Overcoming the Want Gene


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Your best friend just put in a beautiful granite kitchen countertop. They have a little get together with you and other friends to show it off. As you drive home, you can’t shake the desire building inside of you of having one too. That want, that desire, when left unchecked, becomes a seed and that seed will eventually germinate.

The next thing you know, come hell or high water, you find yourself putting in a new countertop.

According to Wisonart, a home goods manufacturer, 34% of all home improvement/renovation projects are initiated in an effort to keep up with a friend, family member or neighbor.

Human beings are hardwired to want what others have. It’s literally built into our genome, our DNA.

The Want Gene is one of the reasons why so many individuals fail to live within their means, fail to save and accumulate so much debt.

This Want Gene resides deep inside the limbic system, a part of the primitive brain that directs your emotions and impulses. It’s a very powerful gene.

But, the good new is you also were bestowed something called the prefrontal cortex, a more sophisticated and newer region of the brain that has the ability to overpower the Want Gene. In fact, the prefrontal cortex is the master or, CEO, of your brain.

The prefrontal cortex’s greatest weapon over the primitive brain’s hardwired emotions/impulses is the Awareness Gene. This Awareness Gene, when turned on, overcomes the Want Gene, turning it off whenever it rears its ugly head.

But the Awareness Gene is a switch that must remained turned on. When it is used repeatedly, it stays turned on and remains vigilant in suppressing the Want Gene – it becomes the master over the Want Gene.

Unfortunately, most individuals give into the instinctual, hard-wired emotions/impulses of the primitive brain – allowing their Want Gene to run their lives. That is why most people live beyond their means, are unable to save, accumulate debt  and struggle financially.

How do you keep the Awareness Gene turned on and the Want Gene turned off?

By having a life plan.

The prefrontal cortex loves to plan. By creating a life plan, that plan becomes your GPS, guiding you in all of your decisions. Your life plan turns on the Awareness Gene and forces you to evaluate every potential spending decision, in order to ensure it is consistent with your life plan.

Without a life plan, you allow your Want Gene to take control of your spending decisions, which always has disastrous consequences.

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Thomas C. Corley About Thomas C. Corley

Tom Corley is a bestselling author, speaker, and media contributor for Business Insider, CNBC and a few other national media outlets.

His Rich Habits research has been read, viewed or heard by over 50 million people in 25 countries around the world.

Besides being an author, Tom is also a CPA, CFP, holds a master’s degree in taxation and is President of Cerefice and Company, a CPA firm in New Jersey.
Phone Number: 732-382-3800 Ext. 103.
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  1. This piece struck a chord with me. From now on I intend to exercise my awareness gene so that I do not find myself at the latter years of my life broke.

  2. Excellent and novel perspective! Thanks for this gem!

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