On The Chinese Finger Trap

January 5, 2012 — 2 Comments

"You're not so tough," said the princess calendar.

My son brought home a Chinese finger trap yesterday.  He was excited to show me how it worked.  When I told him to let me try it he raised an eyebrow and passed it to me.

“I hate these things,” I muttered.

Should I not have said that?

The Chinese finger trap has long been my nemesis.  I remember sticking my finger in one as a kid and having to spend an inordinate amount of time trying to get it out.

Maybe it’s not that I hate it, though.  I feel a little ripped-off, I suppose.  A little jealous.  See, the Chinese finger trap is actually kind of an awesome metaphor.  It shows that some problems (not all) can only be overcome by relaxing.  Once your fingers have been shoved inside, the harder you work and the more you stress about it, the harder it is to get them out.  Once you relax, though, you can slowly and methodically wriggle your fingers out of the trap.

Life can be like that sometimes.  We get all worked-up and stressed out and we try super hard to make something happen, when really what we need to do is relax.  Take it slow.  Breathe deeply.  Stop worrying.  Trust that it’ll work out.

That’s what a Chinese finger trap can teach you.

If I ever use it as an illustration in a speech, though, I’ll just have my son demonstrate it.



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I'm a husband, a father, an author, a speaker, a friend...all kinds of things, actually.

2 responses to On The Chinese Finger Trap

  1. Hi Ryan, I followed your link from Handwritten. Your blog is awesome, and very inspiring. I especially like this post . . . just what I needed to hear today. (Note to self: Relax)

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