Nurture > Nature

A complex and endlessly debated topic.

I've come to believe that when I’m in a conversation with someone who believes nature wins, they usually have a fixed mindset. When I have a discussion with someone who thinks nurture wins, they are growth mindset focused. (”I can change my environment to change myself.”)

Nature determines everything!

Nurture determines everything!

Fixed mindset

Growth mindset

If you think your genes completely determine your ability to do something, all is lost.

If you believe in livewiring and the ability to change your mind, and therefore your abilities, the upside is endless.

The ultimate creative capacity of the brain may be, for all practical purposes, infinite. -George Leonard

On the flip side, maybe there is a genetic limit. I don’t know how much of this is worth thinking about, since it’s my belief that we are moving into an age where everyone can edit themselves. (With pills, surgery, or Cas9.)

The other small realisation I’ve had is that I’m not often in the position to change my environment - Like the Alan Watts line:

"The you that needs to be improved is the one that is doing the improving.”

Bearing this in mind, it’s difficult to join a club to make friends, start a hobby, or even clean a room. The one who needs to do all of those things is the very person who will continue to struggle with them.

The mental model of

has immeasurably helped in how I view this. Rather than view it as a fruitless journey where I cannot improve myself, I see it as a luck based approach to hitting a ‘spark’, setting in motion a cascade (
Feedback Loops
) of positive improvement.

For example - The only activation energy needed to write for 15 days was a $10 fee.

Small amount of energy needed for a large return.

Something I’ve been experimenting with more is the minimal energy I need to spend for someone to accomplish a task. (Useful concept for any manager.) I’ve been finding that if I guide someone exactly to begin, and provide a few links, the success rate increases 5x. (Similar to the Tim Ferriss concept of Adherence, outlined here.)

I learned this approach from myself, I often avoid tasks if I don’t force myself to pick an exact starting place.

But back to the beginning, I think it’s often just not possible for people to change their environment. Either time, money, or family constraints. It’s a long list, but freedom of movement is hard to come by. (Which is why we should seek to maximize


This inspired a small white paper on a boot-camp-esq business that removes people from their current environment without their knowledge. (Consent is obtained months beforehand and paid for by the customer.) In essence - I think a lot of the environment-change benefits disappear when I am consciously trying to change my environment. (Attending a boot camp or meditation retreat.) I think those benefits can be found if the environment change is unexpected. (The benefits of