I absolutely love books like this. I read it when it came out last winter and have read it several times since. It’s free from Amazon (click on the picture above) and is absolutely incredible.
In The Flinch, Julien Smith (check out his blog here) calls you out. He calls you out for flinching. Read the book to find out more about what exactly the Flinch is, but what I’ll say here is that this book forever changed the way I look at fear. Yes, I can still be a chicken shit, but hopefully less so, much thanks to The Flinch (taking the book’s advice, I have been taking cold showers for a few weeks to combat my Flinch…never comfortable).
The Flinch is so very Aikido. You’ll see. If you’re planning on testing for your next rank in Aikido or any other art, read it. If you feel like you’re plateauing at any venture right now, read it. If mediocrity and boredom are washing you away and you feel like you’ve lost control, read it. If you’re a perfect individual with no problems… Still read it. It’s a bold, colorful, to the point call to action that we all need. Weighing in at only 131 pages, you can read it in an afternoon or two and I think you’ll find it to be a refreshing boost of Aiki-powered fear bashing which we all could use.
I wrote a post a while back about, what I called, the snail brain. I kind of threw the post together after the idea hit me, and I’ve been thinking of it ever since trying to clarify my thoughts on it. What I claim it is, is the phenomena where you override your lizard brain’s survival instincts when you should really be listening to it. I think us humans are unique in doing this. I love studying conflict and fear, and my research lead me to Gavin DeBecker, one of the world’s leading experts on security. This guy owns a firm that provides security to Supreme Court justices, past Presidents, many of the world’s most famous celebrities, and other high profile individuals. His firm also provides a lot of protection to the CIA. You know you’re a bad ass when your company guards the CIA. Yeah, the ones who kill and assassinate people around the world daily. He guards THEM. Predicting violent behavior and dealing with fear is what he does for a living, and he’s the best. Anyways, I was watching some of his interviews when I stumbled on the video below. Especially, check out the segment of the video around the 3:50 mark where he talks about the woman getting on the elevator:
What he describes is what I was trying to say about the snail brain. This woman got a terrible feeling about the sketchy looking guy on the elevator. In her gut, she knew that getting in the elevator with that man was probably not a great idea. But, she overrode it, and decided to get into the soundproof, steel cage with him anyways. As DeBecker states in the video, no other animal in the world would do that.
My research about DeBecker carried me to this video below. This is a first, and hopefully a last, on AikiLiving, but… brace yourself… it’s an Oprah interview with him. Yep, I couldn’t resist, because the story he tells explains this point even further:
Kelly, in the story, overrode her survival instincts several times and it lead to her being raped. Following that horrendous event, though, the one time she listened to those instincts saved her life. As much as I bash on the lizard brain, it does have a purpose. Fear could be a gift. Not anxiety, but fear. In the first video, DeBecker explains how ridiculous anxiety is and how it’s affected our culture. We’re a culture based on fear, really, and most of it is not necessary. There are times, however, when listening to your survival instincts could save your life.
Gavin DeBecker is an interesting dude, for sure. He has some books out about fear and having the awareness necessary to prevent dangerous situations from happening. He also has several interviews online that I highly recommend. Watching that whole old-school Primetime interview is worth it too.