Your life is not predestined, it's likely however you made a 'soul's plan' or life plan before birth. That's a set of decisions about this incarnation that lay the framework for learning and experience, for the overall purpose of spiritual progression, balancing and enlightenment.
Before you were born your spirit self was within the spirit world, a plane of existence where time has no influence. There are many entities there – friends you travel with or your 'soul group', spirit guides, higher guiding entities and guardians in the perpetual devotion of service to others. Each soul is at a differing level of spiritual progression. Based on learning and experience you have received in previous incarnations and periods in spirit, you still require further incarnative experiences in order to learn and progress, in the seeking of spiritual balance.
Having a life plan doesn't mean that events in your life are predestined. It doesn't mean that your life is mapped out for you. One of the most important laws of the universe must come into play, and that's free will. You go about your life experiencing your own random catalyst, that's events in your life that occur at random, and you react according to your own free will and follow your own path. However, invisible guidelines shape the events within your lifetime.
Can you remember any odd occurrences that seem highly coincidental but lead you on a certain path? These are likely events put in place to guide you along your soul's plan, and to disentangle you from the complexity of events occurring in your life.
Here is a popular book on this subject: Soul Plan: Reconnect with Your True Life Purpose.
Overall, conditions manifest that were chosen before birth that facilitate your life plan. These could be pre-chosen aspects such as standard of living, your family members, having a disability and so on. In addition, your spirit guides or other guiding and guardian entities help to put you back on track should you deviate too far from the plan.
Opportunities present themselves during your lifetime to provide the learning that was sought before birth, but if the opportunities are missed, then they will present themselves again and again until they are learned.
So you see, by taking heed and learning from events around you, you can move on through your life plan and progress spiritually. The lessons need not repeat. This is the same for repeating lifetimes. If you can recognize the lessons you should be learning during this lifetime and pay attention, allowing the lessons to really sink in through meditation and contemplation so that they reach the deepest roots of your mind's tree, then you will be far less likely to need to repeat the lessons again in another lifetime. One must not to consistently miss the point of a lifetime.
Karma plays a role for your own benefit. If you have behaved unkindly in one lifetime, you'll be treated unkindly in another for the purpose of your own understanding. This situation could be of your own choosing.
As a crude examples, you may have experienced loneliness and then much social popularity, or been loved and then felt unloved, been neglected and then had your every need catered for. But if you've never experienced great success and abysmal failure, you may choose one or more lifetimes experiencing success and then others experiencing failure. You might manage to incorporate both into one lifetime, but you'll likely repeat your experiences again and again until you learn what you originally aimed to learn. Only then can you truly know these experiences, understand these emotions and become enlightened. There may be five or more different learning and experience aims within one lifetime.
In the spirit world all that has been forgotten is remembered. Your past lives and all your knowledge and experience within the universe is accessible to you. You know yourself in your entirety and that you are one with the universe and everything within it.
Your higher self is you in a different time-space, it is you in the future looking back. It can do this because time is not relative to our time. Our time runs in a linear fashion, but time can be moved around in freely where the higher self resides. The higher self therefore aids in the creation of the soul's plan for each lifetime, and in doing so further perfects itself. The higher self also helps in the examination and understanding of lifetimes spent, reflecting upon learning and experience gained. Catalyst is also provided by the higher self for healing after each lifetime.
The higher self, being vastly more spiritually advanced, wise and intelligent than our present self, analyzes possibilities and probabilities of learning and experience aims being achieved as a result of any choice, decision or turning point – contributing to the efficiency and efficacy of the soul's plan.
Less advanced entities are not in a position to construct a life plan. For example, a second density entity such as a monkey or cat are responsive to survival based stimulus or catalyst, and therefore progress in terms of self awareness and consciousness through meeting the survival needs of their physical form. As they progress to a greater state of self awareness they will begin to incarnate as perhaps human, and reach a point where spiritual development is sought and therefore a life plan is constructed. Once an entity on its long path of spiritual progression becomes aware that they are part of a reincarnation process and are able to create a soul's plan, they are likely to seek to do so.
It's possible to remember some of what you were made to forget at birth. Having a spiritual awakening is a rather drastic example of this. However, if you were to deviate from your life plan, for example, by becoming greedy due to an opportunity to become extremely wealthy and give very little to your employees - by piercing the forgetting process you may subconsciously remember that this behavior is not common with your divine personality and cease the behavior. Subconscious remembering can be spontaneous and is a common occurrence. This can help you to remain within the boundaries of your life plan.
Distortions and biases within your mind/body/spirit complex require balancing, and this is true for all entities until they progress to the highest density of existence. Part of balancing, as mentioned earlier, is experiencing opposites and deciding on the perfect balance between them. You do not have to be eternally patient, but must experience patience and impatience until you know yourself so well, that you can balance at your own perfect level of patience/impatience. But to do this you must experience the polar opposite of both and somewhere between.
A negatively polarized soul might set for themselves a soul's plan with a lifetime of plentiful wealth. In fact this is common and why so many with so much are not predisposed to sharing it with those with very little. These entities balance in the negative, and they are working within lifetimes to perfect this. They may also incarnate among conditions where they are likely to gain power and control over others, start conflicts, harm others and cause pain. Negatively polarized individuals may also incarnate into terrible situations in order to perfect experiencing anger, hatred and revenge.
Those of a more positive nature often incarnate in environments where they can experience pain, perhaps in the form of a physical illness since birth, an injury received in life, being on the receiving end of abuse, attack or conflict - so later in life, or in a lifetime free of pain, they may greatly appreciate this liberation. They may incarnate to experience insufficient wealth and in the face of this adversity strive to care for others. They may also incarnate as a wealthy person but choose to contribute to saving lives – in doing so, they learn selflessness and how these actions feel to perform. There are unlimited variations of incarnative possibilities.
At birth, you forget previous lifetimes, the laws of the universe and everything you know – however, there is a dim recollection of something. In fact, anyone who has more than one child will usually confirm that their children were born with utterly different personalities. You are the subconscious sum of your experiences. Your personality seeps through the forgetting process and this is why many souls are born with amazing talents, for example, in music, science or mathematics. The soul's plan may seek to further perfect these, or potentially suppress them so that other lessons can be learned. However, each new lifetime you meet armed with more and more subconscious knowing, gained from previous lifetimes gone by.
Earth holds a great array of mind/body/spirit complexes (people) at differing levels of spiritual progression. Many have no idea, or simply cannot remember what they are here to do, learn or experience. Therefore, their progression is slow. Those with greater self awareness and focus have more attuned learning and experience aims, and therefore progress more quickly toward balance, enlightenment and oneness with the universe.
Pay attention to life's lessons – that's not just a fancy thing to say – it will literally propel you forward in your personal cosmic evolution to a higher state of existence. You did yourself a favor, because no matter how tough life gets, those lessons you strategically chose for yourself before birth as part of your life plan, will ultimately move you toward infinite wisdom and contentment.