Fate or Destiny

Many people i have heard do not believe in destiny and fate. They say its all the excuses of the weak-hearted.People make their own destiny they say. This has let me to think in earnest about this matter. What do i feel about this?
Being a guy who has been brought up in a decent surrounding i have been lucky to interact with people from different backgrounds,cultures,religions as well as strata of the society.I have seen my mother having utmost faith in god and HIS role in our fate and destiny. I have seen one of my mother's friends as an atheist and a person who is such a firm non-believer of fate and destiny.I have had friends too who have different points of view about all this. To be honest with you all i too at an early age did not believe in fate and destiny. My dad instilled in me a sense of practicality - which still i have to a very large extent and is an impediment in certain cases - and an ability to adapt and cope with situations without being low and losing faith in my own abilities. I used to think at that time that i had the power and control over my fate my own destiny.
During my early days all i understood about my own destiny was what i would end up being in life. I knew i had to be successful and had to make my parents proud of me. My entire life was encapsulated in a set of small objectives and aims i had set myself up with.
It was much later in life after my high school that i came to realize that life is not all about what you do and how you do. There are indeed things over which you donot have any control whatsoever which can affect you life in an unimaginable way.I really for the first time in my life felt powerless and realized that maybe this is what everyone calls fate or destiny.I remember having a very thoughtful conversation with my dad during one of our evening walks before i went for college and he said - Yah there are things in life that you cant help and there would be situation on which you have no control yet in those times too you will find u will be confronted with choices. And what you choose will be your control over your own destiny.
I have had to take a few such very important decisions in life at that time and later and i found that this thought gives me a lot of comfort. It helps me keep faith in my abilities yet conscious of the fact that no matter what or how i do there will still be things that will happen - be it good or bad.
Today when i look back at life i feel that i might have taken some decisions wrong but what is still good is that i took those decisions and hence i should be content with what i have. I guess thats what is life all about.We donot realize how many millions of decisions we take or choices we make consciously or unconsciously which all affect our life in certain way.I remember seeing a film called Sliding Doors which tells the story of the life of a woman when she misses a New York subway train one day and what if she had not missed. But however you might want to look at this its is good that there are certain things over which we donot have control. This makes our overly complex life a little more complex....ha ha