You’ve Just Been Jedi’d: How To Do Jedi Mind Tricks


Jedi mind tricks don’t work on me…only money! ~Watto, “Star Wars, Episode I: The Phantom Menace”

Qui-Gon just found out his Coruscant Express card was declined

You might guess by the title of this post that I’m a diehard Star Wars geek (100 percent correct), a disciple of some Anthony Robbins-style mind control program (nope), or some plain weirdo who spends her late nights wearing tinfoil hats and listening to old episodes of Coast to Coast (OK, so that one’s about half right.) I also believe that every fantasy has some basis in reality. So, are you guys ready to learn how to do the ultimate cool Star Wars stunt?

No, I’m not talking about the Sith choke hold. Although I’m practicing that one for the days when PMS is out of control. I’m talking about the Jedi mind trick.

You know, the “these aren’t the droids you’re looking for” bit? Or perhaps “You don’t want to sell me death sticks?” That’s it. Not a bad bit of trickery if you can get away with it. But you wanna know a secret from a part-time Padawan and full-time observer of human behavior?

The Jedi mind trick is actually fairly easy. It’s all in the delivery.

You don’t wish to sell me death sticks, or Ecstasy, or weed…

There’s a very thin line, you see, between being a confident, assertive master of presentation and being a con artist (the word “con” is of course short for “confidence.”) The main difference I see is the issue of morality. With a Jedi mind trick, the main objective is to accomplish a goal and make your “mark” think the whole thing was his or her idea in the first place. It’s not about relieving someone of their life savings or their grandma’s jewelry collection. That, younglings, would be dishonest.

I’ve “Jedi’d” a lot of people in my everyday life. It comes in handy when dealing with stubborn types who might need help seeing another point of view. I’m also chagrined to admit I’ve used it on a police officer who pulled me over late one summer night doing 10 miles over the limit. But what’s the secret, other than spending hours of training alongside Master Kenobi? To use a bit of Yoda-ese, three components, there are.

Make eye contact and speak in a calm, modulated voice. Any profiler will tell you that someone whose eyes shift or will not make eye contact is usually lying. Likewise those people who raise their voices to a defensive, high-pitched screed. There’s a reason ads selling high-end products employ professional voices. You want to trust someone who speaks to you calmly and assertively. It’s human nature. This is also helpful when trying to restore order, whether in a high school locker room or a cantina in the Outer Rim. Calmness begets calmness. Having a British accent is also a perk.

Know what you believe, and others will want to believe too. Of course, this one can be abused in so many different ways. Cult leaders, sexual abusers, not to mention corrupt Chancellors of the Galactic Senate have used their silver-tongued powers of persuasion to dupe many an unsuspecting mark. However, if your basis is in truth and integrity, it will show. Using your gift of gab for the greater good is almost never wrong. As for hiding illicit droids, well, that’s up to the individual Jedi.

Know a little something about whom you’re dealing with. Jedi Master Qui-Gon Jinn knew a lot, but he somehow forgot that the Jedi mind trick doesn’t work on Toydarians. When dealing with other people (or aliens,) a little flattery goes a long way. Say you’re trying to get a promotion. Why not make a compliment about that framed diploma on the boss’ wall? If you’re arguing for a better grade with a professor, try bringing up a good trait of his/hers. People love to hear and talk about themselves, and this can also be used to your advantage. Just don’t ever try it with a Wookiee.

Officer, my Bantha is about to have a baby...

Obviously the Jedi mind trick takes a lot of practice. I’m still trying to master the art of just looking people in the eye (having Asperger’s, I can tell you this is a challenge.) I’ve certainly gotten better with the art of assertive speaking over time. That’s half the battle.

As for the art of being a con artist? That’s a whole different animal…and one which I might follow up with at some point. If I need some tips there I’ll borrow liberally from Templeton “Face” Peck of The A-Team and James “Sawyer” Ford of Lost.

Oh, and one other thing when it comes to the Jedi mind trick…it never hurts to be good-looking and carry yourself well. A little charm goes a long way.

May the Force be with everyone, and don’t come looking for death sticks here. I gave them up years ago.

The Jedi mind trick also works in Legoland

Got ideas for future posts? Send ’em my way! Enjoyed this post? Click “Like” and be sure to subscribe to P&Q!

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~ by Howlin' Mad Heather on July 6, 2011.

One Response to “You’ve Just Been Jedi’d: How To Do Jedi Mind Tricks”

  1. […] have never known. I’ve rambled on everything from being a geek to the process of writing to the Jedi Mind Trick. Unlike some other blogs, this is an Anything Goes zone. I’m not constrained by a single […]

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