"Our lives are predetermined. Everything that happens to us has been pre-ordained; there's nothing we can do to influence the final outcome."
So which statement is nearer to what you have experienced in your life? If you accept determinism, is there any point of striving for anything? If you believe in your powers to shape the way your life turns out, is there any room for the influence of random (if indeed they are random!) events?
The debate between free will and destiny has been present in mankind's discourse since the dawning of philosophy if not before. It would be worth reading both Wikipedia articles linked above as well as many of the philosophical concepts related to the two.
I've written about being at the right place at the right time. Consider the human migration in this context. People in countries suffering war, famine or poverty have to take a view - accept suffering as being as inevitable as the weather - or to do something to improve one's lot by moving to a country that offers freedom from fear and want. So you're strong willed enough to get yourself out - you hand over your lifetime's savings to some middlemen to smuggle you to the EU or the USA - and then some freak storm capsizes your dinghy as you near the promised land... were you better off staying put?
We are always teetering on the edge of chaos. Is it better to make plans in the anticipation that no unforeseen circumstance (the outbreak of war, accident or illness) will render them invalid?
And to what extent can we will ourselves good luck? To what extent are our prayers answered? How aligned are we to the forces shaping the way the Universe unfolds?
Returning to the slider model. Accepting these two contradictory world views, it seems to me that both extremes are clearly wrong - fatalism leads to inaction (to what extent is the Arab world a victim of its own inshallah* mentality?) while stubborn belief in the strength of one's will engenders arrogance that harms others.
Is the balance to be found precisely in the middle? Or should one be less accepting of destiny and despite the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, shouldn't we in any case strive to do what we want to do, to move forward according to our own plans?
* Inshallah - God willing, which as one wag put it, is like the Spanish word mañana though without the same pressing sense of urgency.
This time last year:
Dogs begin to bark, hounds begin to howl
This time three years ago:
A light dusting of snow