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  • Writer's pictureZach Lucas

Nature, Nurture & Narrative

Our lives develop through various experiences. It's never just one thing that informs our development. One may ask, "Am I a product of my ______?"

Nature: My genetics; or Nurture: How I was raised? or, Narrative: My choices?

I believe the answer is yes! All of the above! Let's look at these three through the lens of a sailboat analogy.


Nature includes your genetics, brain anatomy, body type, and baseline chemical make up (such as neurotransmitters and hormones). This is the body of your sailboat. Everyone has a unique physical makeup that influences who they are. For example, some have a proclivity to a more cheerful disposition because they have naturally high levels of serotonin. Sometimes brain abnormalities occur, such as the woman who discovered at age 24 that she was born without a cerebellum--which is responsible for balance and coordination!


Nurture includes all things outside you. These would be the waves and wind surrounding your sailboat. Primarily this refers to your family of origin. However, it also includes things like where you live. For example, a person who lives in the Pacific Northwest who struggles with Seasonal Affective Disorder. Diet can also fall under Nurture, such as a child who only has access to processed foods. Overtime, this will affect their mental, emotional, and physical health.


Narrative represents your will; the sails and oars of your sailboat. While you do not always have control of your Nature & Nurture, you do have the power of choice within them. Our Nature and Nurture play a significant role in our lives, but we are not a slave to them. Narrative allows us to adjust our sails accordingly (and if there is no wind--we'll use our oars!). Personality development happens through the Three N's. A great documentary about this is Three Identical Strangers. I encourage you to watch i!

For a deeper look, please read these articles about how our Narrative can influence the perceived limits of our Nature & Nurture!

The Three N's of Life Development:

Narrative & Nature - How your Narrative can speaker louder than your Nature.

Narrative & Nurture - How your Narrative can speaker louder than your Nurture.

Dale's Story - Seeing While Blind - A Narrative of true 20/20 vision.

Zach Lucas is a Licensed Professional Counselor for the State of Oregon.

He also teaches dual credit high school Psychology classes in the Portland area.

Feel free to contact him at:


The information provided is for self-exploration only and not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any condition or disease.  Always consult with a licensed professional who specializes in the area you are seeking to understand and treat.  

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