Soul Sessions by CreativeMind

Do Bad Genes Limit Your Life?

April 05, 2022 Debra Berndt Maldonado and Robert Maldonado PhD Life Coach Training and Personal Transformation Experts Season 5 Episode 105
Soul Sessions by CreativeMind
Do Bad Genes Limit Your Life?
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

In this episode, we explore the biological/genetic impact on your personality, IQ, mental health, physical disease, and attractiveness. We also introduce the concept of epigenetics and generational influences from your family tree as we look at your life in a more archetypal way.

  • How do genetics impact your life?
  • Can you change your DNA to change your life?
  • What can you learn about your ancestral experience that impacts your life today.

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Watch the next Soul Session in this series on our YouTube Channel.
Discover our Jungian Life Coach Training Program.

Are your genes to blame for your problems?


Debra Maldonado, Robert Maldonado

Debra Maldonado  00:07

Hello, welcome back to another episode of Soul Sessions with CreativeMind. We have a wonderful new series. What is the series?

Robert Maldonado  00:20

It's a bit tongue in cheek, but it's interesting. It's “Did your parents really screw you up?” We know in the culture, there's a prevalent idea that our parents messed us up somehow. Therefore, we need therapy, there's something wrong with us because of the way we were raised. It's so prevalent that a lot of people never questioned it. It's just assumed, I guess from Freud. This idea pervades the culture. Our parents screwed us up. We know a lot of us have experienced our parents divorcing, different parenting styles that go back to the 70s, 80s, 90s. We wanted to do a series looking at the evidence for and against. Is there good evidence that our parents screwed us up?

Debra Maldonado  01:30

Can we blame them or do we have to take responsibility? We're going to talk about biology, DNA, genetics, about nurture-nature argument, about parenting styles. Also, we're going to talk about the spiritual dynamics of a family, which is archetypal, which is going to be the last episode of the series. But today, we're going to talk about DNA. The topic is, can you blame your genes for your problems? Can you change your DNA? Are you stuck with what you have and how much impact DNA has on your life and decisions? We know it has to do with our physical appearance, blue eyes, brown eyes, maybe intelligence, but we're going to dig into that today. Let's start with what is DNA inheritance? When you say inheritance, where are we getting? Let's go back to the beginning of time.

Robert Maldonado  02:31

We're all related in that sense. All life on the planet is related. We're all relatives, including starfish in the ocean, humans, and everything that is alive is related, because it all goes back to these one-celled organisms that originate on the planet. But what we're talking about is the inheritance from our parents, the genes that are passed down to us. 23 pairs, half of them come from your mother, half from your father. The Y comes from your dad, the X comes from your mom. That determines your sex as well.

Debra Maldonado  03:23

So we do have to blame our parents if we don't like the sex we were born into. Not really, they don't have control over that.

Robert Maldonado  03:33

That's one of the factors. For example, if you're not happy with your height, I always wanted to be at least six feet tall. But I’m 5’10”, which is the average, it falls right on the middle.

Debra Maldonado  03:52

I always wanted to be shorter. I’m the shortest person in my family, 5’8”. My brother is 6’4”, my father was 6’2”, very tall. My mom was even 5’8” at one point. Now she's the shortest person because she's getting older. I always wanted to be more petite and tinier.

Robert Maldonado  04:15

Can you do anything about that? That's one of the questions we have been discussing. Can you blame your mom for choosing your dad who was tall?

Debra Maldonado  04:27

One of the most surprising concepts you taught me is that when we think of DNA, a lot of people think it's our physical biology, what eye color, hair color, body size, body shape, certain tendencies, health, intelligence. I didn't realize personality was coded in the DNA. Maybe a lot of people knew that already but I found that very surprising. Personality is something we create, I decide to be a certain way.

Robert Maldonado  05:08

We can think of it this way. Almost everything has a genetic component. What that means is, your personality is not determined 100% by your DNA. But there's an important element that plays into your personality development that comes from your genes.

Debra Maldonado  05:32

Another thing you mentioned, which I thought was really interesting, is your spiritual interest or spiritual curiosity is genetic in part. We're raised in a religion, we're taught how to experience God, but that alone is not the only element because there's people that have been brought up with no religion, but are very mystical. They don't know why but out of all their siblings, for some reason they're the one picking up the tarot cards or reading books on spirituality, or going to the Buddhist center, or taking yoga, where everyone else in the family is just agnostic or atheist. It’s like “Where did she come from?” One of my cousins, when he was really little, all the people in the family weren't very religious, we're all Catholic, but they didn't even go to church. And their son was reading Jesus books. They were like “We don’t know where he got this from because we don't talk about it.” That would be a genetic impact?

Robert Maldonado  06:37

I think of it as a seed. There's a seed of spirituality in the genes, in your genetic inheritance. If the environment which we'll be talking about as well, creates the conditions for the growth of that seed, you have that expression.

Debra Maldonado  06:59

Let's talk about just the inheritance. What do we know about inheritance?

Robert Maldonado  07:05

When you study what’s called behavioral genetics now, which is looking at genes and how they influence mental health, all kinds of human behavior. When you study that, you start to think everything can be explained through the genes because they're so powerful. But we know the environment plays an important role, you can't really understand genes unless you understand the environment as well, the interaction with the environment. It's part of the story, a very important part. Especially now, because recently we discovered that epigenetics is also playing a big part in the way we act.

Debra Maldonado  07:59

Let's talk about what is epigenetics for people who have never heard the term.

Robert Maldonado  08:02

Everyone knows about the chromosomes and the genes you get from your parents. Now what the genes are doing, what that genetic code is doing, is building your body, like a manual, blueprints.

Debra Maldonado  08:20

Every cell has, it has all the information for every part of the body, then it becomes specialized and creates, I'm going to be a liver.

Robert Maldonado  08:33

It's encoded in there. That's why people can clone animals and human beings, the code contains all the information, the color of your eyes, the texture of your hair, your height, your intelligence, your personality, your propensity for diseases, all encoded in the genes given to you by your parents. What epigenetics does, as I go through my life and I experience great things, education, jobs, opportunities, but also traumas, as I go through heartbreaks and maybe I experienced a war, the epigenetic code — “epi” simply means above — it codes on top of your genetics, the epigenetic code, those experiences.

Debra Maldonado  09:47

People who were in like camps of Holocaust, people who really struggled. A lot of us have parents or grandparents that went through the Great Depression. It was really a dark time, there was a lot of Wall Street fallouts and job losses. These types of events will shape that person. Might not be you that experienced that event, but your family experienced it or someone down the line, and created, activated something to cope with it, it activates something, the genetic code.

Robert Maldonado  10:28

That something is the gene, it turns genes on and off.

Debra Maldonado  10:35

What do the genes do? What would be the purpose?

Robert Maldonado  10:38

Most of our genes are actually dormant there. They used to think they're not doing anything. But recently, they found that these genes are actually capable of waking up at certain points, so that the epigenetic code operates at that level. It wakes up certain genes, it turns them on, so they're able to help you or hurt you, depending on which ones get turned on and off.

Debra Maldonado  11:14

Or shutting off for some time.

Robert Maldonado  11:19

Depending on your environmental experiences, for example, if your great grandparents went through a civil war, it gets encoded in the epigenetic code, meaning you're going to inherit that epigenetic code as well. When you experience some violence in your society or your personal experience, it might turn on genes that helped your grandparents survive those experience.

Debra Maldonado  11:57

It's like a playbook, just in case this happens. Because you're related, it might be more possible for you to experience a similar situation, how does nature work?

Robert Maldonado  12:11

It makes sense. Their experiences help you now cope with similar situations. It's passed down. People didn't know about this until recently, they knew about the genetic code which builds the body and the brain, but they didn't know about this understanding of the epigenetics, which gives you a heads up about the environment and how to cope with it. On the other hand, if your parents or great grandparents went through a famine and experienced severe hunger and lack, that might be coded in the epigenetic code as well. You inherit a propensity to hoard food or something like that, you won't be able to find something in your personal experience. But it's coming from this epigenetic code.

Debra Maldonado  13:12

I have a couple of questions. Number one is we inherit epigenetic codes, they don't necessarily have to turn on, but we have the potential for it to be on. Can we create new epigenetic turns on and off codes during our lifetime? Does it affect us or it only affects our offspring or future generations? In childhood, there's no history of any ancestor who experienced famine, but in your childhood, there was a war or something, you were starving as a kid, it would activate or turn off epigenetics. But would that affect that person in that lifetime? Or would it affect her or his children and grandchildren? I guess my question is, how fast can you turn it around? Can you use them to alter your experience? Do we know?

Robert Maldonado  14:16

You can't consciously do it. You can't say “I'm going to code some epigenetic experience for future generations”, but your mind body will do its work.

Debra Maldonado  14:30

Will you feel an effect of that, if you had an epigenetic code turn on or off. You would experience that even though you might not know what that is, but you would experience difference. Would it show up epigenetically? Can you read that through a DNA test?

Robert Maldonado  14:53

Yes, they see these proteins that are markers on the genes, they turn these genes on and off.

Debra Maldonado  15:05

So we can experience them directly in our lifetime.

Robert Maldonado  15:09

Absolutely. Then our own personal experience may get coded in the epigenetic code and passed on to our children and grandchildren.

Debra Maldonado  15:19

When we talk about our childhood experience, is it more prevalent to have the epigenetics turned on and off during childhood or throughout your life? Is there a certain time? We know in psychology, it's under eight or nine that most of our conditioning was created and baked in. What about epigenetics? Does that match psychology?

Robert Maldonado  15:45

I don't know. A lot of it is fairly new, all the smaller subtle details haven't been worked out yet. But it's been verified — we never say proven in real science — it supports the theory of this epigenetic code playing an important role in human evolution.

Debra Maldonado  16:11

When we talk about twin studies, is this how they determine epigenetics?

Robert Maldonado  16:23

Let's talk about genetics in general, because the epigenetics is an important piece. Let's look at intelligence, as an example, because we know all these other factors play in: personality, sociability. For intelligence, we look at two things, first of all, the distribution. There's an incredible idea in statistics, it's called the normal distribution. If you take any human characteristic, let's say, height, it will fall in this bell curve. It's like a little hill, there's a peak, where the bell hangs on to the top, and then it flares out at the bottom with the two ends. What that means is that most people fall in the middle. That's why it bulges in the center that's like a hill. About over 60% of the people fall within that middle range, meaning the average, but then you have people that are very tall, so there's a little tail towards the end on the right hand side, and people that are very short, which is the small tail in the beginning, or the the left hand side. Intelligence is very similar. If you test enough people, you will get that bell curve, where most people will be in the middle average intelligence, with some people genius level, and other people mentally retarded on the other extreme. That trait is inherited, meaning you're going to inherit about half and half from your parents, your intelligence is an average of your parents’ intelligence. Where your particular score falls is called the variable. It varies. If you test all your siblings, not everyone will have the same score though. There'll be variability. That variance is what we're interested in. Because it tells us, if you guys have the same parents, you share your parents’ genes essentially 50/50 from your mother and father. The variance has to do with the environment. Something you learn. Birth order is also the environment. Because it plays into how you were treated, what kind of attention you got.

Debra Maldonado  19:41

My father was 18 years younger than his sister. I can imagine they both had very different childhoods, the parents being older versus younger. My sister's the youngest, she got away with a lot more than we did. I think we always hear that in a family, there's a different level of freedom or tolerance.

Robert Maldonado  20:05

The environment now is an important factor in your level of intelligence, and this goes for personality, for spirituality, all these other traits. You inherit this propensity for a certain level of intelligence, but then the environment plays the role of bringing it forth, expressing it and either nourishing and cultivating it, or suppressing it. That determines where your IQ score is in that variance. The question is, what is environment and what is genetic? What is inherited and what is the environmental role? That's the nature-nurture debate that's been going on in psychology for a long time. One of the ways we study that is twin studies. If you have identical twins, and they're separated at birth and raised in different environments, then you test them as adults to see what is the variance or the difference between their IQs. Then you can tease out what impact the environment had. Because genetically, they're identical. But their environments were different. You get a sense of what the environment is doing.

Debra Maldonado  21:44

There's a lot of studies where twins were separated through marriage splitting, “You take one child, I'll take the other.” There was one, there were two brothers, they didn't know there was a twin, they were both adopted out. Which is common actually. At a certain time, there was not a lot of money, so people who had twins, that would have been a big burden on a family. They would give the babies up and split the twins instead of keeping them together. Then they’d look at them later on when they reconnected. There was one famous story where the men chose their wives who had the same name. Without even meeting, without even talking, they chose the same type of career, they liked the same things. Also they got married twice, and the second wives had the same name, both of them. It's amazing how much just genetics alone can drive our decisions, which is mind blowing.

Robert Maldonado  22:50

Yes, genetics are very powerful. But the environment is powerful as well. When we put it all together and look at it, okay, so we inherit these genes from our parents, which tell us how we're going to look, how tall we're going to be, how intelligent we're going to be, our personality in a sense. Then we consider the environment. What role is the environment having, the school I go to, the teachers I get, the type of education, the type of neighborhood that I live in.

Debra Maldonado  23:32

What do the kids do? Are they interested in reading or are they interested in doing drugs?

Robert Maldonado  23:41

Culture, language, television, what's going on in the culture, in the family. All those things play a big role in shaping our intelligence, our behavior, our health, partners we choose, all these different things. When we boil it down to what percentage of our behavior is dictated by genes and what percentage is dictated by environment, it falls to about 40% of the variance is genetic, and 40% is environmental.

Debra Maldonado  24:29

So the 20% is chance?

Robert Maldonado  24:33

The 20% that's leftover is complete chance.

Debra Maldonado  24:38

We have a 20% chance to break our patterns from our family. That's a big percentage. It's not 1%.

Robert Maldonado  24:51

It is part of the universe because the uncertainty principle is baked into everything. It's the creative mind, it's the creative element. Genes, for example, go through mutations randomly, they go through these random mutations. There's always that element of chance playing to our inheritance and the environment as well. But that 20% of chance variants saves our ass because that means we're not stuck. Whatever we inherited from our parents genetically and whatever our environment was, we're not stuck to that. We can choose within that 20% what are we going to make out of these experiences.

Debra Maldonado  25:51

I've seen people float around this idea of looking at your DNA, we have ancestry24me, you can learn a lot about yourself. We did it, I'm 30% Irish, I was shocked, I didn't know I have that much Irish in me. But it's really interesting, there's this heaviness to that, there's a science behind it, it's solid. But I love this idea of beyond even our experience in life — a lot of us who do personal development always talk about our early life experiences, or traumas, or events that happen in our life that shaped us. But can genetics dictate how open a person is to change? Someone who has more a warrior-like, a disruptive gene, taking risk versus someone who tends to play it safe. Would it be genetic but also environment?

Robert Maldonado  26:57

Yes, because that's part of personality. One of the big five measures of the personality is openness. If you're open, it means you're more creative, more social.

Debra Maldonado  27:12

The big five is really a combination of genes and environment, your personality.

Robert Maldonado  27:19

It would fall in this pattern that 40% of your personality comes from your genes and about 40% comes from your environment, your experiences, your education. But then that 20% chance is what creates that diversity of personalities. You see people that go through very similar experiences and come out completely different. Because that 20% wiggle room allows us to make decisions for ourselves.

Debra Maldonado  27:58

Some people could have a genetic disposition or the environment, they grew up in a very positive household, their genes are about willingness to be open, but they could still have a 20% chance of being scared, not act upon that. Or the opposite, where they're genetically predisposed to be more conservative, more closed down, maybe shut out. But that 20% is like “I'm breaking free.” My question to you now is, how can we unlock that 20%? How can we use that 20% to break free? We can't get rid of our genetics, we're not going to magically change the color of our eyes or the early life experience, but we could change our attitude toward it, we can change how we relate to now. How do we do that?

Robert Maldonado  28:58

If you think how our minds work, as human beings we’re able to think forward, run the movie forward. We think what would the consequences of this behavior be. We imagine different scenarios, we think “I don't want to do that because it's too risky” or “I'm going to take this chance because I think it's going to work out.” It's all done mentally. We can think in terms of creating our own conditions, the environment is 40% of potential in us.

Debra Maldonado  29:40

So we're really dealing with 60% really stuck with a genetics.

Robert Maldonado  29:46

Because of epigenetics but also neuroplasticity. We're able to mold and reshape our physical brain, as well as our body. People that go to the gym and transform themselves completely, lose weight or become marathon runners. They do it through their mind. We always hear of people that beat the odds. It's because of that 20%. It was the beginning. There's a chance to change the patterns. Now there's more than 20% because the environment they're creating now, going to the gym instead of McDonald’s.

Debra Maldonado  30:46

If you think about hanging out with people that go to the bar and eat fried foods, they don't exercise, and that's part of your lifestyle, you're more likely to stay in that unhealthy lifestyle. But then you start hanging out with people at the yoga center and the gym, you have friends who talk about health, you are around that, it's a different scenario, you have a different experience.

Robert Maldonado  31:10

You're creating the conditions for your own growth, you're creating your own environment.

Debra Maldonado  31:16

The concept of money I had over the past 12-15 years has completely changed. That is being in an environment of people that are entrepreneurial, thinking about money differently than someone who punches a timecard. There's something there about epigenetics turning on and off, that 20% chance that you aren't locked into the fate of your past or even your culture, your family. If you grew up in a poor family, you're meant to be poor or working class forever. If you grew up in a rich family, you could lose everything, blow the money. The idea that you can create and change something so intangible, how do you move your mind to that? I thought how different I think about what I spend my money on, what we think is valuable, what we don't think is valuable, where this money comes from, and what's possible. Think about the body and health. My dad was diagnosed with leukemia, he went through chemo, the first time it didn't work, the second time he said “I only have a 20% chance”, which is interesting, 20%. I said “They didn't tell you zero.” He said “That's a good point.” I said “You're going to be one of those 20%, just hold your mind.” He was in an environment of someone who can hold that vision for him. I promise you, his mind was impacted, instead of having everyone tell him “It's terrible”, to have someone say “It's possible.” My mom was there, we were all rooting for him. That also creates health in recovery. We think about our physical bodies, money, relationships, what's possible for us? What kind of relationships can we have?

Robert Maldonado  33:17

If you think about early experiences, the way they play out is that our mind and brain work with the principle of expectation. If you have an enriched environment early on, there's a lot of books, a lot of puzzles, a lot of activities that teach you that you're learning new, novel things continuously, your brain says “The rest of my life, I have to prepare for this continual growth.” It anticipates to grow already. You're approaching life already from being a child, with this growth mindset, this mentality of growth, the possibility of moving forward and fascination, creativity, curiosity, imagination, the ability to learn.

Debra Maldonado  34:23

Some people take things at face value, they're very pragmatic, they've learned maybe through their family “Show me before I believe it”. There's other people that have natural, creative tendency in their minds to imagine and have fantasies. I think it comes from part genetics, but also that 20% chance.

Robert Maldonado  34:51

It's more than 20% because once you take that opportunity and change your mindset, instead of saying “My life is pretty rough, my teachers told me I would never learn, they told me I have ADHD or learning disability”, if you believe that, if you say “What's the use of trying if my genes and my environment have set me up for failure, I never try”, then that becomes your stuckness, that's as far as you go. But if because of that 20% openness you say “I choose not to believe a prediction that doesn't empower me, doesn't give me any opportunity for growth, for advancement. I'm going to make my own opportunities.”

Debra Maldonado  35:53

You believe in your dream versus what the current circumstances are showing you.

Robert Maldonado  35:59

That principle operates in psychology, coaching, philosophy. Whatever you expect, comes about.

Debra Maldonado  36:11

If your mind resonates with people, you end up resonating with your belief system. If you believe in lack, you'll tend to feel more comfortable around that. But if you surround yourself with people who have abundant thinking and possibilities, that will shift. Would you say that the best way, if you wanted to unlock your potential, is to change your environment? Would that be one of the first steps?

Robert Maldonado  36:41

I would say, change your mind.

Debra Maldonado  36:42

Your environment as well, at the same time. If you are working towards a vision, you're holding your mind in that possibility, wouldn't it be helpful to have a nurturing environment, be around people who are thinking like you, who can help you, lift you up in a community that thinks in possibility?

Robert Maldonado  37:07

It helps because it reinforces those thoughts in possibility. Whereas if you have a vision but you're surrounded by people that always boo it and don't encourage you or don't support you, the likelihood of you succeeding is very low. Because the environment is not supporting your vision.

Debra Maldonado  37:35

You can work a lot on your mind. But if everyone around you tells you “What are you doing, why are you doing your own business, go back, get a job, be like a real person, don't go for your dreams”, a chance for you to make it is one in a million. If you're around that noise after a while, you can fight it for so long. The body and the mind work much better in an environment that says “It's possible.” We see this a lot with people, they'll go to an event we had when we used to do live events or do our training, then they'll go back into the world. They check out of the community. Then they come back, they see the power of being in the conversation of that possibility versus being with the ordinary people that don't have big dreams, the dream stealers, as I call them. We're conditioned to be mediocre, we're conditioned for survival, we're not conditioned to do the impossible. That's why so few people live that full meaningful life, because we're so impacted by that environment. But we have, first of all, to make a decision to change our life, have that vision in our mind of what we want to create. Then we work with our mind but also find someone. It's like a fertile ground for a beautiful flower you want to plant. You don't want to plant it in a dry bed, you want to plant it where there's water, rain, nutrients, so it can grow. That's very important. Wouldn't you say if you're in an environment that's negative, it's also reflecting your mind? You have to come to terms with that part of environment that's pulling you down.

Robert Maldonado  39:26

You get into the chicken and egg situation with the genes and the environment because they don't exist separately. You see genes being expressed in an environment, the environment prompts certain genes to wake up and be activated. It's never isolated. You can't think of the environment and the genes separately. It's an interaction between our genes and the environment.

Debra Maldonado  40:03

But since you can't really go in, open up yourself and change your DNA, a first step for people is “Am I in an environment that is helping me cultivate my dreams?”

Robert Maldonado  40:22

That's part of it. I’d say the mind because thoughts don't cost anything. If I'm in lack, in poverty, in a poor neighborhood, it doesn't cost me anything to imagine, to have a vision, I can do it spontaneously. Already, I'm starting to shift my own perception by shifting my mind. That's the beginning of it.

Debra Maldonado  40:56

You'll be drawn to a different environment, you'll feel like you need new friends. Environment also is what you watch on television, what kind of movies you watch, what books you read, what food you eat, all that is environment that you can change. Eating healthy food, even if you’re not doing it to lose weight, is like honoring the vessel of your soul, keep it alive as long as you can, healthy and fit.

Robert Maldonado  41:28

It's not easy for some people because their genes might be on the lower end scale as far as intelligence, they have an impoverished environment, their trajectory towards success is going to be a lot more difficult than somebody who's on the other side — they got good genes and their environment is supportive. Their track is a lot easier. But it's always possible because of that 20% chance. Those are opportunities. There's things that are going to happen to us that fall outside of those parameters. It's up to us to take advantage of them, to say what's possible for me, what I can do with these opportunities. That's how people work their way out of poverty, out of lack of limitation. IQ can increase, people can actually increase their intelligence by taking action.

Debra Maldonado  42:41

The desire to change is the first, then using your mind to figure out how to work with your mind, how to understand yourself, especially unconscious, as Jung talks about facing your shadow. Knowing you're not the personality or genetic, biological component, there's another self that's true and unlimited. Seeing yourself beyond that container that we're experiencing the world.

Robert Maldonado  43:08

Looking at all the evidence here, as far as genes and environment, can we blame our parents?

Debra Maldonado  43:16

No, it isn't our parents’ DNA. It's DNA from generation after generation. They didn't consciously say “I'm gonna make her eyes blue, or make him smarter, or make her have some learning disability.” You worked a lot with learning disabilities as a child psychologist, the parents will often blame themselves.

Robert Maldonado  43:50

Not only the parents blaming themselves, there was actually a theory called “The Refrigerator Mother” which blamed the mother for autism. This was up until the 80s, in the mid 80s it was still going on. People thought the child is autistic because the mother is cold. That's where the term came from. Of course, we found out later that's not true, that’s not what is happening. There are strong genetic components to autism and environmental factors as well.

Debra Maldonado  44:34

A lot of the treatment, even just autism, people think it's genetic and a life sentence. But there are a lot of behavioral processes that help the child really change and adapt, speak and find a way to function at a higher levels. They don't just give up on them.

Robert Maldonado  44:58

We know social environment is very powerful. Again, if you think about the numbers, it's equal to the genes. The environment is important as well as the genes. If there's a genetic component, you can offset it with enriched environments, environments that support the growth and development of your mind and brain.

Debra Maldonado  45:25

We cannot change our eye color, or hair color. But we can change the body in ways to be healthier. Everyone's different with their genetic foods based on their ancestry. A lot of times certain ancestry backgrounds have a tendency for certain types of food. For me, Irish, I like wine, beer, and potatoes. That's not part of your culture. We can digest and process different foods differently.

Robert Maldonado  46:05

Some people have asked us if you can change your genetic code. There are programs out there that talk about changing your genetic code, rewiring your brain. Yes and no. Technically, they're not wrong. You can change the wiring in your brain, the physical structure of your brain can actually change through meditation, through exercise, through learning, puzzle solving. All learning is essentially a changing of the brain.

Debra Maldonado  46:41

Your brain has changed from this episode, just listening to new information, your brain is changed. It's constantly rewiring.

Robert Maldonado  46:49

With the genes, it's a little bit more iffy. But if you experience something profound, like walking through fire, or going on a beautiful adventurous trip, it might activate certain epigenetic codes or suppress others, like anxiety. But the science is not really there to be able to control it. If people are saying, we're going to rewire your brain to be more confident or make more money, I think that's a little in the realm of sales, definitely not scientific, because the science is not really there for that kind of control.

Debra Maldonado  47:49

It's happens that we do have this adjustment. But we can't control what turns on. You were saying one time, there's the same genetic code for the lips or the eyes. They were trying to make an adjustment to the DNA, doing tests. I don't remember. It was a psychological experience to change or precondition, and that gene also affects the lips, our opening into our mouth and our eyes. One gene can work on a lot of different parts psychologically and physically. If you're playing around with genes, “I'm gonna turn this on and turn this off”, you're messing with nature.

Robert Maldonado  48:48

It's very interactive. There's not one gene for a certain thing. It's usually one or two hundred or so genes that play into that particular behavior. You can't really say “We're gonna change that gene, and you're gonna miraculously be changed.”

Debra Maldonado  49:06

What we want to say is you have to work with your mind. There is a possibility you're not locked into the past environment, past biology, there's a 20% chance, but also you working with your mind, and even chance encounters, chance events, even a tragedy sometimes brings out something in someone. I didn't have a purpose, then I got in a car accident, lost my legs, now I feel the zest for life. Maybe not that severe but a lot of times you lose someone and have this profound shift in your life. That would be something that isn’t genetic and from early life, but some event happens and profoundly changes you.

Robert Maldonado  49:53

The message is this. Never give up because there's always an opportunity. If you're alive, you still have a chance to do something, to think, to move somehow, there's an opportunity to change. That's the nature of life. It's always changing, adapting. Our task is simply to cooperate with it, cooperate with that change, play into it, instead of buying into whatever diagnosis or limitation we observe, or others telling us “You can't do that.”

Debra Maldonado  50:40

Like my father. He said “They said only 20%.” Everyone around him was sad and sorry. I was like “No, that's 20%, look at that as a positive.” Shifting your attitude toward what happens versus whatever happens, just reacting to it from that default place, is to stretch your mind and say “Where's the opportunity here?” No matter what happens to you, there's always an opportunity. This is really interesting. Next week, we're going to talk about environment, nurture-nature, family culture and how that really makes an impact on our personality. It's gonna be an interesting conversation to see where you can blame your parents. Now we know we can't blame our parents in this episode. Let's try again, we're gonna look at nature nurture. Can your early life environment shape your life as an adult? Can we blame our parents? Find out next week, the case for and against. Take care and don't forget to subscribe to us if you're watching us on YouTube. If you're listening to our podcast, subscribe to Apple, iTunes, Spotify, all the podcasts services out there, make sure you don't miss an episode, we drop them every week and have delicious topics like this one. We'll continue this series next week. Have a wonderful day, evening, whatever time of day it is. 

Robert Maldonado  52:17

Thanks for watching. 

Debra Maldonado  52:18 

Have a wonderful life. 

Robert Maldonado  52:19 

See you soon.