volitional eveloution

There are a lot of ideas about evolution and how we evolve. The big idea is natural selection, the survival of the fittest of any species (see Darwin). This is individual selection, the idea that our genes are competing to propel themselves into the future (see Dawkins). My friend, Howard Bloom, popularized the idea of group selection, noting that individuals were willing to sacrifice themselves for the group (and also popularizing the idea of memes, or how we become infected with ideas).

But there is another kind of evolution that is just beginning to occur. It’s called volitional evolution. This is evolution by choice and by design. Now that we have deconstructed the human genome, we are going to change ourselves to be a better, healthier version of ourselves in the future. We are going to decide to have children who are taller, thinner, smarter, more compassionate, and longer-lived. We are going to turn off certain genes and turn on others. We are also going to incorporate our technologies into our physical bodies and create new body parts in laboratories.

The next two decades are going to be wild, but you don’t have to wait for volitional evolution. You can begin changing yourself right now. Volition means to decide and commit to a particular course of action. This form of evolution is within your control right now, wherever you are.

As I was traveling through the airport this week, I saw a copy of a new book by Gene Simmons of the rock band Kiss. I saw Kiss on February 19th, 1984 at Battelle Hall on their first tour without makeup (Lick It Up). I saw Kiss in the same venue in December of that year promoting a new record (Animalize). I tried to meet the band, and I went down early and hung around. I never got a chance to meet them, but one of their roadies did get me their autographs. The only paper I had on me was an absence excuse from high school that a friend in the attendance office had pre-stamped as approved. All four members signed it where the teachers were supposed to sign (what I’d give to still have that!).

I wasn’t a big Gene Simmons fan, but I wanted to be Paul Stanley. Gene has become a serious entrepreneurial force, so I picked up Me, Inc.: Build an Army of One, Unleash Your Inner Rock God, Win in Life and Business.

The book isn’t particularly well written. It’s super-repetitive. But the lessons are unbelievable important, so much so I am going to require my children to read it. The most important lesson is this: At one point, Chaim Witz, decides to become Gene Simmons. He decides to put on makeup, decides to form the band that he would want to see, and decides to market the heck of that band (and everything else to which he can affix the Kiss logo, so far that’s about 3,000 licensing agreements).

Simmons aligned his actions with who he wanted to become, and now he is an enormously successful entrepreneur. This was by choice, by design. It was an act of volition.

What choices are you making about who you are becoming? What changes in your beliefs and your actions are necessary to allow you to become the biggest, best version of yourself? Is what you are doing and where you going an act of volition? Or are you simply allowing the world to work on you?

Send me your thoughts, ideas, and stories. Forward this to anyone who might need it, or anyone who might pump their fist in the air and throw the devil horns with you. They can subscribe by going to http://www.thesalesblog.com/newsletter.

Make this week the week you decide. I’ll see you back here next week.

Anthony Iannarino



Contributor Anthony Lannarino is an entrepreneur, speaker, author, and consultant. He writes daily at www.thesalesblog.com and you can subscribe to his newsletter at www.thesalesblog.com/newsletter.