Nature vs Nurture

counseling

I often wonder about human behaviors and why some people do certain things and why other people don’t do those same things. Is it nature? Is it nurture? Or some combination of both? Why are some people able to overcome tremendous life obstacles but others are easily overwhelmed by the daily challenges life often presents?

Some people believe that we are just born with certain strengths and weaknesses and we are wise to know what those are so we can operate in our strengths and compensate for the weaker parts of our skill set. Other folks push that no matter what a “natural” talent or deficient may be, with enough hard work and perseverance, any personal limitation can be overcome.

My own belief on this topic is that the truth is some where in the middle; as is true with most things. Yes we are born naturally talented in certain areas but if those gifts and talents are not fostered, then they may stay dormant. Yes it is also true that with enough personal motivation, people are able to become competent in a skill that didn’t naturally come to them but they acquired nonetheless.

I find this topic interesting because I have watched so many friends, family and clients face many life challenges of varying degrees of seriousness. It never ceases to amaze me how one person can persevere through what anyone would consider a terrible situation and yet someone else emotionally crumbles under what would be collectively thought of as a lessor life challenge. Why is this?

It is my opinion that personal fortitude is not something that can be easily taught. A person whose first inclination is to give up on a challenge is going to have to really do some soul searching if they want to become someone who is an over-comer in life. One excellent counseling theory that helps with this struggle is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). CBT works with the person’s inner thoughts to help identify, challenge and replace thinking that leads to passive actions in life.

Whether it is nature or nurture that drives personal achievements, it is important to recognize whether we ourselves are operating as an over-comer or easily overwhelmed. If you find yourself in the overwhelmed category, don’t worry. There is  a path to understanding why it happens and changing it. But know that only those who are truly wishing to change, do so. Otherwise a whole of lot of the same continues without much difference year after year.