Are You Still Evolving?

In her March 2011 BBC Horizon programme, Alice Roberts found that natural selection is still working, even if we may well be slowing it down to a complete halt.

It seems there are 250 regions of our genome that have recently been ‘under selection’. These include ones we can outwardly observe, like skin pigment, as well as others more concealed, such as metabolism, thermal regulation, altitude and disease resistance.

Changes in environment appear to trigger mutations. At present, our culture is the fastest change going on. In one American town, Framingham, this is turning people shorter and fatter. The escalation of reproductive success is another factor. In Shakespeare’s time, just one in three children reached 21. By Darwin’s, this rose to one in two. Yet now it’s an amazing 99%. Fires, clothing, shelter, tools, medicine and technology are all contributing to remove us from the confines of natural selection.

Yet we are considered prone to wipeout from an epidemic of a lethal contagion. A virus once a mild irritant has evolved to now kill every chicken it infects. With no cure. All from our intervention. How long before such a deadly pathogen attacks us?

What struck me watching this fascinating hour, was how wrong people are when they say “it’s survival of the fittest”. By fittest, they usually mean strongest. And strong usually equates to traits you’d only associate with being a bully.

This is so misleading. Those that prosper are those who most readily adapt to change. I’ve blogged before on the famous Chandler quote in this regard.

So, as salespeople we must continue to evolve. Our environment is constantly changing. Whether we recognise so or not, there isn’t a sector untouched since you started selling by technology or economics or any other manner of game changing shifts.  Rather than think solely about how you can become ‘stronger’, consider instead how you can best adapt to these changes.

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