I came across this book when I was watching a video about personal growth. The video was done by Julien and Tyler as part of their free tour; during which both of them go around the world and give free advice on how to master relationships and self mastery.
Julien mentioned this book called “The Flinch” By Julien Smith.
The first thing I take into consideration of whether or not to read a book, is how many pages does it have. I am very impatient and want knowledge now or never.
The book is 131 pages – not bad, it means it can be read in less than half a day with note taking.
But when I finished it, I was surprised.
It was less than 50 pages. The rest of the book had excerpts of other popular books in the same genre.
This is not a bad thing. Because in my opinion, any concept that a book is trying to explain, can be summarized in one sentence. The rest of the writing is there to PUT THAT CONCEPT DEEP IN YOUR HEAD. And The Flinch does this perfectly in just under 50 pages.
The Flinch explained: It gives shape to a certain “state” or “brake” that we face everytime we want to get out of our comfort zone.
The following are some of the most memorable points I could remember and write down. It was hard choosing the best ones, because EVERY sentence is so well written that you can use it as freaking quote on social media or a headline for an ad. Not that every quote is good. Take Lincoln’s advice on that
To quit a bad habit, or start a new one, or change your life completely, it is dead easy to find out how on google. But, the seemingly hard part is actually doing it. Because the part that is missing, or stopping you from doing it is doing a great job. Its called the flinch.
The flinch is like a puppet master steering us whenever we face a situation that is out of our comfort zone.
Facing the flinch is hard. It means seeing all the lies you tell yourself, facing the fear behind them, and handling the pain that your journey demands.
The flinch is the moment that every doubt you ever had comes back and hits you hard. It is when your whole body feels tense. An instinct that tells you to run. It stops everything cold. The flinch is there to support the status quo.
When you come across something you know you will flinch, you have been trained through social conditioning to refuse the challenge and turn back. It is a reaction that brings out, old memories, and haunts you with them. It tightens your chest and makes you want to run. The fear is too strong to enable you to go forward.
I for example, always flinch whenever I go out and am faced with a gorgeous woman.
There is a universal saying here in the Balkans, roughly translated to “shit happens” or “fuck it” that people use every time we fail at something, are unable to do something, or just don’t wanna do it. It’s the universal medicine that cures wounds, emotional and physical, justifies crimes against humanities, approves of delivering shitty, half done work and in general give the subject power to blame life to justify his state of shittiness.
Lets see some more notes:
- Wherever you find a flinch, face it. When you face it, you take back the control over yourself.
- The flinch is endemic to cultures that embrace the old even though the old does not work anymore.
- The finch has been guiding you all the time. It has been learning as much as you have been learning about it and about life in general. It has progressed in the same manner.
- The flinch appears whether you like it or not.
Flinching is a natural defence mechanism, it guards the baby from falling when they start to walk. It protect us from the unexpected and the seemingly unknown. It protects your face and neck. And its one of the few instincts we are born with.
In the past the flinch protected you when you were suddenly faced with a bear.
Today, the flinch has become so distorted that it treats each new and unknown situation as if it is a bear.
And now, some bear memes:
The flinch does not know. Its just a natural physical/emotional reaction. It does not know if what you are facing is a bear or not. Our duty is to teach it and put the bear flinch where it should be. With bears.
Curiosity kills the flinch.
- Doing, kills the flinch.
- Behind every undiscovered flinch is a lesson.
- Forget second hand knowledge and go for the painful, firsthand visceral one.
- You need to feel it in order to learn from it.
- We learn when we experience it with our sensory system.
To kill the flinch start doing the opposite what our habits tell is to do. It builds up tolerance against the flinch.
Think about the following. Shower with a cold shower. Notice before you step in that you are already tense and squirming – and we have not even stepped in! We are predicting a flinch that has not even happened yet. When the water hits us, the “pain” lasts for a second and afterwards it is all back to normal.
A flinch is like a door in a corridor through which we walk everyday – the opening of the door is the action and the “scar” and thats it.
The flinch thrives on making risks look worse than they are and we use bland, soft, judgmental and blurry words to justify the flinch. So if we see these words – act.
When we feel the strong impulse to do something else, anything else – this means that we are right at that threshold of making something important and we need to act.
The kid who wants to take over the world is inside and wants to get out. But you flinch and won’t let it.
You are only as strong as your weak points. Learn to reinforce them.
My weak points for example:
- I sometimes act tough to protect myself from hurt.
- I do not show enough understanding to the closest people in my life even though I always say I do.
- I am afraid of approaching random women when I go out.
- I am afraid of opening up through this post about my fears.
Here are the top two interesting memes about fears:
- The flinch believes our identity is what is keeping us alive, not the breathing or the food we eat or the people we meet and experience feelings with.
- When missing an opportunity: Watch the failure as it walks away. Don’t hide from it. Observe the missed opportunity as it walks away and leaves you alone with inadequacies. Don’t turn away and fee the anxiety.
- A martial arts analogy: A good fighter will be patient and wait for me to show my flinch and strike hardest.
That analogy raises a question:
If that opponent fighter is you, but a moment from now, how can you avoid being struck by him the moment he sees you flinch?
- When faced with the flinch, professional do the following – they strike forward and use the speed of the flinch to their advantage.
- Instead of flinching backwards, flinch forward. You go on offense instead of defense.
- You grow instead of shrink.
- The trick is to, the moment the flinch appears, to use the intensity of the building up of the flinch and go forward. In those few moments (three seconds) the flinch builds up with intensity but it is not fully formed. The full formation is when it clenches you in the ground. In those three seconds the intensity is a free force that just build up.
The power, or strike back, lies in those three seconds.
Start with small flinches and flinch forward. Anything that requires a change from a habit you have is a flinch forward. And then flinching toward big things becomes easy.
Get in the ring.
Set fire to your old self. Your new self is the overwhelming, overpowering, and destroying everything unnecessary. Open your eyes and block all escape routes. Eliminate all routes. The ring is made of places people and projects that are worth the flinch. Habits obscure the flinch.
- Get in a position where you can no longer back out. Burn the bridge.
- The anxiety is a fear that is behind every flinch. Anxiety is just a possibility of failure.
If there is no flinch, then something is wrong.
Closing notes. A checklist to wipe off the flinch:
- Do things that hurt on purpose. Choose something that makes your brain scream and tolerate it. Understand that pain is something you can survive.
- Read more.
- Get scars by working with your hand and body.
- Turn phone off for few hours per day.
- Face the fear of having nothing to do.
- Find friends that will make me uncomfortable.
- Renegotiate your work.
- Dress as if you have the most important day today.
- Make something amazing and terrifying for myself.
Wow. All this self empowerment, combined with Iron Maiden makes me wanna start a war.
But, thinking about war, makes me hungry. So I created this fearless 7 layered stack of bacon, eggs and love.
Now I will face the flinch and eat this behemoth with all the pain and glory that comes with it.
P.S. Take a look at this commercial. I think it answers your questions whether or not you should consider the flinch or not.