So you need to start recognizing your fight-or-flight response.
Every alternative you develop is highly valuable because it opens your options dramatically. You can train yourself into new patterns, and you’re not the first to do so.
The first step is to stop seeing everything as a threat. You can’t will this to happen—it requires wider exposure. If you’ve been punched in the face, you won’t worry as much about a mugger, for example. If you face the flinch in meditation, you don’t worry about a long line at the bank. Build your base of confidence by having a vaster set of experiences to call upon, and you’ll realize you can handle more than you used to. Doing the uncomfortable is key. It widens your circle of comfort. Second, rework the pattern of threat response. Learn habits that move you out of a fight-or-flight choice and into another pattern that’s more effective.
But the real trick is to do what the professionals do. They use the speed of the flinch—they use its intensity—to their advantage.
Instead of flinching back, they flinch forward—toward their opponent, and toward the threat. When you flinch forward, you’re using the speed of your instincts, but you don’t back off. Instead, you move forward so fast—without thinking—that your opponent can’t react. You use your upraised hands as weapons instead of shields. You use your fear to gain an advantage.
Train yourself to flinch forward, and your world changes radically.
You go on offense instead of defense. Any fight you want to win, a habit of pushing past the flinch can make it happen.
Most people rarely get in the ring for what matters. Instead, the fight gets fought by other people, elsewhere. Everyone talks about it like they want to be involved, but it’s just talk. The truth is that they can’t handle the pressure. They’re not in the ring because they aren’t ready to do what’s necessary to win.
The Flinch by Julien Smith