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Take Control of Your Destiny

“You control your destiny—you don’t need magic to do it. And there are no magical shortcuts to solving your problems.” – Merida, Brave

I recently turned on the Disney flick to serve as background noise as I cleaned my apartment; however, very little cleaning was accomplished that day. I was immediately swept up in the overarching theme of Brave–the power to control one’s destiny. Put another way, any given individual possesses the power to influence her life success and the intentional decisions made determine the course of that life success. But, how does one actually take control of their destiny? According to Brave, taking control of your destiny starts with introspection.

As I scoured the internet for more information on the levels of introspection required to take control of my destiny, I noticed three recurring concepts: develop self-awareness, maintain an internal locus of control, and exist in the present.

Develop Self-Awareness

To be in control of her destiny, one must take ownership of her mind; she has to align her mental and emotional self and accept reality. Merida struggled with the concept of being a princess, specifically the responsibilities assigned to the status and reinforced by society. She wanted to cease being a princess and simply wanted to be a renowned archer. However, Merida learned that she could not change her status as a royal; rather, she could influence and therefore change the responsibilities of being a princess such that they could align with her interests.

Maintain an Internal Locus of Control

Someone who holds an internal locus of control holds the perception that her life circumstances stem from things she can directly influence. Merida realized early on in the movie that her actions have a direct correlation to the circumstances effecting her future. Though Merida initially took magical shortcuts thinking they would yield the sought-after change to her destiny, by the end of the story she recognized that her destiny could truly be changed by her influence on societal norms.

Exist in the Present

If someone allows themselves to live in the past, particularly dwelling on the negative feelings associated with the past, all of her emotional and mental energy is consumed by this, thereby keeping her from being able to take steps forward. Merida’s choice to take magical shortcuts in an attempt to alter her destiny had near-dire consequences because she dwelled on the past negative feelings she assigned to life (pride) and towards her mother (resentment). Once Merida realized she was living in the past and needed to shift her focus towards effectuating change in the present, that is when Merida was able to take control of her destiny.

While Brave may be a characterized as a fantasy film, the message is rooted in reality. So, take the reins of your horse and race towards your future which has been carefully, strategically, and intentionally crafted …by you.

Kourtney Bernard-Rance