Is Success Hereditary?

As we know Success doesn't happen overnight. One have to work hard to become successful. But working hard doesn't guarantee that you will be successful in life, the definition of success varies from person to person though.


All of us wants to be successful, most of us pour our blood, sweat & tears to become successful. But for some, success always seems illusive! And for some, being successful is comparatively easy.

There are various reasons for a person to become successful or to become not so successful. There are certain qualities which is essentially required to be a successful individual, these includes;

  1. Self-confidence

  2. Intelligence

  3. Courage

  4. Commitment

These qualities are considered to be acquired during our lifetime, But why are some people better than others in acquiring these qualities?

The answer is in their Genes!

Let's analyse each of the qualities;

Self-Confidence : Self-confidence has also been referred to as “self-efficacy,” and “perceived confidence or ability.” There are strong evidences to suggest that the Self-confidence is determined by genes.

For example we know that hormones can very much control our emotions and thus our mental performance. The rate of secretion of hormones & it's modulations are controlled by various genes. Genes like the Oxytocin receptor (OXTR) gene can contribute to qualities like optimism, mastery and self esteem by modulating various hormones including the Oxytocin.

As reported in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the researchers found that people who had 1 or 2 copies of the OXTR gene with an “A” (adenine) allele at a particular location tended to have more negative measurements than those with 2 copies of the “G” (guanine) allele. People with an A allele were less optimistic, had lower self-esteem and felt less personal mastery than people with 2 G alleles. In addition, the A allele was linked to higher levels of depressive symptoms. Follow-up analyses suggested that the effects of OXTR variants on depression are largely mediated by the gene’s influence on psychological resources.

Intelligence : Exactly what constitutes intelligence, and to what extent it is genetic, are some of the most controversial questions in science. But Scientist had already identified 52 genes linked to intelligence in nearly 80,000 people.

Human intelligence started out as "reactive", enabling us to find solutions to the challenges of nature. But it later became "proactive", so that we could use the resources of nature to develop preventive measures aimed at solving problems. Ultimately, what makes human intelligence different from that of other animals is our ability to shape the environment, for example through farming.

We already know that genes like the SHANK3 or ProSAP2 play a role in synapse formation and dendritic spine maturation. They are multi-domain scaffold proteins of the postsynaptic density that connect neurotransmitter receptors, ion channels, and other membrane proteins to the actin cytoskeleton and G-protein-coupled signalling pathways. These simply means that genes like SHANK3 controls our brain activity!. So it is clear that our brain functions are ultimately controlled by our genes. The genes that are the strongest linked to intelligence are ones involved in pathways that play a part in the regulation of the nervous system's development and apoptosis (a normal form of cell death that is needed in development). In a Research finding, the most significant SNP( single-nucleotide polymorphism )was found within FOXO3, a gene involved in insulin signalling that might trigger apoptosis. The strongest associated gene was CSE1L, a gene involved in apoptosis and cell proliferation. These factors & many others including various types of mutations will very much affect the analytical intelligence of an Individual.

Courage : Courage is the ability to act rightly in the face of popular opposition, shame, scandal, discouragement, or personal loss. The very word comes from the heart. Cor is the Latin word for heart & Corage is the Old French word for heart.

Traditionally, “Bravery” and “Courage” aren’t defined as a “lack of fear,” but rather as “being scared out of your mind, yet pushing past it to do something great anyway.” Fear is the basic survival instinct seen in almost every higher animals, including homo sapiens. If you don't have fear, you probably won't survive for long.

The courage to act doesn’t come from eliminating fear, it comes from experiencing fear in a new way — without a mental image of a dreaded future event or unwanted anxiety. You focus all your awareness on how the fear feels right now, in the present. When you’ve separated fear from what it seems to predict about the future, it becomes just another kind of pain you process with the “reversal of desire.” Simply, if we are able to control our anxiety, we naturally become more courageous.

Extensive genetic studies of the serotonin (5-hydroxytryptamine, 5-HT) transporter (5-HTT) gene have revealed how variation in gene expression can be correlated with anxiety phenotypes. Complete genome-wide linkage scans for panic disorder (PD) susceptibility genes have suggested a locus on chromosome arm 7p, and association studies have highlighted many candidate genes. A highly significant association between phobias, panic disorder, and a duplication at chromosomal region 15q24-26 is one of the most exciting findings. So as these studies suggest we can reach into a conclusion that anxiety is Genetic & so is the Courage!

Commitment : Commitment is a willingness to give your time and energy to something that you believe in, or a promise or firm decision to do something.

There are various hormones which can influence your willingness & commitment as a whole. These hormones includes Noradrenalin, Serotonin, Gamma-Amino Butyric acid, Oxytocin and Vasopressin. There are various genes associated with modulation of these hormones. Arginine Vasopressin receptor 1A gene acts as receptor for arginine vasopressin. This receptor belongs to the subfamily of G-protein coupled receptors which includes AVPR1B, V2R and OXT receptors. Its activity is mediated by G proteins which stimulate a phosphatidylinositol-calcium second messenger system. It contributes to commitment by regulating the respected hormones. SLC6A4 gene regulates the serotonin secretion, Serotonin along with endorphins, dopamine, and oxytocin are called happy hormones which creates a positive attitude & peacefulness within the brain. These positive attitude & peacefulness is essential for concentration. A stressful ,depressed mind will not be productive. Their are many other genes which regulates brain activity which ultimately results in commitment. Hormones in combination with physiological factors can affect an individual's neuronal environment. These combination will ultimately results in the Commitment of an individual.

Conclusion : There are many factors contributing to a person's success. Genetic factors are just one of them. But One cannot be successful just because his/her genes are encoded in a specific way. Success is not purely genetic. It is hard work, perseverance, learning, studying, sacrifice and most of all, love of what you are doing or learning to do. One can compensate a quality they lag with a quality they own, If you are less intelligent you can compensate it by hard work, If you are not so self-confident you can compensate it with commitment, if you are less courageous you can compensate it with your intelligence. So you are responsible for your own fate, not your genes. Never give up on yourself, Success awaits you.

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