Embrace Your Fate
“Human greatness is love of fate: That one wants nothing to be different, not in the future, not in the past, not for all eternity. Not only endure what is necessary, still less conceal it, but love it.” —Friedrich Nietzsche
Welcome back, class!
Joe here. In this final lesson of our “Bouncing Back from Failure” course, Jordan and I want to help you embrace your fate and love your own unique life path.
Your Path Is Your Own
Your life history is unique. Not a single person in all the world has the exact same life history as you do. No one else has experienced what you have experienced, faced the same decisions as you, or been in the same situation that you are in right now. No matter how badly recent events have gone, you are still in the game. You can still make decisions, so by definition, you are still a player.
What you aren’t is a victim. Everything you might say to convince yourself or others that this is the case may be completely true and accurate. None of it matters. A victim cannot influence the course of future events, but a player can. There is no benefit to you in convincing yourself that you are a victim. All that will do is rob you of the chance to participate in the future.
Once you abandon the role of the victim and determine that you will be a player, you cannot sustain the idea that what has happened in the past is necessarily bad or unfair. Because you are a player, you need to embrace both the past and the present and recognize that everything that has happened has led up to this present moment. You need to make full use of what you’ve learned to improve the future.
Embracing what has already happened in the service of taking the best possible action now brings us to the idea of amor fati, or “embracing your fate.” It’s healthiest to see our entire lives—past, present, and future—as a fate that we welcome.
Once you accept past events, you need to take ownership of them. This doesn’t mean that you need to assume responsibility for absolutely everything that has happened to you in your life. Simply take full ownership of what you contributed to, and then you will be ready to take on the future. You cannot take responsibility for events that were beyond your control. But you can think about how you might limit the fallout from those events or even prevent them from affecting your goals in the future.
Jocko Willink, a Navy SEAL and popular author and podcast host, talks about “extreme ownership,” and this is exactly what he means: “You own whatever has happened, whatever got you here, in order to do the best you can possibly do in the future.” He uses the word “ownership” rather than “responsibility,” and that distinction is important. You can be responsible for your own plans, actions, and outcomes but not for the plans, actions, or outcomes of others. Even your own areas of responsibility are still affected by random chance: Your “best laid” plans can still be thwarted by rare or unexpected events. “Ownership” means that you accept what has happened and do your best to achieve the outcomes you want in the future. It does not mean that you beat yourself up about the bad outcomes outside of your control. Not only would that be unfair to you, but it would be a distraction from focusing on where you are now and where you want to be next.
Loving the Past, Present, and Future
Loving the past takes you one step further into ownership. The past has already happened; it is done. In order to accept and fully learn from it, you need to first set aside the desire for it to have happened differently. Love what has happened as a part of your entire life. With everything that has happened and everything that you have learned from it, you will make wiser decisions in the present.
Love the present moment because it is a part of your life.
Finally, love the future because it represents your best effort. Future events will happen. Some of what happens will be under your control, and some will be outside of your control. Some things will go your way, and some will not. It doesn’t matter. You will do your best and let go of the outcome, embracing whatever happens in the future and knowing that you have done your best. This is loving the future. Bring all three mindsets together—your love for the past, your love for the present, and your love for the future—and you will find yourself accepting your fate and loving your life.
Your Actions Matter
Now, imagine that your entire life is stretched out before you. Don’t worry about questions of free will or predestination; just imagine that you can see the entire sequence of events, from beginning to end. That is your fate. Now imagine that this sequence is repeated, indefinitely, over and over again. This is philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche’s idea of “Eternal Return” (or “Eternal Recurrence”): What has happened already will happen again. How will you act in the moment if what you do now will be repeated, over and over again, for eternity? Will you spend any time regretting what has already happened or complaining about how your plans have turned out? Or, will you decide that the sequence of your repeated lifetime is the only thing that matters—that you should focus all your effort on absorbing the lessons of the past and making the maximum use of the present?
These ideas are tools to help you think about your life and your choices. Distancing yourself from failure, knowing when to take a second to breathe, being a player (not a victim), taking ownership of your past, and loving your life are all important tools for achieving success in your life, and all are well within your grasp.
We are all counting on you to realize that even though you might have failed at one point in your life, that failure is not the end. You have the ability to learn from your failure and achieve far greater things in your life. This situation has provided you with lessons that you can use to succeed, to help others, and to make all of society better. Your family, your friends, and your community need you to get up, brush yourself off, and get back in the game. We are rooting for your success, and we know you have the ability to bounce back from failure.
That’s a Wrap!
Thank you for spending the duration of this course with us. We hope you enjoyed this class and found the lessons to be helpful.
Also, thank you to all the friends who graciously gave their time to review this course during its draft phase. We truly appreciate all your excellent feedback and advice, and we are blessed to have you in our lives.
This was the third course that Jordan has created for Highbrow. If you enjoyed it, then now’s a great time to enroll in his other two classes: “Building a Network for Success” and “Mastering Your Conversations.”
Let us know what you thought about this “Bouncing Back From Failure” course (good or bad) and what you think should be included in the next course by sending us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Also, don’t forget to leave a review at gohighbrow.com.
If you’re interested in helping us review our upcoming classes, then please fill out this form.
Until next time,
Joe Ternasky and Jordan Thibodeau
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