Fate vs perseverance

This post was brought about by an off-hand comment by a friend of a friend. She might not even have realised the words she choose but for me the use of the word “fate” resonated and it got me thinking.

Our new housemate had a few friends over for a drink last week. It’s coming up to Halloween, and because I live in North America, this is a fun holiday of dress-ups and decorations. So when there was a teenage mutant ninja turtle mask sitting in a handbag I asked who’s Halloween costume it was. This one friend of my housemate piped up and excitedly told me the story of how she’d seen a ninja turtle onesie and mask at a thrift store when she’d been travelling recently. She hadn’t bought it at the time because she was travelling. But once she’d left she regretted the decision and desperately wanted the outfit for Halloween. So she searched everywhere – thrift stores, the internet, costume stores, facebook “buy and sell” groups, everywhere until finally she found it. To me she said “it was fate that I found it”.

But it wasn’t fate, it was perseverance.

Words have a liquidity about them (watch this TED talk as a really good example) so I thought I would define the two words.

Fate: the development of events beyond a person’s control, regarded as determined by a supernatural power

Perseverance: steadfastness in doing something despite difficulty or delay in achieving success.

In this case, she found the costume through sheer perseverance. She wanted something and she steadfastly went about finding it until she had succeeded. This is an example how every day you choose where you go in life through the simplest decisions. You are in control, and it’s the small decisions that make you in control. You don’t need to think about fate and perseverance in terms of huge, seemingly overwhelming, aspects of life such as education, life partners, careers, housing or anything else that’s really important to you. It does matter in those situations too but it’s the small decisions each day, and perseverance on the small but important situations, that direct where you go in life.

I’m not a huge tattoo fan but my favourite tattoo, on a very successful and enthusiastic past boss, sums this all up:

Positive attitude

Positive outcome


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