Humans are programmed to run away from things that scare them. The flinch instinct is there to save us from threats or danger.
In his book The Flinch, author Julien Smith explains, “Your flinch has become your worst enemy. It should be a summoning, a challenge to push forward. Instead, the challenge is getting refused. . . . If you refuse to face the flinch, it means the fear is choking you.”
The greater the risk, the sweeter the victory. But at the same time, completely throwing caution to the wind isn’t a smart move either.
The trick is that you have to figure out how much risk is acceptable in your current situation. Changing jobs if you’re a 22-year-old with no commitments has a very different level of associated risk than if you’re a 42-year-old with a spouse and kids. Every situation is different, but life is filled with risks. And the older we get, the more scared we become of it.
Think back to some of the stupid things you did as a kid. How many trees did you jump out of, how many after-dark activities did you take part in, and how many risky adventures did you go on? When we are young, we understand risk, but we also are more accepting of leaning into it rather than flinching and avoiding it.
Part of that is getting wiser as we grow older, but at the same time most people in the world are getting more scared as they get older.
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