Everything has been said before, but since nobody listens we have to keep going back and beginning all over again. ~ Andre Gide
Hello and How’s It Goin’ ??? … Tushkateers !!!
Last night, I got to ‘thinking!!!’ (Imagine that!!!)
How can we live an ‘authentic life’ if we are ‘heavily’ influenced by others? How is that other people’s opinions and advice color our own experiences and opinions?
Chew on This: New findings suggest that a person’s ability to fully take-in, chew on and consider the facts that they have gleaned from their own experiences and their ability to go with those facts (vs. others’ opinions) may be based, in large part, on genetics!!!
For instance, let’s say that you are on Facebook or another ‘chatty’ port on the Internet, and your friends and Internet acquaintances have posted positive reviews about a movie that you’ve seen and not loved – at least not to the extent that your peers do.
Do you think that maybe you are wrong? The next time someone mentions that movie, do you say how much you liked it? How about a ‘diet muffin’ that people are raving about? You’ve tried it and thought it mediocre and not worth the price, but everyone else likes it so much; so you begin to doubt yourself (again) and next visit to the supermarket, you buy a box expecting to like it?
People are subject to what scientists call “The Confirmation Bias.” The disconnect between our ‘impressions’ or ‘experiences’ of something and what ‘they’ tell us to expect occurs in part because these two forms of information, the advice and the experiential, are processed in different parts of the brain.
Advice is processed by the prefrontal cortex. Experience is housed in the stiatum, a more primitive region of the brain. People tend to depend upon, or believe their prefrontal cortex more times than perhaps they should. When we ‘believe’ the prefrontal cortex time and again, it changes the way the striatum operates, and we ‘learn’ to be ‘bias’ against our actual experiences.
Researchers pinpointed one gene, in particular, COMT, which apparently plays a major role in your ability to learn from your own experiences (sometimes known as mistakes!). Their study indicated that people with different alleles (generally a group of genes) had different propensities to be biased by other peope’s advice. The two versions of the alleles are named ‘Val/Val’ and ‘Met.’
People who are more likely to toss out other people’s opinions and advice in favor of their own experience have the ‘Val/Val’ allele. Those who need to experience their experience a few times before having enough confidence to go with it have more likely to have the ‘Met’ allele.
How is this useful in the Land of Permanent Weight Removal?
What should you do with this information?
1. MET vs. VAL/VAL: Note which type of person you tend to be, and if you are a person who relies ‘heavily’ on your prefrontal cortex, if you are a person who is likely have the ‘Met’ allele, become aware that you are predisposed to ‘go with advice and opinion.’ If you are a Val/Val person, then note that you are likely to depend on your own experience and then …
2. APPRECIATE Your BRAIN: There are pluses to both sides of the allele group! Going with advice sometimes turns out to be ‘right,’ sometimes going with your experience turns out to be ‘right.’ The important part is that you become aware of your thinking and appreciate your brain, a most magnificent part of you!
4. THOUGHT AWARENESS: Watching your thoughts is an important part of permanent weight removal. Utilize this new tool to cultivate ‘thought awareness.’
5. YOUR THOUGHT: And once again (you may have heard me say this before) … Just because you had a thought, doesn’t mean it’s a good one. (Feel free to quote me on that one!!!) Ask yourself, “Whose thought was that?” “Was that a useful thought.”
6. REVIEW: Met or Val/Val allele – it is a good idea to STOP – HEAR Your Thoughts – And QUESTION them.
What do you think? Wise, interesting and useful information, yes? The very next time I question myself based on other people’s opinions and advice, I am going to stop, ponder my genetic make-up and review my thoughts!
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