Thursday, December 29, 2011

The Flinch

I just read a book by Julien Smith called The Flinch.  I love him almost as much as I love Seth Godin -- they're of the same vein (although Julien swears a lot more -- so be warned if you go to his blog!)  No swearing worries in the book though.

The book spends its time talking about the automatic reflex we are all born with to pull back when something outside our comfort zone hits us.  On the very first page, Julien uses the example of boxers -- you have to get over the reflex to pull back when you're about to get hit, if you ever want to become a boxer.

I have no desire to become a boxer.  I don't really ever want to experience getting hit in the face.  But I do want to grow as a person and that means change.  Which, let's face it, might sometimes be worse than getting hit in the face.

We're hard wired to avoid change.  Change is a challenge that, when we were hunter gatherers, we didn't have the luxury of exploring.  Our environment dictated how we were going to spend our days -- change meant taking time to adjust -- which meant we might starve to death or get eaten by a bear if we didn't adapt fast enough.

Fortunately, that isn't our experience today.  The likelihood of me getting eaten by a bear is really small.  We have new battles to fight and a new environment to adjust to.  We have food available at every corner of our modern world and we don't have to move very much to get it (or get anything else, for that matter).

Today, it actually requires less front-end effort to be overweight and unhealthy than it does to be fit.

But notice I said front-end effort. 

You can either put in the work now (park farther away from your destination, take every set of stairs you can find, go out of your way to understand your hunger/fullness signals, package up part of your restaurant meal so you don't overeat...) or you can put in your work later (more doctors appointments because you have diabetes, visits to your cardiologist to check on your stents, trips to the drug store to pick up your blood pressure meds, visits to your orthopedist because your knees and hips are killing you.....).

Near as I can tell, we don't get out of this life without doing the work. (well....unless we do get eaten by the bear).  Our best bet is to pick the kind of work we want to do.....or maybe we don't want to do it but it's the work we can live with. 

Me?  I like choices (even if change scares the pants off me).  I want to create a life that gives me as many options as possible.

Need some inspiration or a kick in the pants?  Read Julien's book, Flinch!  The upside is it's free -- the downside is right now it's only available for Kindles.  Borrow one if you have to -- it's worth taking the time to understand the flinch you feel whenever I suggest keeping a food journal, letting yourself get physically hungry, or committing to an exercise program.  That flinch you feel, it's telling you something.

About the book.

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