What makes someone do what they do?
Is it genetics? What they inherited from their family line? The structures of their brain? Or is it the environment they grew up in and the people, organizations, thoughts, and ideas that molded their eventual behavior?
As you might have guessed the answer is all of the above. Yet the pendulum of balance is definitely swinging more in the direction of nurture vs. nature as scientists discover more about how our genes and brain function.
In the past genes where believed to be fixed. Meaning that if you had a gene that increased your probability of contracting a disease or disorder you where sure to get it.
Today with the study of epigentics scientists have actually shown how genes have an on and off switch that is influenced by outside factors such as food, stress, and even thoughts.
This means that the choices you make in your life actually have literal, concrete and very important consequences.
The power of nurture is extremely evident in the story of James Fallon professor of psychiatry and human behavior at the University of California Irvine and author of Psychopath Inside.
In doing research on the brain structures of convicted killers James discovered his brain structures matched that of serial murders.
After conversations with family and friends it was clearly illuminated that Professor Fallon exhibited traits of risk taking, reduced empathy, and at times an aggressive disposition. Yet he had never physically harmed anyone.
When he describes his life growing up it is very clear to see he was reared in a nurturing and loving environment.
Even though his brain and genetics where set up for him to be a killer his environment helped take him in a completely different direction.
What do you need to shift in your life in the way you nurture yourself and others? How can the power of choice actually create literal impact and change on your path?
We should never ignore what nature has given us, but we should always remember our power to engage and change the course of even the most challenging of conditions. True freedom!