It is the old question: Nature or nurture? Fixed or fluid? Blank slate or paint by numbers? Yeah, I know I have written on this before. Following my when-metaphors-attack style post yesterday, I thought I would try another attempt at this vexing question.
On birth, we receive a slate and an eraser. The size of the slate and the variety of chalks varies amongst us. The slate always comes with some drawings already on it; sometimes faint, sometimes strong. The eraser can often remove some (perhaps even most or all) of the existing drawing, but the eraser is not always as effective as it could be.
It is probably more true to say that we come pre-wired rather than hardwired. That is, we may have strong tendencies but we may be able to change them (re-wire). Of course, such re-wiring can be difficult, expensive, and is, itself, prone to problems.
In short, while we may have limits, we can often surprise ourselves. However, rewiring and redrawing takes effort and it there is no guarantee the result will be more pleasing than the start point.