Epigenetics Learning – You can only blame so much on your genes

While reading much on the psychology of the growth mindset, if there’s something you really would like to add to your reading list, it should be about epigenetics!

Epigenetics is essentially additional information layered on top of the sequence of letters (strings of molecules called A, C, G, and T) that makes up the DNA.

If you consider a DNA sequence as the text of an instruction manual that explains how to make a human body, epigenetics is as if someone’s taken a pack of highlighters and used different colours to mark up different parts of the text in different ways. For example, someone might use a pink highlighter to mark parts of the text that need to be read the most carefully, and a blue highlighter to mark parts that aren’t as important.

Even though every cell in your body starts off with the same DNA sequence, give or take a couple of letters here and there, the text has different patterns of highlighting in different types of cell – a liver cell doesn’t need to follow the same parts of the instruction manual as a brain cell. But the really interesting thing about epigenetics is that the marks aren’t fixed in the same way the DNA sequence is: some of them can change throughout your lifetime, and in response to outside influences. Some can even be inherited, just like some highlighting still shows up when text is photocopied.

This thus gives a very interesting understanding of inheritence & growth – that your environment around you determines what part of your genetics you would express. And also, the environment you keep yourself the most in has the potential to alter your genetic makeup!

So while you might find it most easy to blame your laziness or memory loss or your lack of understanding of some subjects or work profiles to your genes, the reality is that your perception about your potential actually determines how much of your potential you’ll actually allow to see the light of day. In this moment you actually have the brain you have earned versus the brain you deserve.

Therefore potential & talent isn’t fixed from birth, but potential & talent can grow if we do the work to enhance them. This surely negates the fact that successful people are born successful or the fact that entrepreneurs are born with that trait. Some part maybe yes, but if you don’t keep your environment active – don’t push yourself to working on your potential, be it learning new skills or gaining more insight on how the things around us work or the people around us react, or surrounding yourself with positivity, you might never move beyond your own sense of talent worthiness.

As read somewhere: in life, it’s not the most talented – but the bravest, the one willing to focus, practice, persevere when failures appears, outlearn their competition, surround themselves with other a-players and create the environment needed to be their best are the ones who succeed. Therefore, confidence in your abilities, faith in your capacities, and endless commitment, persistence, grit & practice is far more valuable than inborn talent.

Another amazing thing in this finding is the fact that you’ve the ability to change the generations after you! So if there’s something you really don’t like that you’ve inherited, you can change that by adjusting your environment & thus also making sure that your future generations also don’t inherit that behaviour.

Ah! So much that science can teach you to make the best of yourself. ;)

Uptil next time, buh-bye & keep marking the right areas of your DNA! You never know – you might be the next Einstein that the world is looking for! :D


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