Some traits you are born with. Your eye color, for example. Some traits represent a more complex interaction between your biology and your environment. You may be born with biological tendencies toward alcoholism, for instance. But if you grow up on a remote island without a single bar or liquor store, you might never “activate” these tendencies.
Many aspects of intelligence are largely inherited, as I.Q. is about 80% genetic. Your I.Q. predicts academic achievement and income fairly reliably. It does not measure things like social intelligence, determination, resiliency or artistic ability.
We refer to these personality traits as the Big Five:
- Openness to new experiences
- Emotional stability
Each of these is 50% inherited. If you don’t do well working with groups, or trying exotic new foods, your parents are partly responsible. But these traits allow for way more wiggle room than, say, your natural aptitude for geometry. An introvert may become an extravert over time. Life experience may teach a disagreeable person to play well with others.
About the Author: James Robbins is a licensed professional counselor, published author and co-owner of Dallas Whole Life Counseling. He has over 15 years of experience helping people in various life stages that come from a wide variety of cultural, economic and family backgrounds. Learn more about his background by clicking here.