The inhabitants of the Japanese Okinawa Islands, on average, routinely expect to live – and be healthy – well into their nineties. The reasons aren’t totally clear, but it’s thought to be something to do with the traditional soya protein-based diet, and the fact that the people there tend to eat very little by Western standards.
The fact that the people thrive on that diet and lifestyle is down to heredity – what their ancestors have experienced and endured through out the centuries. Their bodies have geared up, and adapted, to thrive on it. But, if you or I were to take up the same regime, we wouldn’t necessarily get the same results. This is borne out by what happens when the young in habitants leave the islands and adopt the more urban lifestyle of the city.
When they move to a more Western-based lifestyle, not only do they lose all the benefits of their heredity, but they also fare worse than their contemporaries, who have been brought up in that urban environment. Their life expectancy actually falls below the average. They have evolved to thrive in a completely different environment. Their heredity offers no benefits in the new environs of the city, yet massive ones on their native Okinawa Islands.
There’s a lesson here that stretches way beyond the health and longevity arena. We all have skills, attributes and predispositions, and if we’re not getting the results and outcomes we want, it could be because we’re applying them in the wrong environment.
A Formula One car is awe-inspiring on a track, but wouldn’t get you out of your own street in the real world. A 50cc scooter would be totally useless on a motorway, but would get you around the centre of London better than most vehicles. Average natural abilities, applied in the right environment are far better, and more effective, than outstanding abilities applied in the wrong one.
So you need to work towards finding the environment or arena that is best suited to your predispositions. No matter how clever, talented or able you are applying your innate and acquired strengths in the wrong environment renders you the proverbial fish out of water – or the Okinawan living on fast food.
If ever you’ve felt yourself under-achieving, the reason could lay here.