Here's a little trick you can use to amaze your family and friends. Before we start, you need to know three things:

1. This is not a prank on you.
2. I don't know why it works.
3. It has worked every time I have tried.

The setup happens when someone in your life asks you to open a stubborn jar. Ideally, that person has already tried several furious approaches to the jar and failed. He or she tries to hand you the jar for assistance. Here's what you do.

Wave off the jar that has been offered and make sure you don't ever touch it.

Now say the following:

"You can open that jar easily with a trick I learned. Want to try?"

Most people will say yes.

"Okay, put your hands on the jar as if you are about to twist open the top and close your eyes. For ten seconds imagine all of the power and energy of your body flowing down to your hand that is about to open the jar. When you can imagine all of your strength and energy in your jar-opening hand, give the lid a sudden, confident twist and it will come off as if it had never been hard in the first place."

Wait for the subject to concentrate for 10 seconds, then say, "Now give it a quick twist and open it."

The lid will come off as if it had never been seriously stuck in the first place. Your subject's eyes will be like saucers. It's a fun moment because it will feel as if something magic just happened.

I've been doing this trick for years. As I mentioned, I have no idea why it works, unless one can actually move energy around to different body parts. But I have never seen any scientific support for that hypothesis.

You'll want to try this trick on your own jars a few times before you talk someone else into trying it. Let me know how this trick works for you.

You might wonder how I discovered this phenomenon.

Well, I have the optimist's curse. I have to confess that over the course of my entire life - or at least since reading my first Spiderman comic - I have periodically tested to see if I have an latent superpowers. For example, I like to see if I can levitate objects at a distance using nothing but my mind. That hasn't worked yet. And I have tried to predict or influence the next play in sporting events but that hasn't yielded any results. And I have tried to stand on a scale and will my weight to instantly decrease just to see if I have the start of flying powers. So far, no luck.

One day in my optimistic past I tried moving my entire body energy into my jar-opening hand to see if that was a thing. The jar lid popped off as if it had barely been attached. The first few times I tried this method on various jars it seemed as if perhaps the jar had not been so hard to open in the first place. But after I extended the trick to include other people who had already tried and failed to open stubborn jars, I started to wonder why it works.

I still have no idea. Do you?

Scott Adams

Co-founder of CalendarTree.com

Author of a book that is changing a lot of lives, or so I am told.


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Jun 11, 2014
Here's a hack: if you can't open the jar because your grip is slipping, cover the jar, lid, whatever is slipping, in saran wrap.
This helps with almost any kind of lid.
Jun 11, 2014
I happen to have a jar that I gave up opening yesterday. I tried this trick twice and haven't had success, although I really wanted to. Perhaps I am too tired to focus enough to make it work. I also tried hitting the bottom of the jar as per someone else's suggestion. Pretty disappointed as I really wanted that jar open!
Jun 10, 2014
My wife just brought me a jar of relish, and I (paraphrasing) gave the speech. I wouldn't say it was "as if it had barely been attached", but she was able to open the jar with much less effort than she anticipated.

This is my only attempt so far, but anecdotally, it is successful 100% of the time.
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Jun 10, 2014
My escalation of jar opening procedures-
Firm grip, open jar.
Concentrate on twisting lid, not squeezing lid, lots of force, open jar.
Use dish towel for better grip/leverage, open jar.
Tap around edge of lid with knife handle or edge of counter, open jar.
Hot water on jar lid, open jar.
Sometimes these get combined.
However getting someone to open their own jar seems more efficient, I'll have to try it.
Jun 10, 2014
Here's my explanation. I don't know if it makes any physical sense.

I think that the person failing at opening the jar actually succeeded for 80-90%, it just needs that final "push". The next person trying it is not starting from scratch, it is benefiting from the pre-work.

Why I think this is true? Because even without your 10-second concentration trick, this phenomenon will almost always work, even with people not necessarily stronger than the first person.
Jun 10, 2014
I wise man once said:

"Try not. Do, or do not. There is no try."
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Jun 10, 2014
Almost like Spiderman but your costume is see through.
+3 Rank Up Rank Down
Jun 10, 2014
The answer is easy. You do have psychic powers. I dub thee Jar Man. Bump-bee-de-da.
+4 Rank Up Rank Down
Jun 10, 2014
What Judoka735 says is exactly correct....this from a martial artist. Muscles come in opposing pairs like biceps and triceps. When most people overly strain they start tensing both sets of muscles and defeat themselves. When they learn to consciously relax, they make the counterproductive muscle stay relaxed, and it seems like they have gained strength. There is a karate kata that teaches this called San Chin.

Scott, this is similar to hypnosis tricks which you should be familiar with. I once watched a hypnotist on a stage ask 15 students under the spell sitting in chairs to straighten their knees, and asked the students in the audience to do the same. Then keep their legs out straight as long as they could. The students in the audience manged maybe a minute or two. The students on the stage lasted 45 minutes, put their legs down and their muscles were not even strained or sore.
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Jun 10, 2014
I have another version of this trick that works well. Slap the bottom of the jar a few times with your open palm, not too hard. No need to break the glass. Then the lid will open very easily. I have taught this this trick to anyone who ever asked me to open a jar.

It works because most glass jars have an additional glue seal keeping the lid on tight. Look closely at the inside of the lid after you open a jar and you will notice it. Hitting the bottom of the jar separates the lid and jar glue bond. My guess is that the holding of the lid for ten seconds may heat the glue seal and loosen it some. I will have to try this tonight.

Jun 10, 2014
I think the trick is, your hand warm up the lid enough to loosen it (just like putting the lid under hot water for 10 seconds). Also, since you are thinking it might work, you will try just a little harder.
Jun 10, 2014
Jedi mind trick. The jar isn't opened, they only think it is.
Jun 10, 2014
Wholly crap. This just worked with my 9 year old daughter who came to me to open a jar this morning.
+13 Rank Up Rank Down
Jun 10, 2014
Obviously, when one empty’s the mind and concentrates on the jar you connect with the inner spirit of Mother Earth which sends a message of love to the Jar and makes it positively want to open.
Jun 10, 2014
I doubt it is placebo, and it would be difficult to look at different possibilities given the basic description, but the main issue with jars is that the inside is at a lower pressure than outside, which is like a large weight pressing on the top. By holding the top maybe the top gets warmed up and increases the pressure on the inside.
Jun 10, 2014
It's called "placebo".

It works in sports, too. If you give athletes a special magic pill before an event they usually perform better.

The fun part is that they'll perform better even if they know it's just sugar.

The reality is that everybody has a bit more to give than they think they do. You just have to get it out of them.

PS: And if it doesn't work: Whack the corner of the jar against a hard surface. That will dislodge it.
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Jun 10, 2014
This thread contains too many unsubstantiated anecdotes regarding this supposed phenomenon, too much likelihood of confirmation bias, no precise descriptions of the conditions in which it was observed, and no standardized testing. I'll believe the phenomenon amounts to more than wishful thinking if/when there is some experimental evidence for it.
Jun 9, 2014
I have successfully predicted the future of a sporting event 2 times as a coach:
1) I instructed one player to keep her hands up when the QB was throwing to get the ball and it worked (not really predicting the future, just playing the odds with a QB with an alligator arm throwing motion)

2) I instructed another player that when she was standing there in the end zone that all she needed to do was stay planted and reach up and grab the ball above the crowd. Next play the head coach called a pass to her, and she stood there in the end zone and reached up and caught the ball. I didn't know if she was even going to get a chance to go in with the ball being thrown to her so I count that as predicting the future.

Occasionally I can do it with professional sports teams. (I used to predict a Brett Favre interception at crucial moments in key games, but that too was playing the odds.)
Jun 9, 2014
Judoka is spot on. This is a cool arm-bending trick on the same principle: http://www.bodymindandmodem.com/CoolKi/Unbend.html
Jun 9, 2014
Old joke: Elderly man gets up in the middle of the night. He returns and wakes up his wife, telling her that God heard his prayer and turned the bathroom light on for him.

"You peed in the refrigerator, stupid!"
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