Luke Skywalker: “I can’t believe it.”
Yoda: “That is why you fail.”
This is the second in a series of four blog posts on my favorite Jedi mind tricks. My first Jedi mind trick highlights how to process a situation prior to responding.
Jedi Mind Trick #2: Reframing and Perspective Taking
As I write this blog, I am watching the Stanley Cup championship of hockey. Pittsburgh took a two-game lead before flying to Nashville for game three. What was going through Nashville players’ heads at that moment? Let’s play multiple-choice:
- “They are going to sweep us. They are the better team.”
- “Wait until we are on our home ice. We are going to win this next game.”
- “They have the momentum and it is going to be difficult to stop that.”
- “They have all of their good plays out of their system, and now it’s time for us to rise up and win the series.”
How the players frame this situation is going to be key to how they show up on the ice. I guarantee that each of them will see it differently.
Each of us has the amazing capability to reframe our reality. It is truly one of the most powerful tools in the toolkit of Jedi mind tricks. It is available to every person, and best of all – it is on demand. We can do it whenever we choose to. Yoda was a master at reframing and perspective taking, and he frequently did so with questions.
Think back to your most recent team meeting. I’m sure you can identify those whose perspective is glass half full, and those whose perspective is glass half empty. What is it that makes it one way or the other for a person? Or consider the coworker that keeps saying: “we’ve always done it that way,” but when questioned, is never quite sure why. Framing it in a different way can unlock improvements, creativity, and better results.
It’s clear from our work interactions that everyone has different perspectives on reality. Is there a common definition of reality? One facet of emotional intelligence called reality testing is described below:
Reality Testing – “being grounded” or “tuned into the situation” – means seeing things for what they really are. In business, this includes accurately sizing up the environment, resources, and future trends in order to set realistic plans/goals. It is the ability to remain objective. By keeping one’s personal biases at bay, one can make trusted and sensible decisions that others can buy into.
When we shift our perspectives, it’s great to keep this reality testing definition in mind. Can our choice of a different perspective actually create a different outcome? I largely believe the answer is yes – how about you? Many performers, athletes, and even medical patients have found that when they act “as if” something is real or achieved, they increase their chances of achieving it.
There is proof that this actually happens. What a powerful example of this Jedi mind trick! Of course, this is where reality testing comes in handy. I can’t wish that $1 million will be deposited in my bank account overnight, believe it will happen, and see the evidence the next day.
These are some of my favorite reframing questions:
- What might the ideal look like for this current situation?
- What alternatives am I missing?
- What story am I telling myself about the situation that is simply not true?
- What outcome could I get if I moved my perspective five or ten degrees to the right or left?
- Who might I be able to speak with that would give me new and different perspectives?
- How can I generate more alternatives?
- What anchors me to my current perspective?
- How much do I want to see this situation change?
- If I snapped my fingers and everything was awesome, what would have changed?
The next time you have a challenge, practice these reframing questions. See which ones work the best for you. Take encouragement that you can help yourself out by seeing things differently.
How will you shift your perspective today?