“Only 5% of disease-related gene mutations are fully deterministic, while 95% can be influenced by diet, behavior and other environmental conditions. You are not simply the sum total of the genes you were born with.”
— Dr. Deepak Chopra and Dr. Rudolph Tanzi —
NO ARMS, NO LEGS, NO WORRIES!
Fellow Australian and all-round incredible human being Nick Vujicic,2 who was born with no arms and legs from an extremely rare congenital disorder known as Phocomelia, which is characterized by the absence of legs and arms. At 33, he openly shares how we struggled mentally, emotionally, and physically. He shares how he was bullied at school and attempted suicide when he was just 10 years old. Living as a victim of the genes he was born with.
However one day something changed. He came to terms with the 5–20% outside of his control and decided to accept and really play the hand he had been dealt in life. Eventually, he came to terms with his physical condition and something special happened. He decided to become vocal about living with disabilities and finding hope and meaning in life.
Today, he travels the world addressing huge crowds. He has visited more than 57 countries and given over three thousand talks, some of which have attracted audiences as large as 110,000 people. He is a bestselling author and runs a non-profit ministry. He is happily married to his wife Kanae and they have a beautiful brood of children.
He is a living example of living fully. A man who shows that genetic factors absolutely do have a say in the way we are born, but they don’t always prevent us from living our best lives.
Our genes are in fact, more than medicine.
They are the blueprint for our human potential and thus our human experience. Our genetic blueprint is nature’s masterpiece, a marvel that science is still trying to wrap its evidence-based head around. By understanding that our genes contain our human potential and that we are the authors of our human experience, allows us to first make peace with the things we can’t change (like Nick) but also realize that our genes are not our destiny. Wow! That’s a massive deal! Why? Because it means that we aren’t at the total mercy of our genetics, we have some freedom and choice. And the choice is power.
Secondly, we can get busy stimulating and nourishing our epigenetic pathways through our daily lifestyle choices to become whoever we dream ourselves to be. Genes are only responsible for 5% of who you are right now. They are not deterministic. Each gene and its interaction with other gene expressions can create billions and even trillions of variant expressions. Ultimately, who you become in the future is within your control.
DEFINING GENES AS MEDICINE
Our genes are the stretches of coding sequences within our DNA. Each gene contains instructions that determine your features or performs a molecular function such as creating insulin in the body. This process is known as gene expression. Too often this process is mistaken as an absolute, that genes “will” cause x, y, and z. However;
Genes are the hardware (5%); environment and lifestyle are the software (95%).
When you’re born, your genes determine who you are in that moment, but you get to start your life with a blank canvas. This is known as a tabula rasa, a Latin term which translates to “empty slate,”3 suggestings that we can’t draw water (experiences, knowledge) from an empty well (blank mind).
Individuals are born without built-in mental content therefore all knowledge comes from experience or perception. The meaning we make from our life experiences and our senses ultimately determine who we become and our success (or otherwise) to thrive.
Stimulus-rich environments, positive mental constructs, and environments where you can model the success of others will help you develop ways to express the best version of a dormant genetic blueprint waiting for the right stimulus, and a chance to dance and connect with the external environments of your lifestyle choices.
HUMAN GENOME PROJECT
The Human Genome Project4 began in 1990 and was a history-making research project to map and understand all of the genes of human beings—together known as our “genome.” This international scientific journey took 13 years and is a blueprint and manual for life on Earth. Upon its publishing, Francis Collins, Director of the National Human Genome Research Project stated:
“It’s a history book—a narrative of the journey of our species through time. It’s a shop manual, with an incredibly detailed blueprint for building every human cell. And it’s a transformative textbook of medicine, with insights that will give health care providers immense new powers to treat, prevent and cure disease.”5
Genetically, the key message from The Human Genome Project is that as humans we are more the same than we are different.
Our closet living animal cousin—the chimpanzee—shares 98% of our human genes. Vastly different-looking mammals still share 92% and even plants share up to 18% the same genes as humans!6 So when you look at another living organism, animal or plant, realize that it too shares pieces of what makes you, you.
Individual human beings, however, share 99.5% the same genetic blueprint.7 This mind-blowing statistic means that all the “differences” we see in other human beings separating “us” from “them,” are simply mental constructs conditioned to focus on the 0.5% that makes us different. When we are born, our uniqueness, whether skin or hair color, height and any other perceived differences are all due to that small 0.5%.
What if we condition the mind to create a mental construct to focus on the 99.5% that makes us all human—true global citizens?
Let’s celebrate our individuality and focus on what makes us collectively human. Really understanding this, would allow all the mental constructs of separation to dissolve overnight, or even in this moment. Look and smile at the person next you see. Focus on the 99.5% that makes us human; surrender and let go of the focus on the 0.5%.
CALL TO ACTION
We are more the same than we are different, Let's start there and build a future together on this belief and truth. I want to see you, your family, and your community win in life. Comment below, if you feel the same about myself, my family, and my community.
Our health is our choice. Our hearts and our future, are also a choice. Let's make better choices together.
This is directly referenced from the amazon best-selling SelfCare Book "Lifestyle Medicine For the People" by Rory Callaghan. If you would like to read more content like this. Grab the free online chapters of the book or a hard copy.
We have done our best to reference everyone’s expert opinions, peer-reviewed science, and original thoughts, all references available here and referenced in the text.
We also understand that most thoughts are not our own and there is a collective unconsciousness, unconsciousness, and universal mind stream of energy that is always at work. How are references are sorted and filtered is here.