It's such a great concept. This from the German poet Schiller:
There's no such thing as chance; and what to us seems merest accident springs from the deepest source of destiny.
Yes, destiny is such a great concept. I wish it were true. I hope it's true. But I'm just not so sure it is.
You hear other versions of destiny. "Nothing, absolutely nothing, happens in God's world by mistake."
Anwar Sadat, president of Egypt in the 70s, felt an unshakable sense of destiny (or as he would call it, Kismet) in his life. Despite countless warnings that he not attend a parade, he felt sure that he was safe in the hands of destiny. He was machine gunned down by fundamentalist fanatics.
I really don't think do you believe in destiny? is the sort of question you can definitively answer one way or another. Like I said, I hope it's true.
Sometimes dreams seem to predict what's coming in life. Countless people had predictive dreams about 9/11. And Quantum Physics' time/space continuum would say that the future has already happened. In other words, destiny is not an extremist concept.
But if destiny exists, why make an effort? What's done is done. There is nothing you can do to change the inexorable progression of fate, so why try? People might say: "I'm just born under a bad star." In that sense, I think destiny is very dangerous.
The flip side of the coin is it's pretty nice to think that no matter how badly you screw up today, destiny might have something great in store for you tomorrow. But really how realistic is that?
This one writer, James Hollis, says that both destiny and free will exist, but that we're happier when we focus more on free will. That makes sense. Because truly we don't control everything. And if you think of yourself as just a mote of dust getting pushed and pulled endlessly by unforeseen forces you're not going to be too happy.
I suppose not knowing the answer to this question is just one more marvelous mystery of what it means to be alive.