In the previous two parts of this article on positivity, I explained how positivity as a policy has improved the Expanded Universe Movement and propelled it to success, listing off several of its biggest accomplishments in the past couple years. In this final part of the positivity article, I wanted to focus more on how positivity can make each of us better contributors to the overall effort if we so choose.
Positivity, as I indicated in previous articles, affects how you approach any problem facing the movement. It also means adjusting how you compose yourself when talking to your fellow fans.
Let us address that first sentence. How to approach any problem facing the movement with a positive mindset. The best way I can think of to explain this is to provide an example.
A problem many us still struggle with is the inclusion of Expanded Universe concepts, characters, settings, events, etc. in the new Disney Canon. While I certainly can understand the discomfort and displeasure involved with that situation because I feel it too, I have begun to train myself to look past the problem and instead find an opportunity.
Take Thrawn for instance. Grand Admiral Thrawn, as many of you no doubt know, is an icon to the Star Wars Expanded Universe/Legends timeline. His inclusion in the recent Disney Timeline was seen by many Legends fans to be our bane, a way of undermining our efforts or worse a sign of Lucasfilm thinking this would placate us in our desires. Compounding this problem was that Thrawn’s creator, Mr. Timothy Zahn, returned to the franchise to write Thrawn into that canon!
Certainly, that situation could not be worse! Right now just having read that many of you likely bristled at the idea! But that sort of thinking is negative. Understandable, but negative.
How do I approach the Thrawn in Disney canon dilemma with a positive mindset? The same way I approach most problems facing the movement today. I ask this question: “How can we make this work for us?” After all, nothing we do or say will stop it. In fact we only waste time fighting it and often times create more problems when doing so. Thus we may as well find a way to use it.
Many fans are being introduced to Thrawn for the first time through his inclusion in Disney’s timeline. This comes at a time when more marketing money than ever is being thrown into the franchise. This means many people out there who do not know the Thrawn we Legends fans do are learning about a brilliant alien genius strategist for the first time from the original creator of the character and many of them are going to want to know more. Where, I ask you, can more be found? The answer is in Legends. So, while others see the movement’s bane, I see an opportunity ripe for the taking. Why not use their own marketing of a character from the Legends timeline to introduce more people to the Legends timeline? Why not use their marketing to create more Legends fans?
I guarantee you I would never have thought like that in 2014. But today, that is how I personally look at obstacles and obstructions, oddly enough not only when considering the EU Movement, but more often in my own personal and professional life as well. It is how I encourage everyone in the movement to look at things that might initially look like a problem to them. It is impressive what the mind can do when freed from negativity!
It is even more impressive to see what many minds freed of negativity can strive for successfully together!
So now let us look at that sentence “adjusting how you compose yourself when talking to your fellow fans.” This is something I personally had to pick up quickly as one of the team members at the Celebration booth in Orlando. Engaging people who may be hostile towards the movement is not easy at first. But eventually you get a bit of a rhythm down and learn a few points to hit.
First, you have to approach the situation with that positive mindset. These people are Star Wars fans! You are a Star Wars fan! Common ground! A great place to start from!
Second, recognize that no Star Wars fan dislikes the idea of more Star Wars. That is great because that is what our goal is! Now you just need to figure out how to explain that!
Use those two things to your advantage, remember that you are talking with another human being and recognize that you are trying to make another ally and often times come out with a friend as a result! (Hey, another person to talk Star Wars with is always a great thing!)
Finally, know that not everyone out there will be interested and not everyone out there will be convinced no matter what you do. Do not get overly aggressive in your attempts to represent the movement. If they show disinterest, let them go! They may come back later! There were a few cases of this in Orlando. If not, not a huge loss.
While we were at the fan table at Celebration almost all of our interactions were positive because we kept these things in mind. The ones that were not positive, well they were often were neutral “not really interested” types instead. Only one was negative.
So, what about that negative one? What do you do when you run into those? Despite our strides and advances as a movement, or perhaps because of them, we continue to be a target. Trolls, anti-EU fans, old adversaries who do not believe we are what we say we are, etc. They will likely always oppose us. The only way you can “defeat” them is by having a more appealing message and conveying that message clearly to your fellow fans and doing so politely!
If you are engaged with someone in a conversation and it appears they are just trying to rile you up, what should you do? Stop interacting with them is best. If you cannot do that and you know you are upset and might type/say something you shouldn’t, step away from the computer/mobile device for a bit before responding. If this is in person, obviously that is not an option? So, what then?
Breathe. No really. Take a few breaths and remember you cannot win over everyone! Some people just really are not worth the time and some really just want to take up all your time. Time wasted on those people is time not spent speaking with others who may be more open minded!
“Don’t like the EU, Mr. Troll? That’s okay! Everyone is entitled to their own opinion! I respect that! But remember what we want is more Disney Canon and more Legends canon! All fans can enjoy that! So really, we have no reason to continue arguing!”
Ultimately the most important things to do are stay positive, be realistic when recognizing how successful you can be finding new allies and recognize you are dealing with humans who all have the right to believe what they want to!
Keep those things in mind and you will likely prove to be a great Expanded Universe Movement ambassador.
The real question now becomes after three straight articles of this focus on positivity, have I made a point and did that point help you at all? Let me know in the comments below. Also let us know if you have any tips for your fellow fans!
The Force knows I certainly do not have all the answers. There is a reason why Twin Suns Foundation works as a team!