Have you been around people who radiate an amazing joie de vivre? They walk into a room and immediately change the atmosphere … they own it! Their infectious spirit spills out into their words and deeds. They infuse the environment with positive energy, speaking life into every situation.
Then again, have you been around folks who are downright moody? A cloud of heaviness hovers over them as they walk, poisoning every conversation. They suck the energy out of every situation, leaving you feeling drained and defeated.
And what about those super inspiring individuals: Martin Luther King, Nelson Mandela, Steve Jobs, Wangari Maathai, Mother Teresa, Gandhi—history makers who have paid a heavy price to advance humanity. Their life stories simply inspire greatness … excellence … a zeal to do better, to be greater.
What do all these people have in common? The free will to choose how they respond to their environment.
Are we products of our environment?
The environment we find ourselves in has a tremendous impact on our physical, mental, and spiritual health.
The science of epigenetics has taught us that what we eat, how we live and love, can alter how our genes behave. Our response to different environmental cues, such as stress, diet, toxins, and media can turn our genes “on” and “off” like a light switch.¹ This means that we have the power to change our genetics through the food we eat, the air we breathe, and even by the way we think.
Exposing our genes to positive environments (eg, a balanced diet, exercise, love, positive thoughts) can switch on “healthy genes” while turning off “disease-promoting genes.” Studies have shown that unhealthy diets can induce changes in the function of our DNA and the DNA of our children.¹ Ancestral exposure to environmental toxins can also affect how subsequent generations respond to stress.²
Iron sharpens iron
Our environment also shapes our character and personal growth and development. After all, “bad company corrupts good character” (1 Corinthians 15:33).
To achieve greatness, we must create or associate with environments that are life-affirming and that challenge us to grow. It’s important to connect with individuals who have excelled in our area of interest, which explains why mentorship is so vital for training and raising up future leaders. Storytelling through blogs, art, music, drama, books, movies, and philanthropy is awesome for sharing wisdom and helping others succeed where we have struggled.
To paraphrase Bishop T.D. Jakes, “We need to be around people that make deposits into our lives, not just withdrawals.”
When you walk into a room, are you depositing life or draining life?
- ‘Epigenetics’ Means What We Eat, How We Live And Love, Alters How Our Genes Behave
- Today’s Environment Influences Behavior Generations Later: Chemical Exposure Raises Descendants’ Sensitivity to Stress
- The Six Enemies of Greatness (and Happiness)
Copyright © 2012 Uwana.