Think beyond your genes

Posted December 26, 2018


If your friend flipped a coin and said “heads or tails”, you would undoubtedly pick one of the two. So you are given the absolute freedom to pick any side of the coin, but it must be either heads or tails. Likewise, You may choose any career you can think of, but there are always restrictions. 


For the next few minutes I want you to forget all life’s restrictions and “Think beyond your genes”. But not your pair of Guess jeans. “Think beyond your genes” is a quote from the book The Biology of Belief written by Professor Bruce Lipton, a developmental biologist. He has proven that the people we will become is not solely dependent on our biological genes, nor is it determined by the flip of a coin. Our personalities, morals and beliefs stem from our environment, our families and peers, all of which we have almost no control over. However, each and every one of us has the individual capacity to change or ignore these beliefs that are impressed upon us. You cannot believe everything you hear. You cannot trust everything that you are taught. You are not defined by your heritage. Take me for example, my ancestors were indentured laborers, brought to South Africa to plant sugarcane.  But does that mean I’m going to spend the rest of my days cutting sugar cane? Definitely not. The world is my oyster. I have the freedom to choose what is right for me- that is not genetically determined.


Let us look at Diabetes. This is largely a lifestyle disease and not solely genetically predisposed, as it is dependent on stress, diet and exercise, which are all within an individual’s control. 


Apart from illnesses like Diabetes, our hair or eye color and the melanin content in our skin, can be determined from our DNA. Even the skill of being able to roll your tongue is set in stone. Notice how none of these characteristics have anything to do with the way you think. Your thoughts and beliefs are left entirely up to you. Or so we think. The point I am trying to make is that mental and intellectual capacity are not determined by your genes, excluding of course genetic disorders that cause mental problems. You may not believe me but we are shaped by learned behaviors and social media. 


Negative learned behavior occurs from the interactions with our immediate environment. For example, you would raise your eyebrow at an Indian parent for adopting a white baby. True story, my aunt asked social services to adopt a baby who would die of a brain disorder if no one was able to pay his bills, but the response she received was: “we don’t give white babies to Indian parents”. White girls at school aren’t allowed to put cornrows in their hair because it isn’t their culture. Now please, this is not another racism speech. I want to show you how we allow ourselves, generation after generation, to succumb to the beliefs of society as a whole and let them shape us as people. 


My granny wasn’t walking around with the latest iPhone, asking for the Wifi password or posting pics on insta. But our generation is being shaped by social media and not our genes. We allow these smartphones to do the one thing we should be doing for ourselves: thinking. I’m not saying you need to be Einstein and stop using the phone calculator but nowadays, and even I am guilty of this, we ask for Google’s opinion on everything. So much so that “google” is a verb in the Oxford Dictionary and not just a search engine. We are being shaped by the internet and by our families but where does it end?


As children we are told: “You will be great at something!” But why can’t we be good at everything? I believed that Academics were the key to success, anything else was a waste of time. Now I have been in two plays and drama lessons are long awaited. This is seen as taboo for many of my family members that are intellectually inclined to science and math but Drama is a big part of my life. We need to do whatever makes us happy, but no one else can decide what that is. No one else has the right to restrict you or impose their beliefs on you. You may have their genes, but you are not your parents or your grandparents.


From birth we are boxed into a way of thinking. Maybe you will meet a friend inside this box. He will pull out a coin out his pocket and say, “heads or tails”. But there is no tape on this box. You are free to open it as you wish. Don’t feel the need to pick one of his limiting options. Open your box, it’s time to think beyond your genes

This story was submitted in response to Share On Any Topic.

Comments 3

Log in or register to post comments
Jill Langhus
Dec 27, 2018
Dec 27, 2018

Hi Kiyara,

Thanks for sharing your story. Good luck with your story submission.

Hope you have a great day!

Dec 27, 2018
Dec 27, 2018

Thank you very much for sharing your story with us.

Anita Shrestha
Sep 16, 2019
Sep 16, 2019

Thank you for sharing