Reflecting on Nature vs. Nurture (Guest Post)

nature nurture

Nature vs. Nurture. The age-old debate that cannot ever truly be resolved. So, rather than trying to battle either side of the argument I’m going to explore the themes around the idea.

Our upbringings are all different, but that is what makes us all so brilliant. A society full of people with the same ideas, the same values, would be stagnant and incapable of real change. Someone who has had a difficult upbringing can triumph over someone who has not wanted for anything—but equally, someone with endless opportunities to learn, explore, do, can do fantastically well—leaving the person without easy opportunities to struggle. What we have to ask is this? Does a ‘good’ upbringing necessarily equal a ‘good’ person? For me, the question of ‘good’ is never as black and white as assuming that a financially lucrative upbringing towers over a childhood of hand-me-downs. We should be more concerned with the idea of being care, love and time rich—and less worried about the material goods that we can bestow upon our offspring. Growing up, I never wanted for anything—but that isn’t what I take away from my childhood when I think back on it. I appreciate more, the frequency of which my Father would read to my sisters and I—to make sure that we were able to read well by the age of four (to better prepare us for life). I remember saying to him that I was reading material above my year when I was at school, and that I didn’t understand why everyone else wasn’t. He put it in simple terms of caring, I can’t remember the exact words he used, but it came down to the nurture of a child’s potential. I don’t mean to say that without nurture in the early stages of life we are unable to succeed, but certainly (as with anything), a stable, supportive grounding makes the probability of success just that bit higher (and perhaps just that bit easier).


Debates over early-years development aside, the only person that can make you succeed is you. Without a real desire to do well, you can never truly reach your potential. Whether you have an innate ‘talent’or whether you just have a real interest in something shouldn’t make any difference as to your success within it. Sure, if you’re already ‘good’at a particular task then you’ll find it more gratifying in an immediate sense, but sometimes the knowledge that you’ve worked hard to achieve your goals (despite it being difficult) gives you a greater sense of accomplishment when you reach the top of that mountain. Nurturing what you have by nature is simple—if you’re interested in something and truly love it, then you’ll do it regardless of anything else. Continuing to do it (such as playing a musical instrument for example) will improve your existing ‘talent’ in it. Of course, further study and tuition in your area of interest will always help you to improve it, as will collaboration with others.


Nurturing something that isn’t there (in terms of ‘talent’) is a bit trickier; as with anything though, further study in combination with hard work, collaboration and tuition will enable you to reach your goals. You just have to dedicate yourself to your chosen subject/skill. Success comes from within—if you truly want to succeed at something then you will. You may have to work really hard but eventually you will succeed. The link between success and the people that you surround yourself with is an unarguable one. Collaborating with people that have similar aspirations to you enables you to inspire one-another and create something brilliant. I am a firm believer in the idea that positive people attract positive people. Now that’s not to say that we all have to go around 24/7 with a silly grin on our faces (although you can if you like, it’s no bad thing), the idea of positivity is more of a mindset than an emotion. It’s the urge to get things done and make a real difference, so surrounding yourself with people that really want to do something positive can never be a bad thing. Stay true to yourself, focus on your goals and you’ll succeed.


 Written by co-creator Melanie Houghton


Spark+Mettle decided that 4–8 March 2013 would be Nature+Nurture week. The co-creators were challenged to write an article on the topic. Melanie’s piece is one of the articles produced during this week.  Her Star Track blog can be found here.