Destiny is not a matter of chance, it is a matter of choice

The American Lawyer and Politician William Jennings Bryan (1860 ~ 1925) wrote, “Destiny is not a matter of chance, it is a matter of CHOICE; it is not a thing to be waited for, it is a thing to be achieved.” By “destiny” he meant our future. In other words, our future doesn’t come about by chance and isn’t something that happens to us.

It doesn’t happen to us because we create it. We do so with the choices we make. Each choice leads to a consequence. And each consequence is one strand in the fabric of our life. Since I am the weaver of the fabric that makes up my life, I cannot blame others or events for what ‘happens’ to me. Some find it difficult to grasp the idea that we are responsible for what ‘happens’ to us.

“Look,” Barbara says, “I didn’t choose to be poor.” “And I didn’t choose to be sick,” adds Christopher. “Neither did I choose to be lonely,” chimes in Neil. Yes, I’m sure Barbara didn’t want to be poor, but she CHOSE to spend more than she earns; she CHOSE not to set aside some money for emergencies; she also CHOSE to waste money on frivolities.

True, Christopher didn’t want to be sick, but he CHOSE to eat junk food; he CHOSE to avoid exercise, and he CHOSE to spend time with friends until the wee hours of the morning instead of getting a good night’s sleep. And what about Neil? No, he didn’t want to be lonely, but he CHOSE to criticize others, become argumentative, and spread gossip. Is it any wonder he has no friends?

Admittedly, it may be difficult to recognize that we create what happens to us by the choices we make, but if we wish to make the most of life, we must understand this truth. Once we accept it, we become empowered. We wake up each day with the realization that what happens during the day is the result of the choices we make. It is empowering to know that at any moment we can continue doing things as we always have, resulting in more of the same, or we can choose to act differently. We can choose to be grateful instead of resentful, kind instead nasty, and helpful instead of painful. As we change our ways for the better, our lives will improve immensely.

Another fact many find difficult to accept is that happiness, too, is a choice. Yes, no one chooses to be unhappy, but they do choose to do what makes them unhappy. For example, no one chooses to become obese, but many choose to eat too much fatty food. Since it is impossible to escape the consequences of our actions, choosing the means to an end is the same as choosing the end itself.

Happiness is a state of well-being in which we are free from fear, resentment, anger, hostility, or any form of suffering. So, if we refuse to live courageously and choose to live in fear, we are also choosing to be unhappy. Likewise, if we insist on being angry, we are also insisting on being unhappy. When we choose to suffer, we are rejecting happiness.

Does it seem strange to say we choose to suffer? Well, suffering is nonexistent in the material world. It is not part of objective reality. It is purely subjective. That is, it exists only in our mind. It is a choice we make. When I speak about suffering, I’m not speaking about pain. Pain and suffering are different. Pain is the result of something that occurred. For example if my house is swept away by a typhoon, I will be in pain.

On the other hand, suffering is a reaction, a response to something that occurred. So, if two neighbors had their homes swept away by a storm, one of them may choose the path of self-pity: “Woe is me! Everything that I have worked hard to accumulate was lost. All my precious belongings are gone!” Yet, his neighbor may see things differently: “How lucky I am! The lives of my wife and children have been spared!”

One of the neighbors chose to look at the bright side; the other chose to focus on the negative. One chose to be happy, the other, to be miserable. “Wait a minute! That’s not fair to blame the man who is suffering,” someone may be tempted to say. “After all, perhaps he is a pessimist by nature. That isn’t his fault, is it?”

Well, please understand that our nature is to be what we repeatedly think, do, and believe. So, if that man repeatedly thought and acted as a pessimist would, he would then become a pessimist. However, he is the one who choose to have negative thoughts, so he is responsible for what he becomes. When pessimists react to a challenge, such as job loss, they may have an automatic negative reaction. They may act without thinking. However, their automatic reactions are based on past choices, so they remain responsible.

Besides, those who are unhappy, always have the option of asking themselves, “What am I going to do about it?” Those who choose to look for a way to solve their difficulty will find a solution. Those who refuse to ask themselves that question have also made a choice. By deciding not to act, they chose to live in denial and chose to believe they are powerless to help themselves.

If we choose to live in awareness, we will realize that no matter how great our burden may be, there is always someone else with a far heavier load to carry. Therefore, we will always have a reason to be cheerful. All we have to do is be grateful for what we have.

Yet, if you try to explain this to a friend who is whining about their personal problems, their response will probably be something like, “Oh, that’s easy for you to say. You don’t know what it feels like to be in my shoes.” Yes, it’s true, you don’t know what it’s like for your friend, but neither does your friend know what it is like for someone with a far greater burden. That is the problem. Your friend can FEEL his or her pain, but cannot FEEL the pain of another.

Suppose you had a magical device and said to your friend, “I am going to rotate this dial, and as I do so, your pain will increase to the level of that man who is living in circumstances 10X worse than yours. Although he lives with his pain all day, I will force you to endue his pain for only five minutes.” How do you think your friend would feel five minutes later, after the pain was lowered to its previous level? Wouldn’t they finally feel thankful that things are not worse than they already are?

I haven’t written this story for you to share with your friend. Actually, I wrote it to share with YOU. It’s just a reminder that if you ever find yourself tempted to feel sorry for yourself, look for someone with a burden far greater than yours. Carefully note what you see and take in as much detail as possible. Then, when you have a quiet moment alone, take a few deep breaths, close your eyes, and picture what it would be to live as that person. Think of everything you do during the day and imagine how much more difficult it would be for you as the other person. Place yourself in their body. Try to FEEL their pain. Finally, after doing so, open your eyes and be thankful for what you have.

CHOOSE to be aware. CHOOSE to be thankful. CHOOSE to be happy.

Chuck Gallozzi

Chuck Gallozzi lived, studied, and worked in Japan for 15 years, immersing himself in the wisdom of the Far East and graduating with B.A. and M.A. degrees in Asian Studies. He is a Certified NLP Practitioner, speaker, seminar leader, and coach. Corporations, church groups, teachers, counsellors, and caregivers use his more than 400 articles as a resource to help others. Among his diverse accomplishments, he is also the Grand Prix Winner of a Ricoh International Photo Competition, the Canadian National Champion of a Toastmasters International Humorous Speech Contest, and the Founder and Head of the Positive Thinkers Group that has been meeting at St. Michael’s Hospital, Toronto since 1999. His articles are published in books, newsletters, magazines, and newspapers. He was interviewed on CBC’s “Steven and Chris Show,” appearing nationally on Canadian TV. Chuck can be contacted at View his photography at

71 Responses

  1. m.Richie says:

    I think that people have the right to think the way they do but putting people down or saying things that won’t help you get any where in life. Giving that a thought you have to look at it as a trial and you could learn about the things your going through and learn from it. It will teach you about what you are going through is not as bad as it is but there are people out there that look at it a bad thing.

  2. m.Richie says:

    Yes I think that people need to look at how others think is very important. For me I had people who put me down because I have a learning disability but that hasn’t stop me from learning. So I understand that that other people need to look at what is going on in life that everyone need to help and understand what the other people have to do.

  3. m.Richie says:

    I believe that you have a destiny to overcome all the difficulties. Giving this to be true always look at it as a trial and you learn from it.

  4. tammy says:

    I think this article was very wonderful to read. It helped me see that I could be worse off then I really am.

    Tammy Melton

  5. S.FRAZIER says:


  6. Rose says:

    I think this article is a pretty good, specialy about making choices.

  7. Deborah says:

    I think that instead of blaming others for our bad choices, that we need to take responsibility for those choices. We can turn the bad choices in to positive outcomes, just by trying.

  8. Deb Andruskiewicz says:

    I want to thank you for writting this. I have had a string of bad luck lately. Lost my house, and can not see my grandchildren. But I have to also look on a possitive note. Someone out there doesn’t even have a shirt on their back. My aunt always told me you can only go so far down then you have to come back up.Thank you for reminding me of that.

  9. Angela Clark says:

    Yes it is good to look at how someone else pain or suffering is greater than yours to overcome your sadness. At the same token should we be grateful or disturbed that that person has a greater problem. No one wants to be in a state of depression or sorrow. I think it is best to pray that we both overcome our burdens and move on to higher ground. Yes we all can’t be happy all the time but most of the time we can share happiness and be grateful. Inside every one life a little rain must fall just don’t let it get to a thunder storm.

  10. Danette says:

    I so agree with this. I have worked with people who are always feeling sorry for themselves. They not only bring themselves down, but also the people around them. You not only affect yourself, but you affect those around you. Smile. Tomorrow is a new day.

  11. renee musser says:

    I think that destiny is from choices we have chose. I think it is very important to be opened minded a little to understand that maybe this person was not intelligent enough to figure out how to choose the right discision. Love the article and it cover about a lot of people if people who be more aware of their surround including people, and remember the word respect our world would be a better place.

  12. Guest says:

    I feel that destiny is what you make it to be.It wont just happen you must make it happen.It takes alot of hard work and determination to get what and where you want in life

  13. Guest says:

    It was a good thing i read this article because i have realized that i could be worser and life only gets better if you want it to. You have to push yourself to become that better person by making better decisions.

  14. Priscilla Daniel says:

    I have enjoyed reading this article. It is very uplifting and so very true.

  15. carolyn says:

    This a very good eye opener for people who want things out of life but don’t really make an honest attempt to succeed in getting there.

  16. Antoinette says:

    I can say that this was an eye opener for me. It was a great message and I really enjoyed it. I like the ending as well;I didn’t write this for you to share with your friend but to share with me. I really do appreciate you sharing this with me.Thank you for the blessing you gave me through these inspiring and encouraging words of wisdom.

  17. Nikiesha says:

    I truly appreciate reading this story. It gives me a different perspective on my life and how I am as a person. We truly do determine how our life turns out and we are solely responsible for what happens in our life.

  18. Kamorra y Foster says:

    wow that was like a breath of fresh air..

  19. Mona Ried says:

    The article is so correct. Your choices are made by you. Learn from them if they are wrong choices.

  20. Anto says:

    This story have help me to think about my problem and situation. Is true I have to be thankful for what I have no matter how hard my problems are.

  21. crystal says:

    This article has complete understanding. This article hits the point right on being positive is a great direction towards success. You can do whatever you set your mind to.

  22. jeanette reardon says:

    I really enjoyed reading this article, and it really put many things in perspective. Many people whine and cry about how bad off they have things not realizing there is always someone who would love to trade places with them in a minute. And peoples choices will cause a reaction hows that saying go? “For every action theres a reaction” I guess we need to think about our choices before we make them to avoid complications in our lives.

  23. yvonne says:

    #2 some as a people we can be very self thing and what is in it for us, but we need to take chances on other and being more giving of are self.Do not be afraid to use your taints.

  24. yvonne says:

    we make all kind of choices in life its what you do with them that counts,and on how your choice to respond to the next one. you can take that choices to see the good out of the bad.

  25. Startiesha says:

    I think that this very inspirational. It gives you a different outlook at life itself. How you can turn a lot of your negativity into positive situation. I will pass this on to others who are always making it seem like they can not do right or get anywhere in life.

  26. Easter#53 says:

    I can say this article was very inspire to me and it really
    is telling the real deal abut the choices we make and the way we accept life’s everyday changes.

  27. yattie says:

    I must say it was a pleasure to read something that open your eyes to a lot of being unhappy, happy and difficult situation in your life. I have been through it all and seen it all as well, but I have learned to hold my head high and shoot for the best out and life and enjoy what God has to offer me. I take a day at a time and look for good things in my life and surrounding.

  28. Sandra Meekins says:

    I’ve always believed that your life is the choices you make.

  29. Steve Martin says:

    I really liked reading this article, it really makes you open your eyes about making choices and being positive. Thanks!!

  30. Katie says:

    This article was mind blowing and a game changer for me……I loved it

  31. Kathleen Dunkin says:

    This was really a great article. Being a recent widow, I really needed to be reminded that others are in pain also and some have greater challenges than I do. I appreciate this article and believe it is and will continue to be a blessing to those who take the time to read it. Thanks

  32. Debra mereness says:

    I believe in destiny life is not what it is its what we make of it. My choice are made by me and if I make the wrong one I will learn form it ,I will not make that choice again. Now if i make the right one it would make me feel proud.Life is about being positive even though things might not be going so well. Life is full of choices its up to us to make the right choice in life. And no matter what we must always stay positive no matter the circumstances that we may be in or going through being positive and standing tall you can accomplish almost anything in life.

  33. JWalden says:

    I kind of always belied that theory, I admit that I do get discouraged at times, but I always remember what my grandmother and mom say “what you become is because of the choices you make, not what they tell you” or “Your choices is what makes you who you are”. It kinds of fit with the saying no one can make your choices for you, you have to make them yourself if you want to be happy in life and with yourself.

  34. Pamela Fields says:

    I enjoyed reading some of the articles.Because I have always believe that a lot of the choices you make has an affect on the way your life turn out.

  35. Donna storey says:

    I liked the what i read and it is so true honesty is the best policies do not lie because the more you lie the harder to remember what you told i always tell the truth and i do not steel because i do not like it done to me .

  36. Jesica M. says:

    I thought that this was a great article. I think that life is what you make of it as well. Life is ultimately about choices. I don’t feel that that is necessarily the case in all situations though. You can’t control or help every single thing that happens. Yes, you can absolutely help and do your best to deal with what may come. Yes, some have it worse than others. I don’t think that life should be a battle of comparisons. I think that we should all be happy about who we are and what we have chosen to do with our lives, and if we are not, then we need to be the ones to make the change. As a person who is sick. Yes, I know that there are many people out there that have it way worse than me, but that does not mean that I do not have it worse than you. Again, not something I think should be compared or necessarily prevented. I think that you have to be happy with you before you can be happy with everything else. Life is absolutely 100% about trial and error. Some mistakes are harder and worse than others. Some moments are greater and live on in your memories and speak through you smile. That’s what makes it so worth living!!

  37. sandra says:

    That was very inspiring , and so very true, I am a victum of that. I have a lot of self pitty and I do not no why. Things could a hole lot worse than what it is. Aand I no that . Reading this passage kind of open my eyes to some things… Yes I am lonley but that was my choice because of the way i treat that person ,but they dont treat me that great either

  38. Tammie Burley says:

    Your never to old to learn, I am a 40 year old mother with 5 children. I graduated high school in 1994. I was in resource glass where they done one on one with kids.People would laugh at me when i walked out of that pink building; but i just kept on walking with my head up. Now that i am back in college it gets hard sometimes but i know i’m be just fine.

  39. Denise Bonome says:

    I am grateful that I have a family called home. My family understands each other. I feel sorry for those people that don’t have a family. Is there a reason why they don’t? I feel bad that they don’t have family to go home to, no matter what the situation is

  40. Salena Harris says:

    We make all good choices by following are dreams,I accept life everyday change in my life.

  41. laura says:

    I enjoyed your paper. I struggle with losing out on some things but i also tell myself i am fairly healthy roof over my head food on the table barely and a good job. I have a loving family and good friends. I am truly a happy person. Thank you.

  42. donna sue parker says:

    I like what the article said and I hope some day I can
    do the same.

  43. Ki says:

    I really enjoyed your article, I’m not just this to be saying but your thoughts are how I try to live my life everyday. I try my best not be ‘o woo is me’, not matter what my situation is always try to see the positive instead of the negative. I know sometimes it get hard and you just want to give up, but I know my situation is not as bad as it seems I know there are people out there is far worse off then me. I have my health, my strength and in my right mind, my kids and my kids are healthy and I have my family. And I thank God everyday for his blessing on my life.

  44. Renae Mays says:

    I loved this article too. Everyday is a challenge, and everyday is not going to be a piece of cake. You think positive,do the right things,live life so joyfully. God loves us so much, he will bless you and get you through anything.



  46. tyneah curry says:

    I realy enjoyed reading this article. This is a good story to share with some one that is complaing about life. Every one that unhappy needs to ask themself what they need to do to change there life.

  47. Melissa Ballard says:

    I really enjoyed this article. It makes a lot of sense when you can sit back and see what the other person is truly going through, We should all take a long look at our own circumstances before we go and judge others or think that our life is in such dismay,

  48. Marylin S. says:

    I really enjoyed this article will add this to my daily living

  49. Maria Caprio says:

    I enjoyed your article and I try to live my life on a postive note, but at time it is hard to do. When that happens I look at all the other people in this world, who are less fortuned then me and I thank my blessing that thing are not so bad and it always works itself out.

  50. Donna Gabbert says:

    I really enjoyed this article, I have suffered and beat depression a few times, had lots & lots of counciling, and this makes more sense to me than anything I have ever heard before. Thank You for sharing !!!!

  51. Norvin says:

    I decided to read this article due the fact I feel that I have changed my own destiny in my life an innumerable amount of times. If you do not go out and make and/or at least attempt to achieve something It most definitely will not happen. 99% of the time it will not happen, however you look at it , very highly unlikely to happen. You have to make a choice to attempt wholeheartedly. This is the only way you will truly know if you can or can’t achieve something. Therefore setting and stamping your destiny.

  52. Loretta Larkins says:

    I really enjoyed reading this article and it gives me something to look back on in my life that cause i am not rich and live in a fancy house that do not mean that I am poor because i am not i work everyday for a living and its not the best job in the world but it will pay a bill. I really enjoyed reading this.

  53. Karen Fisher jackson says:

    I really enjoyed article! Yes, I myself have made bad choices and took consequences also but Ultimate Medical Academy has given me tools that can be used with the more constructive choices I’m making now. I pray to continue making good choices.

  54. Ciara Williams says:

    Wow this article really hit home for me! I use to blame others for the way I handled life as a young adult. My relationship with my parents wasn’t the best. So when I graduated high school. I decided to step out into the so called “Real World” not knowing what all came with the lifestyle. Bills, living expenses, a harsh society who didn’t care if I was dead or alive. Digging my self in so much debt with no formal education such as a certificate or degree. I feel to poverty level. The only thing I had was the bare minimum necessities when it was all said and done. But I begin to grow bitter about my choices I did decided to make which were not holding up my end of life responsibilities. One day i hit my breaking point I was so tired of feeling powerless that I got up did some research on different careers, salaries, best cities to live in with children. Enrolled in college and here I am today with a better look on life. I am no longer sadden or throwing my responsibilities on to others. Needless to say we all make good and bad choices but how you handle each decision will determine the outcome of your future.

  55. angela davis says:

    i really enjoyed this message it help me to put some logic into my own situation and clarify what i did wrong.

  56. Yvette Scott says:

    I really enjoyed reading this article.Cause i felt like i could wrote this the same way you did, but you done better for me to understand more better cause i was this person and i changed. That is why I’m here now doing medical coding and billing, so i treat all people with RESPECT and pray for all that things will get better cause i was this person.

  57. MarqueshaVertner says:

    [quote name=”tyneah curry”]I realy enjoyed reading this article. This is a good story to share with some one that is complaing about life. Every one that unhappy needs to ask themself what they need to do to change there life.[/quote]
    yes that’s right like that one ./quote

  58. destiny Taylor says:

    I really enjoyed reading this it’s help see things in a new lite why do some off us suffer more than others is it really in our mind is it something that just come comes natural to some of us

  59. gwinnetta t says:

    I was feeling sorry for my self went i see people that are far worse then i then i know i have a lot to be grateful for and go to thanking Jesus, Amen

  60. Arquetta clemmons says:

    wow awesome article to read because it open up my eyes to where, i have come from at one point of time in my life. he wrote this article with hope of change. he letting us know that it is room for change. It also ensure us that it consequence for our actions.

  61. Arquetta clemmons says:

    awesome article to read because it ensure you that its a consequence for action. it is room for change that can be the best choices in life.

  62. Misty says:

    I really enjoyed your story. I to believe you make your life how it is. I mean I know some people don’t choose to be sick but the way you go about it is up to you. When I have a problem I don’t sit around feeling sorry for myself (because I know there are people out there with much bigger problems) I try to figure out how to fix it instead of feeling sorry for myself. Everything gets better if you stop feeling sorry for yourself.

  63. Amberee HInson says:

    This was a very good read! I recently faced somethings in my life and proudly not pride i can say i was aware i was able to make the choice i wanted to make.

  64. Angela Williams says:

    I was given this article to read by my professor as a self-improvement assignment. I was very interested in all this had to say about the choices we make! I sometimes react in a bitter and negative way concerning my circumstances I am involved with at the time. But, when I read to put on someone else’s body or shoes and feel their pain, It struck a cord personally. And I will keep this thought more often!! 🙂 Thank you for the article Chuck Gallozi!!

  65. Brenda says:

    I really liked reading this article, it open up my eyes and i’m going to make better choice now thanks

  66. sherry armstrong says:

    I really took this article into heart.because it is so choose your own happiness and destiny in life.just choose wisely.

  67. Rebecca Oatney says:

    I really liked what I was reading. While reading this, I saw myself in many of these comments. Basically, if you start your day in a positive way…your happiness will continue as long as you think “positive”. I decided about (5) five years or so ago that all I need to do is to give my problems over to God and Jesus, my burdens will lessen.

  68. teresa says:

    I think that this was great i love the article i try to live my life through my kids and grandkids. I need this article with me it help my self learn thing in life.

  69. TommyOllison says:

    [quote name=”gwinnetta t”]I was feeling sorry for my self went i see people that are far worse then i then i know i have a lot to be grateful for and go to thanking Jesus, Amen[/quote]
    good quotee

  70. deloris turner says:

    I enjoyed this to because it depend on are chooses how we leave are life.

  71. Charles Scott says:

    I enjoyed reading this article, me my-self try to do the right things in life , life is hard but ,we have to make the best of it and do the right thing.

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