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I procrastinate a lot. I’m sure lots of people do and believe there is nothing they can do about it. I admit it sometimes seems uncontrollable, as many things we do and think in our life. It seems to be in our genes and therefore there is nothing we can do to overpower it.
I’ve recently read a book called “The Biology of Belief”, written by a cell biologist called Bruce Lipton, that really opened my mind to how we perceive things. Among other learnings, it made clear how we are so limited by what we perceive as undoubted truths.
Do genes control us?
For a long time, the scientific community believed every cell’s brain was the nucleus, that contains genetic material – DNA. In this scenario, the cell’s nucleus and its genes, as a human brain, control the cell and its identity.
Since human beings are a community of cells, it was believed that our identity was determined by our genes. It was okay for people to make excuses like: “Oh I can’t help I’m so lazy, my parents are too – it’s in my genes”, or “I’ll never be good at sports, it’s in my family’s DNA”.
However, a new field of science called Epigenetics, proved otherwise. It proved that environment signals control biology.
If genes don’t control us, what does?
All living cells are an assembly of animated proteins, with different functions each. In the cell’s membrane specifically, there are receptor proteins – they receive signals from the environment and are the equivalent of our sensor organs –, and effector proteins – they respond and act on those signals.
The actual “brain” is the membrane that covers the cell, which receives information from its surroundings and acts on it. Without the membrane, the cell dies immediately (which doesn’t happen with the nucleus).
In the end, environment influences, like stress and emotions, are what control the cell’s behaviour and not our genes!
Since human beings are a union of cells, we too function by the influence of our environment.
There is a catch
If we are influenced by our environment, it should be easy to change our behaviours, right?
It is not that simple. The way we respond to environment signals is affected by our perceptions. Most of them are acquired in our early years, for example, by our family, and get hardwired in our subconscious. Our perceptions become our beliefs and may control the way we act.
It’s about our perceptions
If we can gain conscious about how the subconscious mind works, we can change our perceptions and therefore change our beliefs. It may not be easy to transform our subconscious mind, but we sure have that ability.
Maybe you procrastinate, and you may even believe you were born with that behaviour. The good news is you didn’t, and it can be changed.
Ultimately, genes don’t control our biology, not even the way we think. As stated in Lipton’s book, “It’s the environment, stupid”.