I'm a firm believer in Fate.
For ease of understanding (both yours and mine), I'll go with the idea that fate is the inevitable and unavoidable ordered events of an individual's destiny. Destiny refers to the finality of events as they've worked themselves out.
Some things are fated in the sense that there's only viable choice, based on all of the previous choices you've made. This doesn't mean that destiny is predetermined from the get-go; it's not independent of free will. They can, and should, co-exist. There's a concept of Micaic Destiny, in which those seemingly-dichotomous notions are harmonious. The idea is that we make only one unchangeable choice each moment and that inevitable outcomes are possibly foreseeable, though never entirely predictable, because of those choices. There's nowhere else to go—no other destination—but here because you've come from there. There's a feeling of significance to these outcomes, though maybe that's trumped by destinies that seem to have nothing to do with your own previous choices at all.
I believe in Fate as an outside, blinding force. Maybe it's because of other people's choices, maybe it's sheer dumb luck, but it feels like divine intervention, twisting and turning you wildly or slightly. Either way, you can't help but look at what it wants you to see.
One of my favorite books is Fool on the Hill by Matt Ruff. It's this genre of fantasy in modern times, which I totally love. There's something endearing and relatable about magic in the world I know, rather than some distant, mildly-recognizable land and time. One of the great characters of Fool on the Hill is Mr. Sunshine. He's this old dude, a Greek Original, with an infinite number of monkeys, typing away and crafting the story of what's happening to the protagonists. Sometimes what the monkeys write makes chronological sense, but sometimes, well, it's just Mr. Sunshine sticking his finger into the stillness and stirring, ever so slightly, to make the waters ripple in the way he knows is best for everyone's outcomes. Fate.
Certainly, especially if I'm bored or distractible, I've been the one to stir my own waters with my freshly-manicured finger. Every so often, though, these things happen—inevitable, unavoidable, and blinding—that completely alter my path and reroute my journey. I try not to see them as anything but good, Amor fati, and accept these events, to learn the monumental lessons they inexorably bring. They are, after all, edging me forward to my own destiny, to Destination Me.
But the Fates are vicious and they're cruel. (Monkeys can be a nasty bunch.) Sometimes it feels as though the thing they're forcing me to turn and see is nothing more than reflections in my own pools. And when the stirring brings the ripples, the reflection is imperfected, so I stay at the muddy bank, waiting for the stillness to bring its insights once again.
Maybe Narcissus was onto something. Maybe he was looking deeper than ancient storytellers and mythology writers gave him credit. Either way, I guess the cautionary tale of staying too long at the water's edge is still valid.
And what if we fight Fate? What if we choose not to look at what it's showing us? If it's strong enough, important enough, that it's supposed to alter our course, we will feel the slings and arrows of that battle until we concede and let the pain of it all wash over us and through us, surrendering to the inevitability of what we were always supposed to do. Or else we die. Unfulfilled, unhappy, uncontent.
Sometimes it's hard to accept what Fate has to offer; it's hard to be gracious in the face of incomprehensible upheaval. But I find, inevitably, that what it's offering me is profound and completely worth the initial confusion and discord. So I may spend a lot of time analyzing what I see, cautiously examining and re-examining—is it tangible or just a bunch of smoke in front of my mirrors? Even if it turns out to be a watery guise, the inescapable truths—often acute and exhaustive—learned through that time and effort are almost always the most sublime.