The Flinch is a natural response

‘A book so important we refuse to charge for it.”

That was written on the price tag of Julien Smith‘s book The Flinch which is a free download for Amazon Kindle.

And it intrigued me enough to download it.  [To be honest I would’ve bought it since Julien had won already won me over with Trust Agents (affiliate link) which he co-wrote with Chris Brogan.]

So what is the flinch all about?

The flinch is literally that feeling you get if someone is about to punch you.  It is the natural reflex reaction that has kept the human species alive for millenia. Fight or flight.

Unfortunately, it is the same feeling that inhibits us from doing the things we really want to.  It stops us quitting our job, going overseas or asking a girl out. The flinch is now our enemy.

What’s changed?

Cavemen used to hunt for food and avoid sabre tooth tigers.  The flinch was our friend then but we don’t face these daily dangers any more.  However the flinch is hardwired in our brain that wants to protect us.

We feel the flinch when we think about approaching a girl, when it comes to losing weight, when a lecturer asks if anyone has a question.  The flinch is trying to protect us (from embarrassment, from failure, from ridicule) but none of these things will kill us.

In fact the only way we can achieve our goals and live our dreams is to face up to the flinch and use it in our favour.

Julien Smith insists that “the anxiety of the flinch is almost always worse than the pain itself.”

The only way to know this for sure is to do things that scare you.  When your brain is screaming at you to avoid something, use that as your cue to do it.  Recognise the flinch and learn to use it!

My promise to myself for 2012?

I will seek out situations that scare me. When I feel the flinch and feel uncomfortable, I’ll push through and give it a go.

I’ll let you know how it goes.

Julien Smith


I like Julien Smith because he is happy to say what he thinks and urges us to follow our dreams and gives us the tools to do so!

You can follow @julien on Twitter.

The Flinch was published as part of Seth Godin’s Domino Project.


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