“I have noticed even people who claim everything is predestined, and that we can do nothing to change it, look before they cross the road.” - Stephen Hawking
There are many who believe that everything that happens is predetermined. For some people, predestination is based in their religious beliefs. Others think fate decides what will happen. There are even secular philosophies based on the laws of physics that state everything that happened since the Big Bang, including our thoughts, were unstoppable.
The thought of predestination can be both frightening and calming. Waking up every day, knowing that what will happen will happen. And there’s nothing you can do about it.
This is a world-view that I won’t accept. There are many things out of our control – nature, time, other people – just to name a few. Sometimes unexpected events occur, and we experience joy and happiness. Just as often, the unpredictable brings pain and sadness.
We can accept that we can’t change the things that happen to us – but we can decide how we will respond. We can withdraw and isolate ourselves or reach out and share. When we share joy, we multiply its effects. When we share pain, we allow the opportunity for others to come to our aid and comfort.
Not knowing what awaits us doesn’t mean we can’t plan for what is yet to come. The opposite is true – not knowing what will happen next frees us to create – or at least impact – the future. Our actions and decisions today prepare us for the unknown of tomorrow.
We have a choice to make. We can decide that our future is preordained, so the best we can do is slog through life. Wake up each day knowing that our efforts to create change are futile, so we don’t even try. Whatever good or bad happens is left to the fates, or physics.
Or we can dare to dream. We can choose to make the effort to achieve our goals. There will be unexpected challenges, obscured paths, and people that will work against us. There will even be moments of failure.
But the decision to make the attempt is ours.