When I taught British literature, one of the first pieces that we read and analyzed was Beowulf. Beowulf came from the land of the Geats (Sweden) to Denmark in order to deliver the Danes from a terrible monster Grendel, who for twelve years had disrupted the whole society of those people.
Why do I give this little synopsis? The monster Grendel was the first terrorist recorded in Old English literature; he terrorized their society into paralysis. Beowulf, the hero, destroys Grendel, and when he arrived he made a very bold statement: “Fate saves the living when they drive away death by themselves.”
That was a big deal because they lived in a very fatalistic society. Believing that futures were pre-determined was kind of handy for their society because it helped them to rationalize their often bleak lives, over which they had little control. Thirty guys eaten by Grendel in one night? The will of the gods — their gig was up.
Not Beowulf. “Hey, I’m here to change things. I’ll create my own fate, thank you.” Yeah, he was influenced by their beliefs, even at the end of his life when “for the first time, he fought with fate against him.” He still fought based on his purpose, beat a dragon, but sustained fatal injuries; he still created his own fate, knowing he would die.
The key, and my point here, is that Beowulf determined his course of action, would live his conviction, and whatever the outcome was, he had determined that. How about us? In my case, do I say that I am a writer and that I will write and pursue that course of action and thereby determine my fate? My end game is being a writer; how others respond or any other consequences do not determine my truth: I am a writer. Beowulf came to deliver; fear or self-doubt did not enter into his psyche, even though warriors of the Danes basically said, “It can’t be done; it just doesn’t make sense. Why would we risk everything? No one can beat this Grendel dude.”
Alternatives, choices: Let “monsters” determine your life game OR you determine your course of action for yourself, come hell or high water. Many times when transportation schedules are made, the listing for arrivals or departures is TBD, To Be Determined. It means that many dynamics are operating that affect the plans. Nothing or no one else affects the plans of those who create their own fate. They determine for Self; other dynamics are disregarded.
Determination and fate are related in an interesting way. Determination implies a will to act and that becomes fate. The philosophical belief of fate says someone, some greater power, exercised determination to say what the outcomes of others’ lives will be. No, thank you.
I will determine; I will move onward and upward; I will create my own fate, accept my own consequences, and reap the rewards.
Oh, yes, Beowulf died, but he won a whole treasure hoard for his people, provided for the next leader, and gained fame for all history. Now, I may not want all those things, but I will act on that principle, and I think many would be a lot happier if they did, too. Rather than waiting to see what others do that work in your favor and leaves your fate to be determined — which usually means people mope around and talk about how unfair life is OR how great it is when someone else makes everything work out okay OR look for signs that tell them what some higher power wants them to do — why not Beowulf it?
Five Steps to Beowulf-ing!
3. Why is that so important?
4. What am I going to do to live that?
5. Do it: no matter how infeasible, fearful, impossible, or far-fetched it seems; in boldness, despite the well-intentioned warnings of others; now.
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Questions to consider:
How many times have you asked yourself or simply thought about the following questions?
Who am I, really?
What is my truth?
How do my actions reveal what I really feel and believe?
What would I do with my life if I could do anything?
What is my passion?
Why am I here?
How can I discover answers to any of these questions?
If you have considered any of these questions, I hope that my experiences and writing will give you some guidance. Please read my blog and comment and share your thoughts. I would love to hear from you!