Were you born that way?


Outer circumstances and inner disposition frequently favor one mechanism and restrict or hinder the other.

Carl Jung
Psychological Types Page 6

Ask any mother – if they have more than one child – are their children’s personalities more similar or different? How soon could you tell? They will invariably answer that their children’s personalities are different and they could tell at birth! Even more startling, many mothers could tell their children’s personalities were different in the womb! A preponderance amount of observable evidence points to the fact that humans are born with an innate disposition.

Many factors influence our behavior growing up. Parents. Grandparents. Our caretakers who raised us clearly have the most significant influence in our early years. Siblings, friends, teachers, even television — all help to shape us along the way. Some behaviors are encouraged and actually rewarded, while others are discouraged and even punished. So we learn to adapt in order to cope and attempt to thrive within our environment.

Notable 17th century philosopher and mathematician, Gottfried Leibniz, compared the human mind to a block of marble containing within it certain cracks along which the block is naturally predisposed to split when sculpted by life’s experiences.

A Time Magazine article from 2001 promotes the work of Molecular biologist Dean Hamer and his book titled Living with Our Genes published in 1999. The article explains how hunting down the genes that influence personality remains a dauntingly difficult business. Hamer explains, what genes appear to do is subtly bias the psyche so that different individuals react to similar experiences in surprisingly different ways. Hamer predicts that, over the coming decade, scientists will identify thousands of genes that directly and indirectly influence behavior.

Do Genes Influence Personality?

In an article in Psychology Today from July of 2013, social-personality psychologist Michael W Kraus Ph.D provides a summary of recent advances in the nature vs. nurture debate. He concludes that “on the one hand, genes clearly seem to contribute to personality, but on the other, much of the genetic evidence has not supported this view.”

Science has yet to prove what every mother knows so well.

A person’s overall personality starts with an inborn disposition yet changes over time as a person interacts with their environment. In other words, a person’s overall personality is made up of both natural (inborn) and adaptive (learned) traits.

Life experiences generally require us to adapt and operate outside our comfort zones in order to overcome obstacles. We may excel early at behaviors that are adaptive and not find opportunities to fully develop our natural traits until later in life.

Personality Lingo provides you with the vocabulary to categorize personality traits into meaningful patterns. You may find yourself relying upon each of the four personality styles in different life circumstances. Pay attention to the times when you feel drained of energy and the times that you feel charged up after an interaction. This will help you begin to distinguish your natural traits from your adaptive ones.

A person who is left-handed at birth can get really good at writing with their right hand after years of practice. The question is “Do they ever become right-handed?”