Nature versus Nurture

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We often underestimate the influence of our environment on us. And we ascribe some of nurture’s influence wrongly to nature.

Ever seen a guy that looks so much like Rasaki, you’re almost sure he’ll talk like Rasaki, he’ll act like Rasaki and definitely have his mannerism. You’ve seen so many Rasaki’s you don’t think you’ll be wrong. Then he suddenly speaks and you hear a UK accent. And whoosh! Everything changes. Rasaki disappears. He suddenly looks like someone else. You begin to think his name is Elvis and has foreign mannerism. Then you hear he’s lived all his life in the UK, and you became sure he’s different.

The truth is, the biggest difference between any two people isn’t their nature or their genes. It is their nurture. The environment they grew up in, the environment they were immersed in. In fact, the only difference between Africa and Europe is the entrenched system, the prevailing environment. That’s why Nigerians flourish abroad -- break academic records in the world’s top universities, extremely law abiding, and often the best citizens in the European countries they live in. Some are so European they are even better than the original Europeans. Why? They were immersed in an environment that molded them right. They are as much Nigerians as those of us who have lived our lives here in Nigeria. Same genes, same nature. Only difference is the nurture.

So how can you fix your environment as a Nigerian living in Nigeria? There is a good news and a bad news. The bad news is that you can’t fix the Nigerian environment. You should try but history has its way of choosing its heroes. You can only try your best, but it’s not for you to choose if your best will be enough. The good news is that you can change your own environment. You can choose your own environment. You can nurture yourself.

You can consciously choose the influence you are under, the people you look up to, the information you feed yourself with and the way you live your life. You don’t have to change your accent. It’s all about the way you think and the actions you take.

You can be anyone, you can be the role model you seek and you create your own environment. It’s not about nature, it’s about your nurture.


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