Lessons Learned From Star Trek

Never Stop Learning

“You know the greatest danger facing us is ourselves, an irrational fear of the unknown. But there’s no such thing as the unknown, only those things temporarily hidden, temporarily not understood.” – The Corbomite Maneuver

Have Advisors With Different World Views

“One of the advantages of being a Captain, Doctor, is being able to ask for advice without necessarily having to take it.” – Dagger of the Mind

Be Part of the Away Team

“Risk is our business. That’s what a starship is all about.” – Return to Tomorrow

Play Poker, Not Chess

“Not chess, Mister Spock; Poker. Do you know the game?” – The Corbomite Maneuver

Chess is a game of both logic and strategy. As such, it is limited in its scope by strictly defined rules that can be determined mathematically. Like Poker on the other hand, Life is more about probabilities rather than predefined rules. Understanding those around you in this arena can be more of a benefit than the cards you hold.

Blow Up the Enterprise

“ ‘All I ask for is a tall ship and a star to steer her by’… You could feel the wind at your back in those days. The sound of the sea beneath you, and even if you take away the wind and the water, it’s still the same: The ship is yours. You can feel her, and the stars are still there too.” – The Ultimate Computer

Be passionate and true to those things in your life that you are passionate about at all times and without fail. But always keep in mind that irrespective of love and passion, that change is a part of reality as well. Times change, different things, devices, and methods evolve; they grow and eventually supplant those things of the past, no matter how much we may wish them not to.

There will come a time or times in your life where it no longer makes any sense to continue pursuing a passion whose time has come and gone. When that happens, and no matter how painful it may be, you need to let it go. Change what no longer works, and embark on a new path, on a new voyage.

Part 2 – Be A Good Captain

Like any good political or military leader, a good role model – be they parent, teacher, guardian, etc – depends upon a high level of intellectualism coupled with equally high mental and emotional stability. Be you parent, teacher, or starship commander, to be a success means that you emulate the acts of your predecessors, which brought them success while at the same time avoiding those things that brought them defeat.

The “best of the best” must truly be a breed apart, being more distinctive than their contemporaries. However having said that, when such a person “goes off the rails,” he or she tends to do so in a spectacular fashion. For every heart and mind has its own weaknesses and conflicting loyalties can destroy a person faster than almost anything else.

The emotion of Fear can be the deadliest. Fear of a potential consequence can be more debilitating than the consequence itself, particularly if allowed to continue unabated. Yet it can be mastered and eventually overcome

Resistance Is Futile

The cybernetic monstrosities from the Star Trek Universe known as the Borg are a relentless force, a semi-mechanical alliance formed from differing species throughout the galaxy, bound under the singular iron will of the Collective. Their battle cry is “resistance is futile.”

Many truly believe – without any actual facts to back it up – that direct resistance to fear is how the emotion is overcome. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Resistance in this context makes the implication that there is something present that needs to be resisted constantly with every passing moment. This erroneous belief will be your undoing, leaving you at the mercy of your pain. To truly master pain, it must not be resisted. Instead, it must be embraced and included, and accept it fully. Once accomplished, the pain vanishes as it has finally lost its control over you.

However, many don’t do this, and by many, I mean men…


“Macho, Macho Man. I Want To Be A Macho Man”


“Macho: Ma-Cho; adjective defined as: (1) – having or characterized as having those qualities considered “manly” or masculine, especially when expressed in an assertive,  self-conscious, or dominating manner. (2) – Having a strong or exaggerated sense of power especially when used to intimidate or dominate others.”


Many men want to be seen as being masculine in that they are hard workers, good providers and positive role models for other. However, their excessively favorable opinions of their own abilities usually taints these otherwise positive characteristics with something that is much darker and unpleasant. I define it as Macho Conceit.

Macho conceit is best defined as “macho” above but is further expanded to also include when a man confuses “acting” and “talking” tough for genuine courage. They run away from their emotions because they are too insecure or otherwise scared to deal with them. Out of an almost desperate need to be seen as masculine, dominate, they become stoic and uncommunicative, holding in their true feelings out of vestigial childishness, and blaming others for those problems that arise out of our own poor decisions because they have acted on impulse without stopping to properly consider the consequences. They invest more time in hobbies and spend more time on the Internet or television, alcohol, drugs, rather than investing time and genuine effort in our families, friends, and relationships. They have expectations make demands from their significant others, and children, demanding that they be as perfect as they wished they had been. Or in some cases, they spend their time and resources acquiring those things they erroneously believe that will make them “happy,” based solely on the notion that the things that they acquire will be of value to them because they have it and no one else does. While their personal happiness is not uniquely dependent upon those they see as their “friends” miserable and alone, they would be lying to themselves and others if they claimed that it wasn’t at least, a perk. Perhaps worse, they don’t ask for understanding and forgiveness when they know we’ve been wrong except as a way of mollifying or pacifying in the short-term those they have offended.

The Tool Man

On the whole, men generally like to prize themselves on being clever, inventive, and resourceful. We convince ourselves through foolish and undeserved pride that we can fix anything. The reality is that short of a leaky tap, burnt-out light bulb, or faulty device, we are woefully ill-equipped to fix anything else in our lives.

Many men have a false notion that their significant other is just a nice accessory to their lives and struggle with accepting the reality that spouses (either in law or in fact) are actually integral components that comprise men as beings.

Some men go for the “fixer-upper” kind of partner. This choice is seen as a safe alternative because if the partner in question is not a “fixer-upper”, then she (or he) will have healthy, grown-up expectations that some men do not ever wish to deal with for a plethora of stupid and/or immature reasons. Because of this, some men cling to the “fixer-upper” out of fear and their own insecurities. As a result, they seldom – if ever – get the kind of mature nurturing and loving we all need.

Most men like to think that they’re some combination of Tarzan, Captain Kirk, and Superman. What they fail to recognize is that sometimes, Tarzan fell out of the tree; Captain Kirk got his butt kicked, and Superman had kryptonite. Out of a sense of misplaced independence and/or ambition, men hide in excesses of pornography, Internet, television, alcohol, gambling, drugs, and so forth. This suggests that we are unable to properly connect and comfortably accept with a sense of true pride that we are important to society, and to our loved ones as husband/father/friend/son, and instead bow to “false gods” and “graven images” of money, possessions, and status. Thanks to this stupid behavior, we act as though marriage and commitment is like an honorable discharge or retirement from continuing the loving romance, believing that our “spouse-parent” will just take care of everything.

However, a journey of a thousand miles begins with but a single step. Recognizing, accepting, and modifying one’s behaviors to realize that there is a real difference between being a male and being a man is that first step.

Step 1

Intentional or not, doing the above is the surest step to wrecking a relationship. Even if you don’t intend any disrespect, your actions speak louder than your words. Beware that your actions don’t make you a liar.

Step 2

“You know that pain and guilt can’t be taken away with the wave of a magic wand. They’re the things we carry with us, the things that make us who we are. If we lose them, we lose ourselves!” – Captain Kirk, Star Trek V The Final Frontier.


Keep your past where it belongs: In the past. Nothing good will seldom arise from you bringing it back to the present. It’s gone, so focus on the present and stop marinating in all your past hurts and failures. Deal with the present as it happens, not what you think might happen or what has already happened, and always try to resist the impulse to compare the present with the past.

Step 3

Remember that you are not a bystander in your own life. Irrespective of past hurts and pains, you still have control over what you do and how you act now.

Step 4

Beware the Path of Least Resistance. Water follows this path but often has great obstacles to overcome as well as great potential falls.

Step 5

Just because there is an empty space in your life, don’t fill it with anything that happens to come along and seems to fit or otherwise fill a need. This may well be an inappropriate fit. For example, that would be as having an old couch removed from your living room and shoving a washer and dryer into that space for no better reason than because they fit. If you did this, would you expect that others would see this as a reasonable act? Of course not.


Step 6

Self esteem, get some. Many people do what they do because they claim that they don’t have any or little self-esteem. So, how do you get it? Self-esteem comes from having self-respect and how do you get that? You earn it. Remember that nothing good comes easily or without genuine effort and sacrifice. You gain self-respect by doing those things that are respectful in the eyes of others particularly when you don’t want to and especially when you have nothing to gain. If you do good first, you will have a legitimate reason to feel good about yourself.

Step 7

Don’t take everything too personally. Teasing is one of those social interactions that is next to impossible to avoid. While it’s true that there sometimes is a few grains of truth in those jabs, as Freud said, “sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.” Try not to take it too personally, otherwise folks will tend to avoid you.

Step 8

Deserve victory. Whenever something good in your life happens to you, don’t question it, but accept it, that you deserved it. Accept it without modesty or pride or in an egotistical fashion. Just accept it. Having said that however…

Step 9

Always remember that no human condition is ever truly permanent. Therefore do not be too overjoyed in times of good fortune, or too sorrowful in times of misfortune.

Step 10

“I swear to you, we’re not finished yet.” – Admiral James Kirk, Star Trek III The Search for Spock

Blow up the ship. In Star Trek III the Search for Spock, Admiral Kirk destroyed the starship Enterprise. He did this because a greater need was to be served. He had loved that ship and had made great sacrifices both personally and professionally for it, but he learned to let it go when the time came.

With this in mind, always be aware of those things in your life that no longer serve a useful purpose. There will always be times in your life that no matter how strongly you feel, no matter how passionate those feelings may be, there always comes a time when you have to let them go because they no longer fulfill their original purpose, and hanging on to them only serves to diminish you and decrease the quality of your life.

Step 11

Focus on those positive aspects of your life and always remember that with limited exceptions, there is usually someone out there who has it worse than you. Remember that this is one of those times where you have a choice as to how you react. You can choose to focus on the negative aspects of your life, or you can choose to focus on the positive aspects of your life.

Step 12

“A man either meets Life head on and licks it, or he turns his back on it and begins to wither away.” – The Cage

Remember all of these things and consider nothing greater than this: Nature of Existence cares not if you like it or not, but it makes but one demand. Accept Life as it happens to you and live it fully.

To Sum Up…


Keep exploring and keep learning. Never make the mistake of believing that you’ve seen it all and done it all. Remember that while your true friends won’t deliberately try to steer you wrong, keep in mind that not all advice is worth listening to much less following.

“Seek out McCoy, ask his advice, and if you find it sound, take it.” – The Tholian Web

Encourage creativity and innovation by listening to those who may have vastly opposing points of view and opinions on the same subject.

Become a “hands-on” kind of person. Work directly with others, on the “front lines,” as it were, especially when you don’t have to. In this way, you may well earn their trust and respect.

Understand the mentality of others, and learn to change your course – even radically – when circumstances dictate.

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