Less than a year ago, I was sitting in a classroom chair with forty other people listening to a charismatic professor talk about Friedrich Nietzsche, Catholicism, and Philosophy. And to be perfectly honest, I never took interest in any of these topics. In hindsight, I can even tell you that I don’t remember the name of the class, the face of my professor, or the other topics we had discussed but what I can tell you is that it was in that class where I learned to love my fate.
In almost any dictionary you refer to, fate is described as something happening beyond a person’s control. They say fate is determined by some supernatural being that’s why it is inescapable. That’s what I used to believe as well.
Roughly six months before I graduated from my alma mater, a challenging and purposeful position was given to me —president of a 30-year old socio-political organization. I was very hesitant to accept it at first because I was well on my way to entering the real world and all I wanted to do was enjoy my remaining time in college. I didn’t want to spend my evenings in meetings and trainings. I didn’t want to feel stressed and frustrated. I just didn’t want to commit. But my selfish reasons didn’t mean as much when I was reminded of how service has always been an integral part of my collegiate years. Eventually I said yes again to the call of service.
During my presidency, I was faced with so many problems and a burden that I couldn’t and shouldn’t bear all on my own. It’s safe to say that it was the most challenging position I have ever accepted because I had to rebuild the organization after a failed student government elections and simultaneously prepare and execute a successful campaign. I had to face difficult tasks that I didn’t know how to solve. People involved began to doubt my decisions and ultimately my capability as president. But this did not stop me from doing what I was called to do. I based my decisions on guiding principles and values such as integrity, faith, and responsibility. Everyday was a constant emotional and mental struggle that I did not want to give in to.
It was timely enough that in one of my classes that time, we were discussing Amor Fati, a belief of Nietzsche. Amor Fati loosely translates to love of one’s fate. It’s such a strange concept because we’re all used to believing that fate is something set in stone. That it is destined to happen. According Nietzsche, fate is something we should learn to love because fate isn’t certain nor is it unchangeable. Fate is something only we can create.
That’s when I realized that I wasn’t going to let my emotions and struggles bring me down. I was so bent on changing what seemed like something set in stone. I didn’t accept the position to set myself up for failure. I sure as hell wasn’t going to allow myself to give up and give in. It was in that pivotal moment when I decided to fight back and be strong for the hundreds of members of the organization.
I won’t say I came out unscathed at the end of my presidency, but what I can say is that I didn’t lose to fear, to struggles, and to pain. I left the organization in a more successful state than before it was handed over to me.
Everyone has his or her own struggles and tribulations that they have to face. That’s completely unavoidable. To top it off, there is no manual for complicated real life situations but I realized that if my work, actions, and decisions were led by my values and principles, everything would pan out. That’s why I continue to live my life with the words Amor Fati on my mind. It is the mantra I turn to when I feel like giving up or when I feel like I’m about to lose in something very important to me. Nietzsche believes that it is in our individual power and capabilities to create our own fate. And that’s exactly how I live my life. Love the fate that only you can create.