Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Nature vs Nurture

This world-famous everlasting argument ceases to amaze me. I will pose a question. Are your personal attributes, talents, insecurities, flaws, social tendencies, mannerisms, and intellect determined by our surroundings or by genetics? This debate can go on for days if we let it. But I will explore both sides of the equation. The nurture aspect of this topic consists of a trait or a skill being fostered rather than it being nascent. The nature aspect of this topic focuses on the idea that the way we are is innate and is not something that is taught.

I believe that many traits that are cultivated through social observation are attributed to nurture. These are things such as being wise, a keen observer, or being funny. I also believe that nature can be responsible for certain talents but nurture can take this talent to the next level. A prime example is myself. I consider myself a good dancer, I personally think it was a God given gift but I have also honed my skills through practicing. If I didn't practice my skills I would have plateaued and would have not improved. Another example is Michael Jordan. Sure he had some natural ability to play the game but what maximized his potential was countless hours of mastering his game.

There are personal characteristics that I view as genetic. These are humor, openness, curiosity, attractiveness, charm, athleticism and intellect. All of these traits are inherent to certain humans. I believe most talents are also innate. Any traits that are psychologically stimulated are nurtured. These could be shyness, defensiveness, self esteem, and combativeness. In addition discipline, critical thinking, leadership qualities, and other life skills are acquired through your upbringing and life experiences.

The simple answer to why we are the way we are is that different qualities can be attributed to either nature or nurture. Traits that are inherent tend to involve a particular skill, talent, intellect or another unique characteristic such as being humorous. On the other hand traits that are nurtured are a love for a certain activity (such as reading), a psychological trait (defensiveness), a flaw and a social tendency such as being engaging and friendly.

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