I am the master of my fate, I am the captain of my soul

I love serendipity. “I am the master of my fate, I am the captain of my soul” has been a favorite quote of mine since I read it in Napoleon Hill’s Think and Grow Rich, but I had forgotten the original source (if I ever knew it).

Serendipity #1: My wife gave me a birthday card (day before yesterday) with this quote on it, not knowing it was one of my favorite quotes.


Serendipity #2: The new movie Invictus is coming out, about Nelson Mandela’s campaign to host the 1995 Rugby World Cup as an opportunity to unite the country. Seeing the ad on TV a couple of times tonight, I kept thinking the word “invictus” was familiar. But my Latin is rusty, so I looked it up on Wikipedia, where I learned that it means “unconquered” in Latin, and that it’s also the title of an 1875 poem by William Ernest Henley:


Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the Pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds and shall find me unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.

– William Ernest Henley

What is your locus of control? Are you a victim of circumstances? The whims and desires of other people? Or are you in charge of your life? Guess what? On average, those who have an internal locus of control are physically and mentally healthier, happier, and more successful. If you want those things (and who doesn’t), step up and take charge – don’t wait for it to happen to you. You are the master of your fate; you are the captain of your soul.


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