LeadU presents @F-L-O-W, CH 2-2: Epigenetics Anyone?


Chapter 2, part 2:
Epigenetics Anyone?

The world wants to align and use differing gifts in fulfilling the needs of our multi-verse. This book is about coming to know the gifts you have and aligning them with the contributions called for by accelerating complexity.

“We either hang together or all of us will hang separately,” paraphrasing a famous quote by Ben Franklin.

Think of your life for a moment as a result of a lottery system—nature’s own lottery. Your parents came together and created you, their children, to whom their parents’ parents contributed. Each had their own mixture of talents to overplay and underplay resulting in what we call limits…or limitations.

You received contributions from them in different proportions, perhaps with some combined effects that weren’t even visible in them! Today, we know them as SNPs, or single nucleotide polymorphisms, tiny building blocks of genetic differences. That’s the reason that people do not start on an even playing field, or with a blank slate.

Where you won at nature’s lottery, things will come more easily to you. Thus, your alignment with success requirements that are easy to satisfy and that you wake up into… is mostly a gift and not completely a consequence of yours or anyone else’s efforts, credit, or blame.

Where you did not do well in nature’s lottery, things will come less easily to you. At the same time, your relative failure in these areas is also, in part, simply given and you cannot bear blame for it, even as those who won nature’s lottery cannot take credit. Irony again. Yet effort, ambition, and, yes, even laziness is likely inborn — go figure!

This is a hard pill to swallow, as it leads us directly down the path of what we think is determinism and eugenics. Yet, the fact remains, we are what we are, and most of that is beyond our control. We are, as Jonathan Haidt described as “riders on an elephant” in his 2012 book The Righteous Mind. He is quoted as saying: “If you want to change people’s minds, you’ve got to talk to their elephants.”

And that might be why I am meeting so much resistance @F-L-O-W, because I’m appealing, obviously, to the rider. Actually, this book was written a decade ago, and yet in field testing the theory, it has become obvious that an immune response is prevalent to this new emerging paradigm of sense-making.

Either way, you have a personal opportunity — and I might even call it your only responsibility — to live out the design of your life to contribute in whatever way and at whatever level you can, because we are all in this together. We are just not the same, or broken, as Blank Slate has conditioned us to believe, and it’s not fair to think so.

You might think of this responsibility as rooted in gratitude for what you have been given by parents, other individuals, the world — and, a lot of us believe, from God, our evolving universe, and just plain luck. The classical Greeks had a word for this: tropheia, the obligation of return for nurture given. It’s high time that most of us who won nature’s lottery get off our noble high-horses and find our way back to our knees in gratitude and service to others, and stop taking credit for why we have it so well!

Scaffold? Not change?

And what about the areas where you do not do as well?

@F-L-O-W you can use your knowledge of those misalignments, often called limitations in BS, to find the natural design for you and to recalibrate design scaffolding for your life, work, relationships, and society. Those who can must scaffold design for others who can’t. As you come to identify just what your misalignments or limits are, the guidance system @F-L-O-W scaffolds you through a process of designing away the negative consequences of misalignments, individually as well as collectively.

It does this by surrounding your talents with a scaffold of support — from other people and systems, be they family, friends, children, business, community, or even religious and political organizations — so you can learn better, faster, and deeper in the areas of your gifts, spinning off free energy in the process to deal with accelerating complexity, energy, and information.

Your contribution will be efficient, effective, and most of all sustainable there, in your talent-driven areas, and our needs as a society will be met with less effort, fewer resources, and less waste when we are all collaborating from our talents. You will be encouraged to focus your MITEAM (remember, that’s Money, Information, Time, Effort, Attention, Motivation) living out of your talents as they are applied productively. You’ll learn more about design later in chapter ten, “Success by Design.”

Design @F-L-O-W nurtures your nature!

The way you get your greatest success is to understand and use strategically what you received in nature’s lottery in collaboration with others—openly peering, sharing, and collaborating glocally, with ”glocal” being an awareness that we are all in this together everywhere but acting locally. With that in our minds and hearts we act to form strong families, neighborhoods, and communities linked around the world, but in doing so are more energy and information efficient.

Matt Ridley, in his important 2003 book on epigenesis, Nature via Nurture, writes, “The more you discover genes that influence behavior, the more you find that they work through nurture.”

When we are children and even into our young adulthood, most of us are more subject to the environment as shaping our lives. We’re impressionable, and we tend to try to do what we think is the right thing, even when it’s not aligned with who we are authentically. In some cases, we do things according to our nature, and are less concerned with our nurture — as all of us can attest to the oddballs like me out there, who are in fact abnormal.

As we get older, however, and become more familiar, consciously or unconsciously, with how we are genetically guided, we’re able to look at ourselves more objectively as the maturational subject-object shift happens. The environment we so carefully clothed ourselves in seemingly begins to just fall away, to dissolve. We have a greater ability to adjust our behavior and make choices that put us in flow states and levels and on a path @F-L-O-W.

As Michelangelo noted, the David was already there and he, Michelangelo, just had to remove the stone blocking its view. So goes our maturation and the construction of our experience, guided by inbornness across our human experience.

As we mature, our choices and, mostly, that which chooses us are more aligned with who we really are, with our talents and emerging strengths and happiness guided by what we really and truly value intrinsically. You might say we grow into ourselves as we get older, or grow into our genes. Most of us notice increased happiness in our later years.

Having spent a lifetime trying to jump through cultural hoops, people need less and actually grow in well-being as they age, reports almost always demonstrate. Inborn talent usually allows you to develop a particular range of differing skills, depending on the environment you’re paying attention to and moving within.

@F-L-O-W, using self-knowledge when reaching out to others — shown to be a key factor in promoting resilience — together with robust design, can bring inborn happiness needs into alignment with your efforts to achieve success. No longer do you need to feel torn between the poles of success requirements and inborn roots of happiness.

No longer does your happiness bucket have to leak while you pursue success!

You can have your cake and eat it too… but first tie up your camel!

You have to put MITEAM into discovering and knowing yourself in order to realize the nature of your emergent capability. It helps to know who you are in order to embrace your nature — and not let it always have you — at least by being an informed participant, or rider, rather than allowing the irrational conditioning of BS to inform you of what you want, driving you to needless consumption based on the fires of desire that society continuously and repeatedly fans.

Whether nature gives you great potential to be a runner or to help people know and fulfill their true gifts, nurture and deliberative practice in areas of talent (not to be confused with deliberative practice alone) are essential to bringing your potential to realization.

Recognize what is already present and perfect inside of you and regulate as you can how it unfolds — not by wasting your talents working on fixing yourself. Rather, use scaffolding, which is a process often left for those few who are motivated naturally to do so.

For the rest of us, we need to stick with scaffolding wherever possible and change only when it becomes a critical path issue. Such is my advice from twenty-five years of coaching others in performance, change, and transformation.

The true grit of understanding your genetically guided inheritance is that it can help you come to clarity about your purpose—the purpose we each can share as a contribution.

If you have any comments, questions, suggestions, or need some additional help, please use the form below to submit them.  Someone will get back to you within 48 hours.  Or if you prefer, at the bottom of this page leave your comment and someone will get back to you.

    We hope you pick up valuable insights, ideas, and tools during this process, which you can use for your own development as well as your work and leadership with others.

    You, Me, and We @F-L-O-W

    Mike R. Jay is a developmentalist utilizing consulting, coaching, mentoring and advising as methods to offer developmental scaffolding for aspiring leaders who are interested in being, doing, having, becoming, and contributing… to helping people have lives.

    Mike R. Jay
    Leadership University

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