Jedi Training to Develop Conflict Resolution Strategies

How to develop conflict resolution strategies from Jedi master Obi-Wan Ben Kenobi

So, I am one of those cheesy people that draws meaning from the original classic sci-fi Star Wars trilogy. I know it is mostly over-simplified messages packaged with light sabers, cool characters, mystical forces, and huge spaceships. But what can I tell you? I love it.

Why am I telling you this? To set the stage for one of my favorite movie lines. A line that I think has profound relevance to most conflicts in relationships that I see time and time again in mediation.

Star Wars & Conflict Resolution Strategies?

Remember in Return of the Jedi when Luke confronted Obi-Won for lying to him about his father’s true identity? Luke was furious – even betrayed – by Obi-Won’s omission.  Obi-Won did not get defensive. He did not make excuses. He simply, and wisely, told him, Luke, you will find that many of the truths we cling to depend greatly on our own point of view.”

Wow! The truths we cling to depend greatly on our own point of view. Isn’t that so true? Especially when it comes to the difficulties we have resolving conflict?

In other words, the storylines we play in our heads shape our interpretation of events and experiences. In a recent post I shared a story of a wife who made false assumptions about her husband due to her point of view. The truth she clung to made resolving conflict with her soon-to-be ex very difficult.

Obi-Won is implying that if Luke had opened his eyes to view things from alternative perspectives – or perhaps embrace the force more fully – he may have figured out the truth about his father earlier.

Jedi Tricks Are Great Conflict Resolution Strategies

Resolving relationship conflicts are always easier when multiple points of view are taken in to consideration. It can be hard for sure (after all, Luke struggled and he was Jedi in training!), but some strategies can be helpful:

  • Clear your mind and step outside of yourself to reflect on the situation as a spectator (click here to read a post about how to do this)
  • Remind yourself to keep an open mind
  • Remind yourself that you don’t know everything
  • Listen to what other people have to say before jumping to conclusions
  • Remain patient and take time to think things through
  • Take deep breathes

What other Jedi mind tricks have you used to keep an open mind to alternative points of view?

I would love to hear from you – please comment below!

 

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About the Author ()

I help families resolve conflict through family mediation and divorce mediation in Massachusetts. My services include mediation for co-parenting disputes, marriage problems, separation and divorce, parents and teenagers, and family conflicts. The goal of my mediator's blog is to help teach or remind readers of helpful communication and conflict resolution techniques that can be used in their relationships. I live in Natick, MA with my wife, son and dog and mediate throughout the Metrowest Boston region.

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Comments (4)

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  1. Andrew Stich says:

    Playing the devil’s advocate sometimes works. It allows you to play out multiple sides of a given situation.

    • Ben Stich says:

      Good point! The challenge I see for lots of people is that they can often play devil’s advocate with other people’s ideas and decisions but it is much more difficult to do it for themselves. As always, thanks for contributing!

  2. Nice to see someone like-minded in the field. Here’s a piece I wrote on this a few years ago about applying these ideas to mediation. http://www.mediate.com/articles/hayesS2.cfm

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