The Flinch

Anyone who reads this blog has probably noticed that I really like the work of Julien Smith. And really, if you like my writing, you’d probably like his.

Let’s drill it down a bit further. Remember my post “You are dying, and your world is a lie“?

Well, if you liked that specific post of mine, you’re going to like Julien’s new Kindle book The Flinch. It’s incredibly expensive at $0.00, so you might as well go ahead and grab it. I don’t think Amazon discounts much below that point.

If you’ve been revved up and motivated by some of my recent, “big thoughts” posts but weren’t quite sure what to do, this will fill in some of the missing pieces for you.

Here’s the idea:

When we’re aware of impending pain or suffering, we have an inborn instinct to flinch away from it. This is all well and good in things like protecting your head when you take a fall and in flinching away from a hot stove (or if someone like the Incredible Hulk throws a hot stove at you), but it falls apart when the thing we’re flinching away from is something we need to do.

In other words, it’s that persnickety issue again. The one we all love and hate.

Remarkable things are often uncomfortable by definition. If they weren’t, everyone would be doing them. So in order to be remarkable, you have to get used to discomfort. But we flinch from it. Just as we’re hard-wired to flinch away from actual, physical, destructive impending pain, so too do we learn to flinch away from ridicule, rejection, discomfort, and bad feelings.

Your body says: This thing that’s about to hit us is going to suck. Let’s get the fuck away from it like, now.

Julien says that before champion boxers can become champions, they have to learn to do one thing that novice boxers can’t do. They have to learn how to take a punch.

They have to learn to see the impending pain or discomfort, and not flinch.

Champions in anything are the same way. If you want to achieve anything great, you have to learn when it’s truly appropriate to flinch and when you need to hold your ground and take the hit.

That’s the theory. But there’s practice in here, too.

Want to learn how to get past the flinch? There’s specific strategies in this book. And I’ll admit, they were tough. They all made me want to flinch.

You want to learn how to do big things, start with small things. Start getting intimate with your flinch, and learn how to push through it.

The Flinch was written by Julien Smith for Seth Godin’s Domino Project. It’s free. With that particular combination of attributes, it’s kind of hard for me not to recommend it wholeheartedly.

Julien sent me an advance copy, and I read it in a day and loved it. I think you will too.

Check out The Flinch at Amazon for free. You’ll thank me.


  1. Mars Dorian says:

    I read it too and the only thing I didn’t like about it was the lack of a print version. This print would have been a kick-ass good bye from the Domino project, instead, they chose to publish a short poem that has already been featured on TED.


    • Johnny says:

      Fuck! I didn’t know it was closing. I guess my idea to pitch a book for it isn’t going to work out, huh?