Chance, serendipity, synchronicity, destiny, fate — Whether you believe in luck, god, or anything in between, most cultures have a word or a concept for Kismet.
Search around the internet and you’ll be hard-pressed to find any concrete information about “kismet,” an Arabic/Turkish word dating back to the early 19th century. The term grew in usage until 1919, when it peaked and then declined dramatically, beginning its resurgence around 1994. Today, the word Kismet is used more than ever before — at least according to Google Ngram Viewer.
As with any vague and mysterious concept, it’s often easier to grasp what it is not before tackling what it is. Just as we couldn’t fathom light without first knowing dark, we can’t recognize our own Kismet until we know its absence.
Kismet Is Not Logic
You cannot plan or strategically move toward it. If you try to force it, you’ll end up disappointed. This ticks off the human ego because our circumstances seem to be beyond our control. Terrified of the potential letdown, some people write off any notion of Kismet as ridiculous. They’ll insist there are no magical breadcrumbs to follow — Just be ultra-practical, work hard, and you’ll attain enough to etch out a tolerable life. But despite our best efforts to be productivity zombies, the human spirit can’t be trained to love the mundane. We do not thrive on pure logic.
Kismet Is Not Deserved
Once again, this can ruffle the human ego because we love to believe that when good things happen, it’s because we worked hard; we deserve it. In other words, we believe in merit because it provides a sense of order and self-empowerment in our day-to-day lives. But in reality, fortune cannot always be earned, as we’ve all experienced at one time or another. We’ve all deserved something and didn’t get it because it wasn’t quite right for us. Kismet cannot be earned through self-sacrifice or tedious labor.
Kismet Is Not Material Success
It’s not just about things going “right” in a traditional sense. Someone with a million dollars and a sports car might not be experiencing the magic of Kismet. In fact, they might be wildly misaligned in life. They may be catering to societal expectations or entranced by some notion of success that their intellect dictated. Material success is often a byproduct of Kismet, but they are not one in the same.
The good thing is, you already know all of this. We as a human race are pretty much experts in not-Kismet. We know deeply the essence of being lost, imbalanced, depressed, failing, and feeling like a straight up muggle.
Kismet only seems magical because we are so entrenched in its opposite — misaligned and detached from our intuition. We’re fairly used to things going wrong.
So then what IS Kismet? In simple terms, it’s falling into alignment with what is supposed to be — according to you. It’s when you and the nature of the universe agree.
Kismet Is Intuition
We can define intuitive as the opposite of logical — When something is logical, it is clearly understood and laid out in steps. It is systematic, often sequential, and can be traced back to a beginning, middle, and end. Kismet (and intuition) is much more like a web of connections, or thousands of threads of possibility shifting every moment. This seemingly random structure only serves to frustrate the logical mind. It is instead for the emotional body to decipher using intuition.
Kismet Is Positive Karma
Karma is often thought of as punishment or reward from a higher power. But it is simply cause and effect — every action taken reverberates into your future (and some would say, into the past) and creates consequences. Because A, then B. But this process is happening in multitudes, and so outcomes are not always fully understood. Because actions can be negative or positive, so can their results. In this sense, Kismet is like ‘good karma’ — when your actions align with the truth of reality, things flow. You benefit. There is a sense of being in the right place at the right time.
This feeling of ‘flow’ is actually just a lack of cognitive dissonance — We are not at odds with ourselves or life. All aspects of us are moving, willingly and happily, toward a common goal. While seemingly simple, this sense of being ‘all in’ is not the norm in our culture. And so we experience it as magical, having a really good day, or a streak of luck .. like when Dobby realized he was free and used his magic to save Harry Potter.
The enslavement was largely an illusion. In reality, you had the power all along.
How to Experience Kismet
1. Get Curious/Self-Awareness
Most people rarely experience Kismet because they are preoccupied with what they think they’re supposed to be doing to reach a certain destination. Typically, that’s chasing money, approval from someone, an impressive degree, etc. These well-meaning pursuits can eat up all of our time leaving no time to poke around and discover what we innately enjoy — what we enjoy purely for the sake of it. We are a culture of individuals who largely lack self-awareness, and we unconsciously suffer because of it. Exploring, following joy, and experiencing Kismet go hand in hand.
No Fear-based Decisions
While ‘fearless’ is not something anyone with a nervous system can achieve, we can take fear out of the decision-making process because fear seeks homeostasis. Fear decisions always lead us to sameness and monotony because our fear is risk-averse. But avoiding all risk isn’t what we actually want. We want the lucid experience of growth, and so decisions should not be driven by fear, but by curiosity.
Trust, Trust, Trust, Trust
Genuine trust of our intuition is 90% of experiencing Kismet. If you’re caught up in feeling foolish, denying what you believe, or insisting on doing what some expert said, you are rejecting intuition as a viable force. If you ignore every intuitive nudge or “coincidence,” then you ignore your Kismet. Your intuition is not something that must prove itself to you before you engage with it. It’s a continuous stream that we choose to tap into at any time.
Understand that Kismet can only unfold as you understand it. It is your intuition speaking in the specific details of your life. This is why when other people talk about their epiphanies, extraordinary experiences, or dreams they had, they may sound ridiculous, meaningless, or boring to us — We are not them. Messages come in certain ways to certain people for certain reasons. Meaning is not absolute.
Kismet invites us to loosen our definition of success, go with our gut, and restore our faith in magic.