My friends and I have been debating how much genetics plays a role in a person’s behavior and decision-making. It’s the nature-versus-nurture debate. We know genetics (nature) determines physical features like height and hair color (with limited exceptions; for example, starvation will affect growth and therefore height). But what about how we think and act? I found myself thinking deeply about this. Naturally, I’m wondering how genetics affects an entrepreneur’s thinking and decision-making.
My friends are evenly split on which has the greater impact. I’ve noticed they agree on one thing, though. None of them think that genetics or environment alone determines how a person’s mind works or how they behave. The combination of the two molds a person, with one having more influence than the other (which one depends on which person you ask).
Bill Gates’s parents were intelligent people, so I assume they passed their smarts on to Bill and his siblings. However, Bill’s early behavior and decision-making were starkly different from those of the rest of the family. He didn’t like to leave his room to engage with the family (or anyone), and he argued heatedly with his mother when she made him participate in family functions such as dinner. Luckily, he and his family were able to work with a therapist, and his behavior changed. He learned to work with others, and he and his mother became very close.
This question is deep and I have no idea whether nature or nurture affects the mental side of us more. However, one thing is clear to me. You can’t control your genetics. But you can (usually) exert some control over your environment. If you’re trying to do something great, surrounding yourself with the right people and the right environments will probably increase your chance of success.
Play the hand you’ve been dealt as best you can by putting yourself in the right environments.