“The flinch is your real opponent, and information won’t help you fight it. It’s behind every unhappy marriage, every hidden vice, and every unfulfilled life. Behind the flinch is pain avoidance, and dealing with pain demands strength you may not think you have. The flinch is why the lazy actor never gets discovered – because she never really sweats to make it happen. It’s why the monolithic company gets wiped out by a lean startup – because the big company culture avoids the hard questions. It’s the reason you make the wrong decision, even though you may know what the right one is. Behind every act you’re unable to do, fear of the flinch is there, like a puppet master, steering you off course.”Julien Smith, THE FLINCH
This is probably the very best self help book I have ever read. And I have read a lot of them. Not necessary to help myself get better but to help me do better; to become a better person. I’m not trying to figure out how to “make my side hustle a full-time gig”. The Flinch in my opinion is pure perfection.
I came across it after watching Matt D’Avella’s YouTube video on his 30-days of taking cold showers…
Taking cold showers for one day, let alone 30-days sounds awful. It sounds frightening. Just thinking about it will make you FLINCH and then laugh to release the tension. What is happening in that moment that you are not even aware of is that you are “predicting a flinch that hasn’t happened yet. You’re already anxious about it – about something that hasn’t happened and won’t kill you – barely about something that barely hurts at all”.
The flinch is what holds us back. It keeps us from doing what we know what we should do because we are scared.
The idea of taking a cold shower is actually a “homework assignment” in the book. It (and the other assignments in the book) are designed to show you that the discomfort lasts only a second. That you not only get used to it but you get comfortable with it.
Start doing the opposite of your habits. It builds up your tolerance to the flinch and its power.
While reading this book I thought of all the really tough things I have done in my life. All the times I have stepped out of my box; out of my comfort zone. The times I have stood alone. The times I really had to get my shit together and push through…. I was unknowingly pushing through my flinch.
I am not in a rush to start taking cold showers… but I get it. I feel bad for any self-help book that I read after this. I don’t know if I can actually read anything in this genre again. Sorry (not sorry).
It is quick and to the point. Engaging. It’s half the length it is advertised. Unfortunately the rest of the book is snippets from other books which I don’t fully understand.
flinch: /flinCH/ – verb (used without object)
- to draw back or shrink, as from what is dangerous, difficult or unpleasant
- to shrink under pain; wince