Overcoming Human Nature

This is a post that might create a bit of controversy because I’m not a huge believer in the idea of a “fixed” unchangeable human nature. I think too often people use “human nature” as an excuse. They use it to let themselves off the hook. Kind of like when they use the old “the devil made me do it” excuse. They devil may have encouraged you but he can’t make you do anything.

Human nature may mean you’re likely to do something but it doesn’t mean you have to do it. I believe while it’s challenging we can overcome traits, habits and behaviors that may seem to be “human nature.” Overcoming human nature can be a complex and challenging task. That’s because “human nature” is a broad term that encompasses a wide range of behaviors that are inherent to all of us as humans. However, if you’re seeking personal growth and positive change of your human nature, here are some steps and strategies to consider.

• Self-awareness: Start by understanding your own human nature. Recognize your strengths and weaknesses, your biases, and your automatic responses. Self-awareness is the first step toward change.

• Define your goals: Clearly define what aspects of your human nature you want to overcome or change. It could be things like procrastination, impulsivity, negative thinking, or a lack of self-discipline.

• Education: Learn about the psychology and biology behind human nature. Understanding why we have certain tendencies can help you find strategies to overcome them.

• Set achievable goals: Break down your goals into smaller, manageable steps. This makes change more attainable and less overwhelming.

• Develop self-discipline: Cultivate the ability to control your impulses and stick to your goals. This can be achieved through practice and habit formation.

• Seek support: Surround yourself with people who support your goals and can hold you accountable. A mentor can be huge here, they can provide guidance and encouragement.

• Embrace change: Be open to change and willing to adapt your beliefs and behaviors. Sometimes, our resistance to change is a significant barrier to personal growth.

• Build healthy habits: Replace negative habits with positive ones. For example, if you’re trying to overcome a tendency to be pessimistic, practice gratitude and positive thinking.

• Emotional intelligence: Improve your ability to understand and manage your emotions. This can help you make better decisions and relate to others more effectively.

• Empathy and perspective-taking: Cultivate empathy to better understand others and their perspectives. This can help you overcome biases and improve your relationships.

• Learn from failures: Don’t be discouraged by setbacks. Instead, view them as opportunities for growth and learning. Analyze what went wrong and adjust your approach.

• Patience and persistence: Change takes time, and overcoming certain aspects of human nature can be a lifelong journey. Be patient with yourself and stay committed to your goals.

Remember that overcoming aspects of human nature is a highly individualized process. What works for one person may not work for another, so it’s important to find the strategies and approaches that resonate with you and align with your goals. It’s also important to be realistic about what you can change and what you may need to accept as a part of your inherent nature.

And absolutely keep in mind that it’s your human nature you’re working on. Do not think for a moment that you can change another’s person’s human nature. Changing our own human nature is challenging enough. Don’t frustrate yourself trying to change someone else’s. Either accept them for who and what they are or don’t. But don’t waste valuable energy trying to change them.

You might be able to inspire them to change, you might be an encourager for them but if they don’t want to change you’re not going to be able to make them.

2 thoughts on “Overcoming Human Nature

  1. Great topic, Steve, and at the center of so much going on in the world and affecting our lives today. We need to answer and be accountable to what kind of human beings are we and what is our regard for humanity, for other human beings? Nicolas Kristof in NY Times put it this way: “When you care only about some humans and not others, you’ve lost your humanity.” We know the problems and we know the answers. What’s missing is the will to change the behaviors. G/

    1. Wow, thanks Gary, I really like that comment about only caring about some humans, that pretty much sums up the entirety of the problems facing the world today.

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