December 7th, 2011
Episode 16 of 111 episodes
Ah. You're here! Awesome. Make yourself at home. Take a load off. Put your feet up on my digital coffee table. Fire up the XBox. Hell, drink straight from the milk carton.Mi casa es su casa, right? Get really comfy, at least for a few paragraphs. Enjoy it while you can. Because the mind-wracking anxiety and discomfort will come soon enough ... and trust me: that'sa good thing. I want you to meet somebody I appreciate and admire. Dude's name is Julien Smith. I've followed his work for years. He updates his blog in hurricane bursts of creativity, intensity and razor-sharp insight -- often writing about how this titanic Internet thing affects how we perceive and interact with the world. He's co-host (with other whip-smart folk) on a podcast that, at its core, explores the topic of how we communicate online. Well beyond the social media nerdsphere, he's best known as the New York Times bestselling co-author of Trust Agents, the most resonant book about online relationship-building I've ever read.But Julien's no Social Media Douchebag. He's always been smarter, and always soared higher, than those buzzword-squawking parrots. Julien seems to strive for authenticity in nearly everything he does. This is a man who has no patience for excuses, and even less for bullshit. He's not an angry man. He's honest -- honest in a way that slices through the blubbery, blubbering excuses so many of us use to rationalize the fundamental dissatisfaction in our lives.Which brings me to mind-wracking anxiety and discomfort ... and The Flinch.The Flinch is Julien's new ebook. It was released today over at Amazon. The Flinch is a brisk read; you'll tear through it in an hour or so. And it's FREE, and always will be. Go to Amazon and get your copy right now.I know you didn't click that link. You're still here. That's cool.But know that what I say next, I say with absolute certainty:You need to read this book.I have absolute confidence making that proclamation because I needed to read this book. See, I am haunted and held captive by something Julien calls "the flinch" -- the self-preserving flight instinct in the famous fight or flight equation. Here's the rub: You're haunted by the flinch, too. Julien explains: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. ... Behind every act you're unable to do, fear of the flinch is there, like a puppet master, steering you off course.Everyone is haunted by the flinch. "It's a reaction that brings up old memories and haunts you with them," Julien writes. "It tightens your chest and makes you want to run. It does whatever it must do to prevent you from moving forward. ... Whatever form it takes, the flinch is there to support the status quo."Can you accurately count the times in your life when that chest-tightening fear overpowered your desire to change -- to surge beyond the doldrums of Status Quo? I can't. Hell, I can't accurately count those instances in my current daily life. Oh, all the things I pine to do! Oh, all the things I postpone because I know exactly what to tell myself to rationalize my fear-soaked cowardice. When I stop squinting and honestly examine my life, I see that I'm surrounded by the flinch.I bet when you stop squinting, you'll see the flinch everywhere too.Julien's thoughtful, zero-bullshit, examination of this fear is well worth the download and read. The very fact he was able to give such a powerful force an instantly-recognizable name is worthy of your peepers, too. But let's not kid ourselves: Naming a fear makes it easier to identify and discuss ... but calling something "the flinch" doesn't provide much backbone in overcoming it.Thankfully, that's what the rest of Julien's ebook is about.I dare not reveal the steps Julien suggests to address and rise above the primal fear of the flinch ... or the simple yet revelatory "homework" assignments he gives readers. That stuff, you can easily discover on your own. However, I will promise that by reading The Flinch, you'll learn something about yourself ... and you might see that you have far more gumption than you ever imagined.The Flinch isn't a brutal book, but it does challenge you to toughen up, glare at the opponent inside you, and step into a boxing ring to take care of some serious fucking business.As Julien writes:In a fight, there is a fundamental difference between boxers and everyone else. The guys who have trained are different. If you hit them, they don’t flinch. It takes practice to get there, but if you want to fight, you have no choice. It’s the only way to win.Which is why you must get brave, and acknowledge the mind-wracking anxiety and discomfort -- the flinch. It's why you need to read this book.--J.C.