Beginning this post providing evidence from several studies carried out in this field. According to them a slight variation in a particular gene is associated with bigger purpose and sometimes altruistic behavior.
Greater Good Magazine article from Berkeley University, which you can also read fully here analyzed this.
In the study, published in the journal Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience, German researchers took a saliva sample from 101 men and women, using the sample to extract DNA from the participants’ cells.
The researchers were focusing on the three variations of a gene called the COMT gene, which influences how certain neurotransmitters are activated in the brain. Previous research has linked those particular neurotransmitters, including dopamine, to positive emotions and social behaviors like bonding.
After providing the saliva sample, the participants had to try to memorize a set of numbers and repeat them as accurately as possible; they received five euros for completing this memory test.
After the test, they could try to increase their reward by gambling with it.
Finally, the participants were shown images that were taken from an ad for a charity: a picture of a little girl, named Lina, from Peru, and a bracelet she had knitted.
The experimenters left the room and told the participants they could anonymously donate to the charity some or all of the money they’d earned, though the experimenters were actually able to keep track of how much money each person gave.
Once the study ended, all money the participants chose to donate was in fact given to the charity.
The researchers discovered that people with either of two of the variations of the COMT gene (called the Val/Val and Val/Met variations) donated twice as much money to the charity as people with the other variation (called Met/Met), regardless of their gender. In fact, more than 20 percent of the people with the altruistic variations donated all of their money.
Sebastian Markett, a study co-author also at the University of Bonn, says “There must be more genes which influence altruistic behavior whose association has not been discovered yet,” he says. “Our future objective will be to identify all of those genes and how they interact with each other to eventually put a pretty complicated puzzle together, with the goal to understand who we are and why we are how we are.”
What studies will not be able to prove
We all know how difficult is to do anything which is out of our comfort zone, but we do all know as well how good we feel once we are able to go beyond.
We all know instant gratification is giving us just small shots of short-term happiness (endorphins), but making us long-term unhappy and unfulfilled.
We also know how scary is to go against our belief systems and educational background, to be able to in-take different ways of doing things, thinking and even acting differently.
And yes, we all know how it does feel when we have been able to win any small battle to our belief system, or comfort zone, sacrificing short-term comfort for some time or even forever.
None of the most successful people in the planet had the genetics, but they had clear for building something bigger than themselves, they needed to change, to adapt, to be flexible and to take risks they were fearing to take, but in the end, they did. Not only once, but 10.000 times.
They broke their egos and put them in a second place during all those failures as they knew learning is not over, ever.
They did take a very brave second to repeatedly fail to be able to win finally with hard sacrifices and fear every day.
But they knew also their decisions were not for themselves, but for something bigger than themselves.
A true second will not come in your genes, but from your attitude and inner-self-discovery, awareness, acceptance, and determination to be the one you want to be, not the product of anyone else, anything else.
Life is too short to worry about what the others will think about you, when the reality is what it does really matter is what you do with yourself, not only for yourself but for the entire Earth.
Once again, are you willing to take the risk? If you so and you’d like to go deeper into these ideas influencing your present, I invite you to get the trilogy “A life in a second”.
Ignacio Gallo Campos
Recommended song of the week Daft Punk - Beyond (Nicolas Jaar & Dave Harrington Remix)
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