In Star Wars, “the Force” can be used to do almost anything. And while you probably can’t use the Jedi mind trick to get your remote to hover across the living room to your spot on the couch (just yet), you can use something like it to achieve positivity in your life.
If you’ve been working on mastering positivity of mind but you’re surrounded by negative, complaining, never-satisfied, victim-mentality colleagues, friends, or family members, your resolve is going to wear down over time and it’s going to become harder and harder to stay positive.
I came up with a fun way to trick yourself and others into becoming more positive. I call it the “Jedi mind trick.” Don’t get caught up in the name, some of the aspects of this “trick” will be mental and others physical — but they work. These simple steps can be used in most situations when you feel yourself going negative.
So how do you apply the Jedi mind trick in real life? Here are our seven tips.
Never pass up the opportunity to smile and share a warm greeting with those around you: the greeter at the grocery store, coworkers in the hallway, your kids at the end of a long work day.
When you walk into any new environment, smile, say a warm hello, and shift focus to the person in the room. Ask how their day was, tell them they look great, share how happy you are to see them. When a positive presence enters the room, it becomes infectious. And, if the room was a negative one, the culture of the room shifts upward.
We came up with sixteen greetings to make this a no-brainer:
- You look radiant!
- I missed you.
- I’m so glad you’re here!
- It’s sure nice to see you.
- How was your day?
- What can I do to be of service to you?
- Nice socks!
- Would you like a coffee?
- How are you feeling this morning?
- What a breath of fresh air you are!
- Man, am I glad to see you!
- How’s your project coming along?
- Did you learn anything new today?
- What can I help you with?
- Thanks for being here!
- I’m happy I know you.
2. Say Something Positive
You’re at work, in your cube, and things are going great. So far, so good. You came to work with a positive attitude and your cube-mates have been, well, silent all morning. And then it happens: cube-mate to the left leans back, pokes his head around the wall, and whispers a snarky remark about your manager.
This is it: the moment of truth when you find out if your resolve can stand up to the temptation. You do, after all, kind of agree with his comment but you did, after all, commit to staying positive today.
Here’s the easiest solution we can come up with:
Say something positive.
In this case, try: “But did you see how he got that client off my back yesterday? Super impressive.” Nine times out of ten, the conversation will then end. It’s super hard to keep complaining to somebody who isn’t participating in the complaints.
There are lots of other options:
- When your family is complaining about meal your spouse cooked: “I really appreciate the love and effort that went into it.”
- When your coworkers are complaining about pay and benefits: “I’m really grateful for everything they offer here.”
- When you overhear gossip in the break room: “I like her a lot; she’s been a great addition to our team.”
Saying something positive is about as professional and respectful as you can get. You can put negativity in its place without ever saying an aggressive word. Conversely, you actually lose your powers when you participate in negativity, so simply don’t do it. If (when) you slip up and negativity seeps out, acknowledge it, own up, and apologize.
3. Redirect Your Dialogue
Your internal dialogue is your true Jedi mind trick. This is because very few people:
- Listen to the dialogue.
- Recognize the power they have over the dialogue.
- Redirect that dialogue to change their lives and the lives of those around them.
When you allow the never-ending voice in your head (you know, the one that says, “I bet she’s mad. I bet you did something to make her mad. She probably heard you venting yesterday. You never should have done that. Now she’s going to get you fired. She’s plotting as you speak…”) to veer in a negative direction, your actions and your community follow.
As soon as that internal dialogue starts dwelling on the negative, redirect it with a positive distraction. Count your blessings — that’s a great place to start.
4. Pay a Compliment
Harness the Force by issuing compliments freely and sincerely. Any time you recognize a positive quality in somebody else, share that recognition out loud. People thrive on compliments.
When you choose to see the best in others, love and acceptance radiates from you and it’s exceptionally challenging to complain in front of somebody who’s oozing positive vibes. Challenge yourself to identify one great quality in everybody you meet.
5. Share Your Gratitude
Sharing what you’re thankful for might encourage those around you to do the same. A simple comment like, “I’m so grateful I landed a job here,” or, “I’m so lucky to have you guys,” can help your coworkers, friends, or family members redirect their thoughts and actions to a more positive place.
6. Ask a Question
If gossip and complaining begins in the middle of a gathering, you can redirect the conversation without coming off as judgmental by simply asking questions that bring positive discussion to the table.
Here are some great examples:
- “Hey, did anyone see that news clip about the hometown hero who saved that boy from the well this morning? How incredible!”
- “Let’s see who brought the best lunch today. What did you bring?”
- “Did anybody make it to the game last night? Awesome buzzer shot, right?”
You don’t have to come up with a philosophical, innovative topic; simply distract your colleagues (or other Debbie Downers) with a new conversation that will hopefully lead to more positive discussion.
7. Work on Yourself
You can make a difference, but you will never eliminate all negativity in the world. Work on yourself and your Jedi mind trick — cognizance and control of that internal dialogue — through daily journaling and mindfulness.
Journaling is most effective when it’s consistent, focused, and includes follow up. Take five to ten minutes every morning to remind yourself of your goals and determine which actions you can take today to achieve them. Revisit your journal at the end of the day to measure your success and evaluate how you feel about the progress you’ve made.
You can journal anywhere. A Word document or a notebook works great, or you can use the Happier Mind Journal, which includes the structured template and prompts you need to stay on task with your goals.