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Nature or Nurture – What Will Define You?

jokerDo our lives play out according to destiny or choice? Are we a result of our inborn capabilities or rather of our effort to develop our potential? Are we born who we are or can we make ourselves into whoever we want to be?

Much has been said about the well-known nature vs. nurture debate in psychology. There is no question that humans are indeed a combination of their genetic composition (their DNA) and their environment (their personal experiences).

So yes, we can’t deny the fact that certain traits and abilities are inherited, and that some people are lucky to be born with special talents that just come natural to them, while others aren’t. I guess there isn’t much we can do about certain things in life that just are the way they are.

We do have a choice though as to what we do with what we were given. I believe it was Voltaire who said that we must accept the cards life deals us, but once they are in hand, we alone must decide how to play them in order to win the game.

It is completely up to each one of us to decide if we underutilize or maximize the “cards” we have. We can decide to see ourselves as condemned by birth or we can choose to see ourselves as a realm of endless possibilities to grow and develop.

Our mindset is the turning point that ultimately determines who we become. 

As psychologist Carol Dweck’s research has found, success largely depends on having a growth mindset. Instead of thinking that our qualities are carved in stone, we ought to believe that our qualities can be cultivated through our efforts.

If we believe that life is about learning, we’ll realize that living is about challenging ourselves to new experiences that will help us reach our full potential.

Stretching our minds to surpass our limits allows us to discover all we can be. It is within the power of each one of us to create an environment that contributes to our optimal development and self-actualization.

Skills and abilities are not only inherited but also acquired, and everyone, without exception, can evolve.

Beliefs are the building blocks of our lives and much of who we are is a result of who we believe ourselves to be. What we think, we become.

So don’t buy into the fear of who you think you’ll never be. You may believe you were not born with what it takes or that who you are right now is all you can ever be. But the truth is, you can’t know until you try, and I mean really try; making sure in whatever you do that it is in fact the best you can do.

You can dare to take risks and work hard to become who you want to be or you can just settle and take what life offers you. You can let destiny and genetics define you or you can make yourself accountable for developing into the best you can be.

At the end of the day, the decision is yours, and there’s no fate in that.


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Nature or Nurture – What Will Define You?

Jessica Beltran, MS

Jessica Beltran, MS is a deeply passionate soul who firmly believes it is never too late to become who we want to be. She started out her career as a corporate attorney to later realize that her true passion and calling in life is psychology. She now holds a Masters of Science in Psychology and currently works in Human Resources, applying psychology to the business world. Jessica loves to write about the human mind and behavior not only based on what science has taught her but on what she’s learned from her own self-discovery journey. Psychology changed her life and Jessica hopes through the beauty of words and her love for the field she’ll be able to change the lives of others.

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APA Reference
Beltran, J. (2016). Nature or Nurture – What Will Define You?. Psych Central. Retrieved on August 13, 2020, from


Last updated: 24 Sep 2016
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