Average Genetics: You Don’t Know How Lucky You Are


Average Genetics: You Don’t Know How Lucky You Are

March 28, 2012

I wasn’t born with the world’s greatest genetics. If I sit around for long enough, I get soft. If I indulge too many days in a row, it shows in my waistline. I gain a disproportionate amount of fat in my face. I have to work – I mean work – to build my booty. My dietary adherence has to be spot on to see any kind of progress. I always, always have to pay attention to what I put into my mouth.

And I consider myself damn lucky for it.

Sure, sometimes it sucks to be so meticulous with your diet and abstain from wolfing down a dozen donuts because you know you’ll be paying for it tomorrow. And yes, you have to think thrice before you decide to skimp on a training session. Your body is unforgiving in that way. You’re nothing special; you’re not extraordinary. You’re just an average joe working your tail off to look good and stay healthy. But where would you be if your genetics weren’t average? The people who can eat whatever they want and stay rail thin – the ones who can lift once in a blue moon and bulk up overnight – those who do nothing to sculpt their glorious glutes – there’s no need to envy them. Yeah, they may have it easier, but when did anything good come from having things easy? How can you grasp the value of success if it’s been plopped into your lap?

I’ve compensated for my average genetics by developing a work ethic that is unrivaled. I’ve set high standards for myself and haven’t accepted anything less than my best. Once I started caring about my fitness all those years ago, my life took a complete 180-degree turn. The discipline that I directed toward my health and aesthetic endeavors inevitably leaked out into other areas of my life. I stopped sleeping in and wasting my hours in front of the TV. I actually put effort into my school assignments and my grades gradually improved. As I began to witness the rewards of hard work, I knew that it was worth it.

At some point, I became good at what I did. And then I became great. And finally – finally, I became one of the best. A fire was lit under my ass with the realization that mediocre efforts would produce mediocre results, yet exceptional effort would take me beyond anything I could imagine.

In 11th grade, I took AP English and wrote what I thought was an A-calibre paper for my first assignment. I got a B. Not good enough. After that, I spent my nights poring over every word that I wrote down, writing and rewriting, attacking my paragraphs from every angle. In my next assignment I got a solid A, and I haven’t received anything less on a paper since then. If I hadn’t started out as an average writer, I would have never been motivated to try harder to succeed. I can now say that writing has become one of my greatest assets.

From getting into my dream school to steadily building up my strength in the gym, I own every ounce of personal achievement. I. Own it. I’m here where I am now because of how hard I’ve worked, because of how ferociously I’ve battled what God gave me, because I wanted it badly enough. [Tweet ” You want respect? Then demand it.”] I’m not going to look up to those who brag about how little they work to get the body they have. There’s nothing to admire about somebody who prances around all day and – oops! – accidentally gains muscle. The attitude that life is a joyride and you should do only what you feel like doing is going to get you to Nowhereland. If you want people to listen to you, then earn that right.

Quit whining. You never get away with anything, but so what? Know that each time you get yourself to the gym when you’d rather be lying around, you’re adding one more brick to your wall of discipline. You’re not only building muscle – you’re building character. And that, my friends, will take you very, very, far.

Be damn proud of your average genetics. Victory tastes that much sweeter.

  1. A.J. 8 years ago

    To be honest, if you want to become a good writer it might help to know that one doesn’t “pour” over documents, but does “pore” over them. Pedantic, yes, but I’ve seen a lot of examples of this misuse lately.

    I’m genetically gifted in grammar and spelling. Or maybe that was through nurture from my anal-rententive father.

    • Slops 8 years ago

      I guess you could also paw over them, but that’s sliding into fetishism, and probably not where she was going with this.

    • Sohee Lee 8 years ago

      Thanks for the correction – honest typo.

      I’m genetically gifted in knowing bullshit when I see it. Never heard of anyone being anal-rententive, but maybe that’s a new thing?

      • Ben 8 years ago

        ohhhhhh snap!!

      • A.J. 8 years ago

        Heh. I didn’t understand your comment until someone else made it more obvious. Note to self: No Grammar Nazi posts after the second glass of whisky. Sometimes your fingers stumble.

        I claim typo, but you can believe what you want to believe.

        • LeMelon 8 years ago

          No capitalisation is required after a colon. Speaking of colons; I don’t want to hear about your father’s anal retention!

          Before anyone comments, I’m using ‘British’ English spelling here!

      • Ned 8 years ago

        Outstanding! Stay pedantic, my friends!

  2. Happy Dude 8 years ago

    A.J. you’re somewhat of an asshole to be pedantic about something so minuscule and fail to acknowledge how well thought out and motivating this article is.

    Sohee Lee I could not agree anymore with you on this topic. The same thing happened to me. As soon as you start working hard at exercise, you start working hard at everything else in your life. It’s a way of thinking that can change who you are for the better. I’m going much further In Neuroscience, just because I started to work hard for my health.
    Thanks for putting it in such eloquent words for us 🙂

    • Zoharian 8 years ago

      It may seem nit-picky but that is how we learn. By making mistakes and realizing we made them. Unfortunately the person who points it out always gets labeled as the ass-hole. I don’t think the comment was rudely stated at all. And I learned a lesson I didn’t know, even though it was a typo. But if it wasn’t pointed out someone else could have learned the wrong usage and passed that on to more of the internet, making the human collective a little more wrong.
      That said, I agree that it is a great article and very motivational. Nothing worth having comes easy.

    • A.J. 8 years ago

      No intention of being an asshole. If someone professes to a desire to be a better writer, I assume that person is willing to accept a brief spelling correction. Note that I also make fun of myself for even doing so. Most times I wouldn’t bother, but Sohee has a good writing style and I assume she would appreciate the help to improve, as I would for myself.

      I wasn’t attempting to diminish the content of the article — I did read it and found some good points in it. I simply had a pet peeve triggered.

      • SLC 8 years ago

        A.J., I do agree with the ‘pore’ v. ‘pour’ usage, it aggravates me as well. I also am entertained by your typo of ‘rententive’ instead of ‘retentive’. Almost every time I correct a person I end up making a mistake myself. Glad it isn’t just me. 😉

  3. Zak 8 years ago

    This is something I have always thought about as well. Everyone knows that ridiculously jacked person in the gym who does nothing but curls and “core” work, and still has an amazing body. Or the person who can eat anything they want, yet they still possess a six pack. Sometimes I envy those people, but then I remember how much more it will mean to me when I have accomplished my goals due to all of the hard work and time I have put into myself. I truly believe fitness is about self mastery, and I think your article does a great job of explaining that.

  4. Kimk 8 years ago

    Just what I needed to hear these days. Thanks so much. One hard-earned brick at a time…

  5. Suziee 8 years ago

    I really appreciated your honesty and positive attitude in this post! When good things are hard to come by and when you actually reach your goals, you just feel that much more accomplished and satisfied. And once you reach that point, you never want to fall back…. because you know how much discipline and hard work were required to get there in the first place.

    (I just found your blog – and I love it!)

  6. Brian 8 years ago

    As usual, a great blog post. Accomplishing one’s goals is so much sweeter when discipline, focus and fierce determination is involved. Be proud in knowing that the hard effort made it all worth it. Indeed, the myriad joys in life are dependent on hard work and effort.

    • AdelaDi 8 years ago

      I love your article, so motivating! <3 Congrats! 😉

      I totally agree with you, but unfortunately more in principle than in practice. I'm a total flop at the motivation & hard work part. As a child, school and learning had always come very easy for me, I liked reading and finding out new things, doing my homework and that was more than enough. Life was easy, there was no need for strong will power and rock-hard motivation.

      But now, when I see that my lifestyle has turned me into a flabby couch-potato and my work involves also enough unpleasant things that *have* to be done, will power must come into action. Work is fine, but for me, losing weight sucks. The worst thing about it, as opposed to working on a project, is that if you work hard for 80% of the time but not for the other 20%, the mistakes made in the 20% simply make the good 80% vanish into thin air. Now, this is very discouraging. If I'm learning for an exam and I've studied 80% of the materials, whatever I do with the rest of my time instead of learning the other 20% does not make the things I have already done disappear. Unlike in weight loss, sadly.

      Do you have any advice, where can I go buy a few pounds of will power? 🙂

      • Sohee Lee 8 years ago

        Hey Adela – yes, willpower absolutely comes into play. Fortunately, willpower is like a muscle in that you an “exercise” it and strengthen it. I’ll actually be starting a mini-series on article shortly that discusses how you can take charge of your life. Stay tuned 😉

  7. Shirley Wong 8 years ago

    Sohee, I just wanted to say that your blogs are awesome and so…timely. I’ve been following you for a few months now and every time I slip a bit, you’re always there to provide guidance and expertise. Thank you.

    • Sohee Lee 8 years ago

      Shirley, very happy to read that my writing is positively influencing you.

  8. Tim L 8 years ago

    This article shows that you obviously don’t know much about DNA or Genetics, so why don’t you just go back to your little fitness routine and obsess about calories some more hmm?

    • Sohee Lee 8 years ago

      It’s a shame you blame your genetics for the current state of your health. That, my friend, is what I call a woe-is-me mindset: instead of taking matters into your own hands, you find excuses as to why you’re not more successful.

      Anyway, I do appreciate your stopping by here and taking the time to read my article.


    • Slops 8 years ago

      Tim, that used to be my excuse too – because it’s easy to blame your failures on other things or other people outside your control. Your genetics give you the potential, mate. I may be a genius because of my genetics, that doesn’t give me a PhD. I still have to earn it. My genetics also predispose me to putting on weight – but I was the one that let myself get fat. You know what the good news is, bro? You don’t have to let that happen. Yeah, if I take a month off from the gym and eat crap, I get a pot belly in no time at all. So I don’t get to take a month off and eat crap (or if I do, I have to work my chubby arse off afterwards). Maybe you have this issue too – and maybe you just haven’t had that kick-in-the-balls moment you need. Hope you get it soon man, it’s a life changer.

      Oh yeah – so what if Sohee wants to count calories? How does that ruin your life? I don’t care if she survives on nothing but sunlight, air inhaled only when the wind blows from the South and a sense of contempt for all other people, she’s not coming round to my house to let me know – and I’m pretty sure she’s not waking you up at 3am to tell you either mate. Just, you know, chill.

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