nature versus nurture

Nature Versus Nurture

Nature versus nurture. Is it really a this versus that? Or is it case closed one or the other? There is an old saying: Leopards can’t change their spots. In other words, it’s in our nature to act a certain way, and our basic personality never changes. This isn’t cynical; it’s powerful…

Why should leopards change their spots, their edge, the camouflage that lets them realize their purpose to be hunters? If a leopard were to hunt out of its natural environment, in a gray urban area, would it lose its edge of camouflage and quickly be spotted by its prey? If a leopard were captured and caged, or forced to carry hay around a farm, would the leopard’s spirit fade away? Like the leopard, we too are animals, but we are disconnected from, and hidden from, our true nature. My mission is to help you find your “spots” and show you how to best use them in this contemporary jungle, to acquire tailor-made happiness and prosperity.

The leopard’s life map is in its ancient genes, a biological blueprint that defines its natural behavior patterns. Each leopard will have a different nurture experience since birth, but they are still leopards. Humans are much more complex animals with more complex needs and desires, but we also have a biological blueprint that defines our natural behavior patterns, and ours varies between members of the same species. My focus is on you uncovering and reconnecting to your biological nature, and disconnecting from your biographical nurture.

Of course, nurture does affect our behavior and can cause desirable outcomes, but it’s not the path to our true self and finding our purpose. Humans are inclined to polarize opinions, so we take extreme sides on the “nature versus nurture” argument, but the reality is that both our nature and our nurture unconsciously affect our behavior. With awareness and perhaps professional help we can identify and overcome the nurtured behaviors that can be so self-sabotaging, and this is the side of us that we can and should change. But trying to change the nature we’re born with is like trying to separate our shadow; it’s who we are. Once you know who and what you are, everything in life suddenly falls into place because your inherent purpose becomes obvious, and this plots a course to happiness on a life map that’s specific to you.

Life is a journey down a corridor of dilemmas, always a door to choose. Should I marry this person or not? Should I take that job or not? Should I move home? We choose a door, and then a whole new corridor of dilemmas opens up as we continue this journey, an endless web of binary choices and outcomes. Without having the right life map, our decision making is haphazard, wrong, or simply nonexistent. What skews our judgment in that corridor are the voices of our past: parents, teachers, society, all the people who’ve scratched away at our true self. But the voice most worth listening to is the one that resonates with your nature. What often stops us listening to this voice of our nature is that it seems to originate from a place buried deep inside us, almost with a life of its own, so we have trouble trusting it. This voice is a collect call from your ancient genes, sometimes called a “gut instinct.” Some gut instincts are common to all humans, and some are specific to certain groups of humans. Some gut instincts should be listened to, some should not, and some should be adapted to modern life. So, making good choices is also about which door not to choose, as a well-known parable illustrates:

A scorpion asked a frog a question: “I want to get across the river. If I sit on your back, will you swim me across?” The frog replied, “No! If I do that, you’ll sting me to death.” The scorpion said, “Why would I do that? If I did, you’d sink, and we would both drown.” The frog accepted the scorpion’s explanation and agreed to the request. Halfway across the river, the scorpion stung the frog. Sinking, the frog said, “Why did you do that? Now we will both die!” The scorpion said, “I’m sorry. It’s just my nature.” Both the scorpion and the frog drowned.

I don’t condemn the scorpion for stinging the frog; I condemn it for not respecting its inherent nature and making a bad choice as a result. A scorpion should not be taking rides on other animals to get across the river; it simply needs to stay on this side of the river or find another way to cross. That’s not defeatist; it’s efficient. It’s the natural line of least resistance across its life map. Whenever

we have to hack a path through The Universe with brute force, it usually means we are on the wrong path. Not that the goal can’t be achieved, but it might not ultimately make us happy.

The frog knew of the scorpion’s nature, but it didn’t act upon the knowledge, so the frog is as much to blame. Stop wishing other people could change and be more like you, because you will then know their inherent and immovable nature. Understanding others leads to acceptance of others, and acceptance leads to inner peace. Reality, not fantasy, is the bridge to an authentic life experience.

Recovering and embracing your inherent nature is not only the line of least resistance, it’s the key to revealing who and what you are and precisely what your purpose is. When you’ve identified and accepted your true nature, something magical happens in that corridor of life choices: the correct door for you pings open automatically, and you confidently walk through it, into a new corridor, where the next door does the same. I help you define what type of “gut” you have and to interpret exactly what it’s saying so you’re more confident about listening to it, and so its voice stops getting muffled by nurtured forces and the cookie-cutter life map society wants you to use.

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nature versus nurture

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