In the classical/Newtonian physics the mechanical evolution (motion) of an object is completely defined by its initial conditions (location and velocity). If we know the initial conditions and the laws (!) governing the motion we can predict the exact location of any object at any time. That is not a case in the quantum world. Even if we knew (which is physically impossible) the initial conditions of a particle/object/system we still could not predict its exact future state. “Social particles”, a.k.a. humans mostly behave like classical objects, i.e. their initial conditions (parents, time and place of birth, traditions of the culture) almost completely define their future life. However, in principle, when an individual learns the laws governing the behavior of each and everyone (a.k.a. a society), that individual has an opportunity to alter his/her own path from the pre-defined one (whether he/she wants to use this opportunity is entirely up to him/her).
A physical object cannot self-act, self-propel, self-move, there is no self-action in a physical world. But humans have the ability to act on themselves - at least in principle. That makes humans the one and only anti-entropy force in the whole universe, a.k.a. the force of a progress (in the contradiction to the force of a decay/distraction governing the physical world).
There are many differences between the classical and the quantum worlds. When a classical particle encounters a barrier, it must bounce back off it, it can only be reflected by the barrier, it simply cannot pass through it. But when a quantum particle encounters a barrier there is a chance (an actual mathematical probability) to find that particle outside of the barrier. This phenomenon has a name “tunneling’.
When I teach PY106, I always use this fact for an analogy between the physical world and a social world. I always tell my students, when you hit a wall, when you encounter a barrier (your parents, a friend, your boss, your teacher) ask yourself one question: “What kind of a particle I am? Am I a classical particle that can only bounced back off a barrier? Or, am I a quantum particle which can tunnel through?”
I do not believe in God (I am a smart atheists). So, does it mean I am the master of my fate?
The answer is - partially.
The vast majority of the factor which influence my life are beyond my reach. My parents, my genes, my school, my teachers, the people I grew up with. Those factors predefined my character, my intellect (thank you - parents! - for giving me various learning experience since my early days), my life philosophy. But at some point in my life I was taught how to see myself by the eyes of other people, and then how to see myself by my own eyes and compare it with what I want to be. And eventually I realized that my influence on my fate is directly proportional to my influence on people around me. The only way we progress in life is via influencing other people in accepting our ideas and actions. However, "influencing" does not mean" using" - that would be the violation of The Golden Rule. Sometimes we and people around us is a good match, and sometimes is not. As I like to say (because it is physics!) "You can be the strongest magnet, but if you are surrounded by wood, you will not attract much of attention". All we can do is keep searching for people who will be similar to us - not physically, though, but spiritually, intellectually. Finding such people is a good luck. The rest will come with it. The opportunities to meet "our people" do not fall from above. We have to be actively seeking those opportunities and keep our eyes open to no miss it when it comes. If someone wants to win a lottery, that one at least needs to buy a lottery ticket. But it is also important to know when to stop, when to accept things ( and themselves) the way they (and we) are - spending all our money on lottery is not smart.
To summarize, there are only two rules to influence our fate, to achieve a success in our life:
1. be active, don't stall, don't become dormant, try new things - that will increase the probability of meeting the right people, of encountering the right opportunity.
2. keep your eyes open, be ready, when the right opportunity presents itself - use it, act, take a risk.
The rest is fate (how lucky we are :) ).