means and mental capacity to constantly work yourself, but things happen, and sometimes resting on fate for a while grants you space to do some necessary healing.

So kick back and let fate takes you where it will, or stand up and reshape your destiny how you see fit. So long as your path is good and no one gets harmed along the way, it’s up to you.

Take a quick zodiac reading here to find out what the universe has to say about you right now.

For more personalized information check out this personalized report based on date of birth. Understand your purpose and your potential so that you can take control of your emotions, your life, and your future by clicking HERE.

Daniel Mitchell-Benoit

Dan is a content writer with three years of experience under their belt, having mostly covered viral media but now shifting toward spirituality and astrology. He’s a strong believer in using one’s beliefs as a means of self-improvement and being in touch with whatever messages the universe has to offer.

He can’t wait to share his insights with a[…]