In life there are situations that cause you to “flinch.”

Someone throws a punch at you. A girl “shit-tests” you. Your boss disrespects you in front of your team.

These “flinch” moments are true tests of your character and confidence. Your reaction in these moments is crucial.

Do you give into your underlying fears, flinch, and flee from the conflict or breakdown and lose control? Or do you stay cool, maintain focus, and react calmly in accordance to your own self-interests and personal values.

Over the past few years I’ve been training in Muay Thai, and I’ve come to see the “flinch” reaction people experience when someone throws a punch towards their face as a metaphor to the “flinch” reactions people have to other stressful situations in life.

Whether it’s approaching a girl, entering a job interview, or confronting a friend—uncomfortable moments like these are a necessary evil. If you don’t learn to face the situation head-on, avoid flinching, and carrying out your business life will be a stressful mess. In this article I’ll review the causes of the “flinch” and why it’s so important to master in your own life.

The “flinch” is natural

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Oh shit! Hot girl… what do you do?

When someone throws a punch at your face, your natural instinct is to close your eyes, look away, and throw your hands up. This is a mechanism that is working to protect you…

But does it really protect you?

The answer is of course no. When people do this they basically freeze and open themselves up to being repeatedly pummeled in the face. The proper reaction would be to cover up your face, move away from the punch, and then run or attack your opponent.

The same goes for stressful social situations. When you see an attractive girl you want to talk to, your natural reaction is to “flinch” and then freeze, thinking about all the things that could go wrong before just giving in and letting the opportunity pass by. This is also a natural reaction—your nervous system is giving into the fear of rejection and social embarrassment.

Again, this is obviously not the proper reaction, assuming you actually want to meet her of course.

The “flinch” must be un-trained

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It takes time and effort to “unlearn” your natural reaction

As I covered above the proper reaction to being punched is not your natural reaction. And so a big part of training to fight, in addition to learning the appropriate reaction, is taking the time to decondition the natural response.

This happens over time through sparring. After enough punches have been thrown your way, and you’ve deliberately pushed to avoid flinching, you’ll eventually reach a point where you can control that instinctive reaction.

The same goes for other stressful situations. Once you’ve forced yourself to approach a large number of women, for example, you’ll no longer flinch when a cutie strolls by you in the supermarket. Sure, you’re going to let a lot of opportunities pass you along the way, because of the flinch reaction—that’s inevitable.

But you’ll slowly un-train your fearful response until you’re able proceed without hesitation, approach her confidently, and ask her out.

Your reaction to these “flinch” moments defines you

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Fight or flight? Or neither?

Because these “flinch” reactions are natural, and we must all take the time to desensitize ourselves to their stranglehold, how you react in these situations says a lot about where you are in life.

Just because you “flinch” and get your ass beat in a fight or pussy out of making the approach doesn’t mean you’re a worthless pussy. It simply means you haven’t taken the time to detrain the flinch and face the music.

And when you see a man who’s able to control himself when the shit hits the fan, it’s key to recognize that he’s likely experienced enough similar situations in the past to the point where he can control his reaction and proceed with logic and purpose.

Repetition is the fastest route to confidence. Find a quick way to face any fear that’s holding you back – then do it over and over again. This is a key part of developing as a man. Start sparring in a martial art. Start approaching 5 girls a day. This is the fastest way to become courageous and overcome the “flinch.”

Read More: How To Free Yourself From The Need For Women