” The flinch is the moment when every doubt you’ve ever had comes back and hits you, hard. It’s when your whole body feels tense. It’s an instinct that tells you to run. It’s a moment of tension that happens in the body and the brain and it stops everything cold.”- Julien Smith

The quote above perfectly describes the feelings that the flinch triggers in your body. The flinch is defined as “ a drawback / shrink, as from what is dangerous, difficult or unpleasant.”

First off, please read this book because your soul will thank you as this is a pure treat for your mind, body and emotions.

Are you worried that if you purchase the book and end up not liking it, then it’ll be a waste of your money and time? Well guess what, it is free and available online right here.

I’d say that The Flinch was created for people of all ages as you can adopt some of the teachings and concepts at any point in your life. The main aim of the book is to help you see your fears and pushing you to face them and the pain that comes with it. Julien’s writing is clear and simple and gets straight to the point without any filter or BS. He is brutally honest about how human beings complain a lot about things that they supposedly cannot change in their lives whether it is their boring underpaid jobs, relationship anxiety, bad relationship patterns, their weight or how they cannot bring themselves to stick to a diet. He pushes us to recognize that even though we are aware of ways we are not aiming for an upgrade in different areas of our life, we are still not doing anything about it because we are already scared about the consequences of us facing the fear without even giving it a try in the first place.

Photo by Sammie Vasquez on Unsplash

Why I think someone in their 20s should definitely read this book? First of all what are our worries in our 20s:

  • Should I apply for that job even though I don’t think I have the required qualifications? OMG I got an interview but what if they realize I actually suck and I don’t know anything? What if they think that interviewing me is a complete waste of time? What if I freeze and no words come out of my mouth during the interview?
  • I am too busy.  I have to eat unhealthy food everyday for lunch because I cannot wake up early enough to make homemade food because then I won’t have time to do my homework, take a nap, watch my favourite Netflix show and study for that midterm. I will keep eating food which is bad for my body and keep gaining weight and I cannot do anything about it because even if I tried , I will not be able to stick to a healthy diet anyway.
  • I want to travel the world and if I work a little harder I can afford it but I cannot do it solo. All of my friends complain about how expensive it will be or how they cannot get days off from work to go on a trip.
  • I want to start a blog but I will never be able to understand where to even start, like what does WordPress even mean?
  • I want to go on that date but what if I actually like him and want a stable relationship down the line and he doesn’t? What if I get hurt again?
  • I am not happy with how things are going right now with my partner. I feel like I deserve better but I’d rather settle than remain single forever because what if he breaks up with me? If he doesn’t want to be with me, nobody else will.

Well The Flinch basically tell you to STFU about it and actually face those fears and pain you have even if it feels uncomfortable in the moment, even if you don’t know what the consequences will be, even if you will be rejected or even if it ends up in a break-up. Julien explains human emotions and behaviours in more details but also recognizes that just STFUing about it does not come easy. He even assigns some homework assignments for us to get a chance to work on ourselves. It actually takes courage for one to accept that changes are uncomfortable but sometimes that is what we need. He wants you to think about this question – Why are you living a mediocre life?

He ends the book with a checklist which you can go over if you want to read it again but don’t have the time to (At this point, I’ve read it 4.5 times #noregrets). You can get inspired over and over again in that way.

Photo by Tim Trad on Unsplash

Personal realization: I’ve always expressed a disinterest in science fiction books because I feel that I will not be able to understand it anyway. I am too dumb for that and will get bored for sure. Why should I be bothered with imaginative concepts? I’m doing just fine reading real stuff. Well, I told myself all of these things without ever trying science fiction books. So my personal goal is to put the flinch in its place and actually purchasing a sci-fi book and promise myself to finish it and actually stop complaining about being too stupid to do it.

Some of my favourite quotes from the book:

“Facing the flinch is hard. It means seeing the lies you tell yourself, facing the fear behind them, and handling the pain that your journey demands—all without hesitation.”

“So your heart starts beating fast. Your palms get moist. Time distorts. Not for bears, but for hard conversations and quitting your job. But that reaction is backwards. You don’t need adrenaline to get through those things—you just need to do them. Crossing these obstacles will put the flinch in its place”

“Maybe, when you were a kid, your parents didn’t want you to get dirty, or you didn’t like heights. Avoiding dirt or heights built a pattern of pain avoidance, which added to the habit of flinching. Your parents’ fears became your fears, their lives became your life. They flinched for some things, so you began to do the same.”

“So you need to start recognizing your fight-or-flight response. This is the real challenge—what you’ll spend most of your time on—because it is such a strong instinct. Every alternative you develop is highly valuable because it opens your options dramatically.”

“The first step is to stop seeing everything as a threat. You can’t will this to happen—it requires wider exposure. If you’ve been punched in the face, you won’t worry as much about a mugger, for example. If you face the flinch in meditation, you don’t worry about a long line at the bank. Build your base of confidence by having a vaster set of experiences to call upon, and you’ll realize you can handle more than you used to. Doing the uncomfortable is key. It widens your circle of comfort.”

“Facing the flinch, and being willing to get the scars that come with it, is the only thing that divides your present from your future. Those who fight it are easily identified—you can see the fire in their eyes and the determination that practically courses through them. Their determination is like an aura; it can be felt just by being near them”

“Read more. Not just current blog posts and tweets and Facebook updates online, but other sources that take more consideration than blog posts or news. Find thorough and in-depth analyses of subjects you find interesting, or irreverent stuff that makes you feel alive. Read things you disagree with. Read things that are too difficult for you to understand, and then overcome your discomfort by pushing yourself to understand them.”

“Turn your mobile phone off for a few hours each day. Having nothing to do while you’re waiting for a bus can be boring, but it’s only when you’re bored that the scary thoughts come to the surface. Use a dumb phone on the weekends to prevent yourself from checking your messages”

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