November 19 is celebrated as International Men’s Day across the globe. In India, this day is marked as Indira Gandhi’s birthday. If you set aside your political preferences, allegations of her performance, and her personal life, you have one reason to admire the first woman Prime Minister of India – her alpha personality. It is because of this trait that Margaret Thatcher, former PM of UK, is quoted to have praised Mrs. Gandhi as the only member of the Indian Parliament to wear pants. That’s high praise indeed from one alpha woman to another.
I decided that I would try and see what my DNA says about the characteristics of my personality, which is in general described by different people at different times as – happy, risk taking, impact seeking, a little crazy, adventure seeking, workaholic, somewhat creative, strong, bold – entrepreneur. A partial explanation comes from my DNA, but there is a role that my environment has played.
The making of an alpha woman: nature and nurture
Confident, powerful, intimidating, badass, majestic, memorable – are some words people use to describe an alpha woman. Nature and nurture have a significant role in the making of an alpha woman.
Nature (Read as genes)
At Mapmygenome, we seek answers within – our DNA. Genes are associated with many character traits:
- The COMT gene associated with dopamine levels can bring forth the warrior in you, extracting the best performance during high pressure. Now interestingly I have just the right amount of “Warrior” and “Worrier” in my DNA. Too much of the Warrior gene is likely to make one less empathetic towards others.
- The OXTR gene associated with oxytocin levels can contribute to attractive social behaviour. This is also associated with nurturing instinct and empathy.
- The MAOA gene, which is associated with risk taking ability and aggression in men is said to contribute to happiness levels in women. Happiness in turn is associated with confidence and attractive personality.
- ESR genes linked with estrogen pathways affect a woman’s “hormones”- mood swings, cognition and memory.
A few years ago, my little nephew made a profound statement- That I had inner peace. So when I analyze my DNA and find that I had just the right balance. I suppose, I can say- “Zen is in my DNA”.
Now back to Mrs. Gandhi
It may be too late to analyze Mrs. Gandhi’s genome, but we just have to look at her family tree to understand the role of nature in her personality.
There is enough scientific evidence on the role of grooming in the development of our personalities. History suggests that alpha women have had more freedom and decision making powers than their weaker counterparts. Even as children, they make choices and learn to live with their choices. Self-worth and intelligence are nurtured early on. Alpha girls start making their destinies early on.
Young Indira Priyadarshini’s father respected her intellect and groomed her to be a leader, which is evident in Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru’s Letters from a Father to His Daughter.
Here is where my family made a major difference to my personality and gave me self confidence and decision-making abilities. Many parents forget what a big difference they make to their future generations – through epigenetic changes and also by their nurturing.
Measuring Your Alpha Quotient
We have all tried quizzes that try to assess our personality. A more effective method to analyze this trait is the Leadership Assessment Test. A thirty-minute test can tell you about your thinking ability – logically focused or easily distracted; emotional skills – intuitive or detailed; feelings – anxious (worrier) or confident (stress mastery); and self-regulation – problem focused or solution focused.
WebNeuro Focus measures similar characteristics in children. While the genes cannot be changed, such tests offer measures to change the environmental impact on personality development.
A genetic test gives information about the presence or absence of traits associated with alpha personality. Our customers who take Genomepatri also get to know if they have the worrier or warrior gene.
The best thing about our nature is that it can be nurtured. Awareness about factors contributing to personality can help in grooming ourselves and our children into stronger leaders.
About the Author
Anu Acharya is the CEO of Mapmygenome. Read more.