What Makes Us Who We Are?

Did I inherit what I am to be? Maybe or maybe not. There is no question that I inherited my looks, size, the color of my skin, and much more. But did I inherit my behavior? Here I argue that we are more a result of the environments and people we encounter. I contend that those who hold initial power and influence over us are immensely important in our lives. 

Power and influence are issues I have written about for a long time. My observations are based on hundreds of experiences working with staff, children, adults, and a wide range of organizations and families.

Classic stories run through my mind: The boy on daily drugs to settle him down comes to camp and does not need the medication, but when he goes home needs them full-time after a few weeks. A classroom of troubled 6th graders who learn to enjoy school so that they hate weekends and being away from each other. The family who once sat silently around the kitchen table until it became the center of conversation and participation.

These and hundreds more experiences I have been personally involved in prove my point. The growth and changes I have witnessed tell me that people are not cast in concrete. When those in power create a nurturing environment, showing regard and respect, the people they influence become more themselves, giving them the gift all humans are meant to have.

Am I held hostage—To those with power over me?—I know this is true


Author: Sy Ogulnick

Sy Ogulnick received a BA from UCLA, Teacher’s Credential from Los Angeles Board of Education and completed phase I (Master’s portion) in a Doctor of Behavioral Science program at California Coast University. Sy leased and operated a summer day camp in LA. He and his wife then purchased virgin wilderness land in Northern CA, where they built and operated a coed summer camp. They moved to Las Vegas, NV, and purchased, built and operated a community children’s program for families staying in a major resort casino in Las Vegas. They have created programs for children nationwide that employed many people and in the process developed successful training programs for personnel. This led Sy to lecture on how to train staff and the creating of community within the workplace. Sy was then invited to speak at professional conferences on how best to hire and train employees, which led to his becoming a consultant in the art of improving relationships in a work environment and eventually to his epiphany that “Leaders are the primary problem and the answer to the personnel issues that arise in the workplace.” Sy has written numerous papers on the subject of interpersonal relationships, leadership and power. He has lectured throughout the United States, has been interviewed by the media and has appeared on many radio and TV talk shows

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