To stop dreaming - well, that’s like saying you can never change your fate. —Amy Tan

If you‘ve ever taken a class with me, you know that I talk a lot about Fate. Not because I believe that everything happens for a reason—it’s because the understanding we take from the events that happen to us is the essence of storytelling. 

Fate is bi-directional. Events take place, but that isn’t fate. That’s only the first piece of fate; it’s the part that we don’t control. But the second half is in our hands: how we process, understand, and respond to events is Fate, too. 

A couple of weeks ago, I mentioned the concept of meraki—the Greek word for joyfulness in doing. This week, I’m considering the Ancient Greek idea of arete, which means “excellence” and could apply to anything, especially virtue. It’s tied to the concept of fulfilling one’s purpose. 

You can only fulfill your purpose if you have a sense of what that purpose is in the first place. That’s the way that you can guide yourself toward your own fate even when faced with unfortunate or challenging circumstances. 

I’m a writer. That’s my vocation, but is it my purpose? I don’t think so. I think my purpose is to help people understand their lives and feel a greater sense of joy in living. I do that through writing and teaching, and hopefully in my parenting and friendships, and in other ways, as well. 

Am I living with arete? I’m certainly trying, and achieving varying degrees of success. But the first step toward excellence is simply knowing that excellence exists and is possible. It’s about believing in potential. 

I hope you believe in your own potential and are making the choices and doing the things that will guide you toward your purpose…your Fate. It isn’t entirely in your hands, but you can certainly keep moving in the right direction.