Feeling Stuck or Trapped? Take Action Chinese Handcuffs Style

April 25, 2017

Relaxing beach break on holiday

“Remember the old Chinese handcuffs thing,” a friend reminds me when I get stuck doing the same thing over and over, even though whatever I’m doing doesn’t work.

A Chinese handcuff is a toy, a small bamboo tube, about four inches long. You stick an index finger in each end. Then when you pull, you’re trapped. The harder you pull, the more stuck you get.

Your instinctive reaction—not the handcuffs—keeps you trapped. To set yourself free you have to take certain steps.

Letting go isn’t enough.

You have to relax, then gently push in before you can pull yourself loose.

When my friend tells me to remember the Chinese handcuffs thing, he’s reminding me that sometimes taking action means relaxing and doing the opposite of what our instincts tell us to do.

Application: If we have tried to do something a hundred times, and the way we’re doing it hasn’t worked, it probably still won’t the next time. It may be time to take action and do something else.

From the desk of Melody Beattie
Originally posted November 27, 2014

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