Merriam-Webster lists fate and destiny as synonyms, both sharing a meaning of predetermination.
The idea of a predetermined future are found throughout literature, from the Greeks to Shakespeare.
Fate “implies an inevitable and usually an adverse outcome.”
Destiny “implies something foreordained and often suggests a great or noble course or end.”
The implications of fate and destiny to EHS, a profession dedicated to preserving human life, reducing injury and illness, and mitigating loss throughout the organization, are profound. Indeed, there are regions of the world where when a death or severe injury occurs, it is not deemed a failure on anyone’s part, but the will of a higher being. Therefore, there is no lesson to learn or action to take, as doing so would go against divine will.
If death and injury are predetermined, what is the intended effect of EHS?
I think a man from Mississippi answered this question best.
The late Zig Ziglar would often be questioned on the idea of fate and destiny. As the leading motivational speaker of his time, he’d respond with a question (summarized here).
“Do you think that you have the ability to mess up your life today? That is, could you make a decision or two this morning that would have lasting negative consequences on your life? If that is true, then the reverse is also the case. You absolutely have the ability to make a decision today that will have positive and lasting consequences on the lives of your family and yourself.”
If decisions have consequences, then destiny becomes malleable.
What do you think about fate, destiny, and safety?