Triad of Determinants: Nature, Nurture, and Soul

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called, “Nature, Nurture, and Soul.”

We are not just what nature and nurture make us–but rather, there is a third leg of this triad of factors that make us who we are, and that third and most important element is that we each have a soul. The soul of each person guides us to choose between right and wrong, good and evil, and sacred and impure, and to not just give in to our weaknesses, which each person has.

Hope you enjoy the article! 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Born Or Forged To Lead

Born Leader.jpeg

So are we born to lead or are we forged to greatness through adversity and lots of hard work?


Some people definitely seem to have innate leadership characteristics:


– Charisma


– Integrity


– Decisiveness


– Passion


– Determination


– Agility


– Intelligence


– Inspirational


– Confident


– Articulate


Other people maybe weren’t born with it, but they learn to become great leaders through:


– Hard Work


– Willingness to learn


– Continuous improvement 


– Motivation to advance


– Finding a meaningful mission 


– Belief that they can make a difference


– Faith that G-d is guiding them


Like with most things in our life, it’s a combination of nature and nurture. 


Good raw material starts us off on the right track and then forging it with fire and a hammer and polishing it off into a great sword with hardness, strength, flexibility, and balance. 


As Joanna Coles, Chief Content Officer at Hearst Magazine says:

“I’m an overnight sensation 30 years in the making.”


Birth is just the beginning… 😉


(Source Photo: Dannielle Blumenthal)

Struggle Against Nature and Nurture

Struggle Against Nature and Nurture

I started watching The Following on Netflix.

If you haven’t seen it, the show is a portrayal of a serial killer.

This criminal has a near cult like following of people who want to kill, like him, and they do.

It is a frightening portrayal of people who murder, gruesomely.

They do it almost nonchalantly, like second nature.

They have no remorse, quite the opposite, they are deeply committed to what they do (e.g. through stabbing, burning, choking, etc.)

And they connect with each other, and the main serial killer, in their brutal acts of murder.

The show is deeply troubling in that there seems to be so many people out there who savor this, and that the authorities struggle to try to stop them.

Last year, the Wall Street Journal explored the science behind violent criminals.

They found in more than 100 studies that “about half of the variance in aggressive and anti-social behavior can be attributed to genetics.”

The study of this is called neurocriminology.

When this predisposition of genetics is combined with “early child abuse,” an individual is more prone to commit violent acts.

This is the old, “nature and nurture,” where our biological predisposition combined with our specific environmental factors, in a sense, make us who we are.

Understanding these contributors can help to both predict behavior and recidivism, and very importantly help with early treatment by “making it possible to get ahead of the problem” through therapy, medication, and so on.

People can be the worst type of animals, killing not only for food or because they are threatened, but actually for the joy of it.

The show is scary, but the reality is even more frightening as we battle heredity and environment.

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Welcome To The World

Welcome To The World

What a welcome to the world this baby in China got.

According to Discovery News, the baby was flushed down a toilet…alive!

Residents heard the cries of the baby from the 4th floor bathroom.

Firefighters sawed away sections of a 10 cm pipe with the 2-day old baby inside.

The baby had been in the pipe at least 2 hours–I am amazed it didn’t drown.

The baby was brought to the hospital and put in an incubator and luckily, the baby survived.

I am sorry for the parent(s) who you’d think must’ve gone through hell before doing something this drastic.

And while I don’t like to judge or be judged, however unwanted this pregnancy or unprepared the parents were for this new child–there has got to be better ways to deal with it than this.

An early abortion or giving the child up for adoption is just two options, and struggling to keep the child is a third.

Maybe the parent(s) thought they could save the baby from even a worse fate living in poverty, born out of wedlock, or violating the one-child per family policy–but it is still hard to imagine taking an innocent, helpless infant and doing something so cruel and disgusting.

How will this child grow up, knowing it was thrown away like this by its own parents? What type of self-worth will it have? How will it feel and act towards others in society having been acted on this way?

There are so many monsters out there…killers, rapists, abusers (many serial)–do we wonder where they came from?

I remember learning people are product of nature and nurture–in this case, there was certainly no nurture, quite the contrary…and it will take at least a normal new home, where they are treated like children and not waste products for this child to have a fighting chance. 😉

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Milgram And The Moral Fiber Of Leadership

Four year ago (7 November 2007), I wrote a blog called The Milgram Experiment And Enterprise Architecture, which discussed lessons from this experiment in terms of the awesome responsibility that we all have, but especially people in leadership positions, to do the “right thing.
Today, I sat with my mouth agape seeing the Milgram Experiments repeated 50 years later in a study for television, conducted by the Discovery Channel, where they asked “How Evil Are We?”
I watched one participant after another administer what they believed where painful shocks to a another person with a heart condition screaming and begging for the experiment to stop.
Of 11 people, only one women stepped up, stood up, and refused to participate, saying that she could not harm another human being.
All the rest, continued to administer what they thought were painful shocks to an unwilling screaming participant having heart pain, simply by being prodded by a man in a lab coat at the back of the room saying “the experiment requires you to continue” and “it’s absolutely essential you continue.”
To the viewers horror, the participants continue to to push the lever to shock the other person at an even higher voltage!
When they ask the people afterwards who administered the shock, who would’ve been responsible if the person receiving the shock had a heart attack and died? one lady immediately turns around and points to the other man in the lab coat.
Like in the evil Nazi death camps, “authority remains a decisive force” and people will do horrible acts saying they were “just following orders.”
In the Discovery program, when they add a second person to the experiment who stops the shocking and refuses to go on, only then does the other person refuse as well. 
So aside from the lesson that we must always safeguard our own moral compass and do the right thing even in the face of others prodding us to do things that are immoral, unethical, or illegal, we can also learn that by speaking up when we see something wrong, we can indeed influence others to do what’s right as well, and in essence “lead by example”.
My hope and prayer is that all of us can overcome negative impacts of nature and nurture to see with clarity when something is not right and have the courage to stand up and say and do something about it.
Like the sole participant who refused to administer the shocks and said that she couldn’t go home at night and look herself in the mirror if she did these bad things, we too can live our lives so that when we go home to our maker, we can look at our lives with our consciences clear and at peace, and perhaps even having made a real and lasting difference in this world.