If you like to put things off or surf the internet instead of getting work done, you might be able to blame your ancestors. Procrastination and laziness are based in our genetics, and you can be predisposed to both, says Sharad Paul, MD, author of The Genetics Of Health: Understand Your Genes for Better Health.
While procrastination seems like a character flaw, it evolved for a reason. “The genes progressed down generations because these people were still holed up in caves fearful of predators [saying], ‘My tools are not sharp enough. I better spend more time perfecting this spear,’” he says. “These people survived more because they avoided conflict, and these genes were handed down to future generations.”
While procrastinators are delayers, lazy people are sloths, says Paul. Research from the Institute of Genetics and Developmental Biology in Beijing and the University of Aberdeen identified a genetic mutation called SLC35D3 that produces a protein that interferes with the brain’s dopamine system, which triggers cells to initiate movement.
“In mice that had a faulty SLC35D3 gene, the dopamine receptors were trapped inside cells; therefore, these mice became couch potatoes,” says Paul.
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