An 11 year-old boy was given the homework assignment of writing a letter to his future self. He wrote: “I’m 5 feet two inches 91 pounds. Good athlet [sic]. I think in 7 years I will be between 6 ft to 6ft 4 inches 140 pounds. I hope to go to a good college in football. Then go to the pros and play on the niners or the packers even if they aren’t good in seven years. My friends are Jason, Kyle, Leo, Spencer, Mark and Jacob.” This student, Colin Kaepernick, achieved his dream in remarkable fashion. Seven years after writing his vision he became the starting quarterback for the University of Nevada, Reno football team. Four years later, after a stellar college career, he was drafted by the San Francisco Forty-Niners.
At age 11 Colin knew that he wanted to play football for the San Francisco Forty-Niners. Eleven years later he was doing just that. One interpretation of this story would be that Colin was the master of his destiny. He developed and achieved a goal through his own hard work and determination. This is an attractive perspective. It reinforces the idea that we are in charge of our lives; we can choose who we become. There is a problem with this viewpoint, however. There were probably hundreds of boys Colin’s age pursuing the same dream. Several of them may have had similar athletic potential and worked just as hard as Colin. Yet, only he achieved the dream.
A more realistic interpretation of the story is that Colin’s vision carried the imprint of his destiny. Etched upon his soul was a calling which would require his effort and commitment to be fulfilled. It is not so much that Colin created his destiny as it is he assisted in its unfolding. You can make the sacrifices and do the work, but these things are only one part of the equation of your life. The crucial factor, and the one which you cannot control, is your calling, your destiny.
From sports and business psychology to New Age philosophy, much is made of the power of your beliefs and visions to mold and create your future. This perspective is a pipedream of the ego. Success in life does not flow from the strength and stubbornness of your consciously held beliefs and visions. Success occurs when your beliefs and visions are aligned with your true nature and inherent destiny.
Although you don’t get to choose your destiny, you are given the freedom to embrace and honor it. This may seem disappointing to you, but it is actually a priceless gift. If you could choose your destiny, your life would be little more than an extended ego trip. But when your destiny comes from somewhere beyond you, embracing it becomes an act of love, and life itself becomes an amazing journey of self-discovery.