Behavioral scientists have long debated whether we are most impacted by nature or nurture. The argument is made up of professionals who believe we are products of our genetic makeup and those who believe we are molded by our environment. As a student of behavioral science, I find it impossible to imagine that we are not impacted both by our DNA as well as the world around us.
The element that most scientists overlook is that we all have the ability to change our minds. We can be born with certain abilities or disabilities but decide to pursue a myriad of possibilities within our lives. As a blind person myself due to a genetic disorder, I am limited in how I do certain things far more than which things I choose to do. I have written more than 30 books, and eight of them have been made into movies or are in production now. This means I write books I can’t see that are made into movies I can’t watch.
Recently, there have been extensive studies of twins who grew up in homes with alcoholic parents. These studies revealed that, given the same genetic makeup and environment, one sibling might become an incurable alcoholic while the other twin might choose to never touch a drop of alcohol throughout their life. We are impacted by our genetics and environment, but we get to choose how we are impacted.
My late, great colleague and mentor Dr. Wayne Dyer bought a house on the beach in a new development in Hawaii. Every day as Dr. Dyer walked on the beach, he encountered new neighbors who were moving into the development. One morning he confronted a gentleman who had just moved to Hawaii from New Jersey. The gentleman asked Dr. Dyer, “What are people like here? Are they friendly?” Dr. Dyer considered it a moment and then asked, “What are people like where you come from?” The gentleman blurted out, “They are rude, thoughtless, and annoying.” Dr. Dyer responded, “You’ll find people to be about the same here.”
As Dr. Dyer continued his walk, he was confronted by an elderly lady who had just relocated from Nebraska. She asked, “Are the residents here nice?” Dr. Dyer inquired, “Are people nice where you come from?” She smiled and said enthusiastically, “Yes! People in Nebraska are friendly, giving, and loving.” Dr. Dyer smiled and stated, “You’ll find people here in Hawaii to be just the same.”
Environment and heredity determine where we start, but we determine where we finish.
As you go through your day today, embrace the good, reject the bad, and create the life you want.
Today’s the day!
This and other motivational pieces by bestselling author Jim Stovall can be found in his latest collection of columns, Wisdom for Winners Volume Four, an official publication of the Napoleon Hill Foundation.