Do we create our own path or is destiny already mapped out for us? I have always been intrigued by this particular philosophical question. I personally believe that our ultimate future is in the hands of our Creator. Nobody knows where we will end up in next ten years unless somebody has a crystal ball that I don't know about. Basically what I am saying is that our future is predestined and we have no direct control over our fate. Just like how we do not have direct control over when we are going to perish from this earth. Although I do believe that we have to be cognizant of the cues and signs that reveal our destiny we ultimately do not have control over where we will end up in life despite our own personal efforts.
The ideology of mankind having a destiny is easier to comprehend when you have an allegiance to a higher deity or have firm convictions that a cosmic force superior to us exists. The belief that we have total and volitional control over our lives is dissonant with the belief that our paths are set out for us. This brings up another point I want to address...coincidence. Many people believe in coincidence. My firm belief in destiny leads me to have a fundamental disbelief in coincidence. I think that things are meant to happen and that they happen for a reason not due to sheer chance. There is a higher power that orchestrates the happenings and mishappenings in the journey we call life!
We all have destinies; whether or not we choose to fulfill them is our personal choice. Now the notion of free will enters the equation. We have the personal choice to take action or not take action, to accept or not accept. I will propose an example: we are all in the same class in sixth grade and at the same level academically but only one of us has the destiny to be valedictorian. The person who is destined to be "the one" has to make the right choices in order to achieve that goal. She/he has to apply him/herself and work diligently in order to get the number one spot.
For example if we look at people's career choices some people switch careers every month while others have a lifelong career that they stick to. One possible example is a teacher who over the years has randomly thought about becoming a doctor and has received constant signs that are urging him/her to pursue that career. According to the signs that were given to him/her it is more than likely that her/his destiny is to become a doctor. These signs were not a coincidence. So then it becomes the person's responsibility to follow suit and take the necessary steps to becoming a doctor.
This is not to say that our destiny at any given time won't be determined by our actions. If you want something bad enough and have dedication to reach for that goal then the universe will do everything in its power to help you achieve it. A perfect example is in the book Gifted Hands (no pun intended). In this book a young black inner city African American youth from Detroit,Michigan rose from the bottom ranks of his class to become the top scholar. This proved to be an arduous process but his mom pushed him and fostered an insatiable appetite for knowledge. Subsequently he decided to maximize his potential and overcome his obstacles. Eventually he became one of the world's most renowned pediatric neurosurgeons in light of his struggles throughout his academic career. He had a personal choice. He chose to work hard and find his purpose. Once he made the right choice, he continued to carry out his legacy and fulfilled his destiny. On the other hand if he had decided to be lazy and wait for the opportunity to become great he would have let his destiny pass him by.
My final thought on this question is that certain things are in our power to change or to make happen, but the oversight is in the hands of our Creator. The higher power serves as a catalyst to make things happen but if we do not do our part and pay attention to the signs, then we deviate from our predestined path.
I will leave you with this quote from the book the Alchemist "...there is one great truth on this planet: whoever you are, or whatever it is that you do, when you really want something, its because that desire originated in the soul of the universe. Its your mission on earth."