Genetic Gifts

DNA Helix

Attributing success to someone’s genetics simply doesn’t tell the whole story. It takes away from the true reason they accomplished anything – hard, unrelenting work.

Kjersten was a 5’10” post player….in the Big Ten conference. She walked on and earned a starting spot in what most people would look at as an impossible situation. She did that by busting her ass every day in and out of practice, focusing on nutrition, and hitting the weight room so she could hold her own in the paint.

Similarly, I was a 5’6″ 113 lb shooting guard playing Division II college basketball. Besides being small I also wasn’t exceptionally fast, strong, or aggressive. But I loved the sport and would shoot for hours a day year round to become a great shooter. Now later in life this skinny kid is working on a bodybuilding career. Neither of these activities I was born with the genetics for.

These are just a couple examples of genetics not limiting what we are capable of accomplishing. On the other end of the spectrum, if we look at the truly elite, genetics do not tell the entire story of why they are elite either. Take two people with the same genetics. One could excel and one could never show any signs of greatness. This is because the potential of genetics cannot be unlocked without hard work and dedication.

Take Kobe Bryant – “genetically gifted” and one of best basketball players of all time – but known just as well for his work ethic, early morning practices and marathon shooting sessions. Or Jerry Rice – an NFL hall-of-famer who didn’t just show up and rely on his “gifts” to catch passes, but instead was famous for his grueling off season workouts such as 2.5 mile uphill sprints.

When you look at someone and say they are who they are because he or she is genetically gifted, you are really making an excuse for yourself . You don’t know where they started from and you don’t see what they do day to day and year after year to get to where they are now. Instead of passing it off as genetics, learn from these people and adopt the hard work ethic that will help you reach your goals as well.

Stephanie Johnson-Bakke


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