What role does choice play in your life? Can you change your destiny?

To-morrow, and to-morrow, and to-morrow,
Creeps in this petty pace from day to day,
To the last syllable of recorded time;
And all our yesterdays have lighted fools
The way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle!
Life’s but a walking shadow; a poor player,
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage,
And then is heard no more: it is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Signifying nothing.” (Macbeth, V, v, 19, Shakespeare)

The above passage is perhaps the most famous speech in literature, spoken by Macbeth after learning of his wife’s suicide. Why does this macabre and depressing analysis of life hold so much meaning for us? Is it because, like Macbeth, we sometimes feel a powerlessness and futility to life? What is our “recorded time?” Is this the time we are destined to live? Do you believe the time and date of your death is fixed?

I think it might be inevitable to believe that we are fixed by fate and that life is controlled by forces and events beyond our power to influence. Nevertheless, we see countless examples of people who have changed the world for the better by denying the concept of predestination and fate. Macbeth brought his own destiny upon him by his greed and avarice. We go through life making choices and these choices decide what we will become. We are more than candles and poor players upon a stage. We may not quite be Nietzsche’s Superman, but we are a great deal more than fools and idiots. We are not all powerful but neither are we powerless.

I am always reminded of the serenity prayer: Please help me to know the difference between those things I can change and those things I cannot. This is one example of pure wisdom. We can change some things and we cannot change others. What will you become if you do not try? What can you change today in your life? What needs to be changed that you have felt powerless to change? What destiny are you following that is painful? Who can you find that could help you change? There is always someone out there who can and will help you? Do you need to find that person today?

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