Genetics definitely play a factor in our personality, intelligence and ability, but it is not the determining factor as many scientists, psychologists, and entrepreneurs like to believe it is.
The problem with believing that your intelligence, happiness and talent is a result of your genetics is because this leaves you to think that you can’t do anything about it.
If, for example, you think that your academic intelligence is largely based on your genes, then you will quit at the first sign of trouble with any academic subject.
Instead of persevering and deciding to put in more effort into studying, you’ll just say, “I’m not good at this subject,” and give up.
Angela Duckworth, who is known for her study on the psychological trait known as grit, did a study on this where she found that having the ability to persevere when school got tough was an extremely important factor in Ivy League undergraduate performance.
This means that if you believe that you only have a fixed amount of intelligence, academic ability and self-control then this belief will always undermine your ability to persist and keep going when times get challenging.
This is known as “the curse of genetic fatalism.”
In the book “The Winner Effect,” neuroscientist Ian Robertson says,
“The curse of genetic fatalism undermines grit, and grit is one of the most important ingredients in life – not just in academic achievement, but in work, relationships and coping with stress and illness.”
Genetic fatalism hinders us, but in many cases of life, it is not scientifically justified as an excuse.
Anders Ericsson, a professor at Florida State University, has said that it takes 10,000 hours of practice to become an expert in something.
Yes, some people have natural inherent talent and environmental advantages that push them towards success, but without the ability to persevere and practice consistently, you will never master anything.
People such as Jordon, Musk, Mozart, Picasso and Einstein were not great because they were naturally great at birth, they were great because they persevered and practiced more than any other individual.
Many people will self-handicap themselves by thinking that their intelligence, ability and happiness are things largely outside their control, but if we believe that such things are outside of our control, then for sure we’ll never be able to control them.