If you are like me, a sci-fi geek with a television in the 20th century, you probably also suffer from NIIS: Nothing Is Impossible Syndrome. It’s not our fault, it it the hoard of incredible science fiction shows that had amazing leaders that couldn’t lose. Whether it was Jack O’niel and SG-1 or Spiderman and his amazing friends, we were flooded with leaders and teams who were truly heroes. None of this flawed, troubled hero crap of the 21st century. While television of yesteryear was full of great leaders, there was no greater leader than Captain Jean-Luc Picard and his leadership of the crew of the NCC-1701-D Enterprise.
Picard had it all (except for hair): strength, charisma, intelligence, a British accent. No matter what predicament he was put in, he always knew how to act, what decisions to make, and what to say that would motivate his crew to rise above any dilemma.
In short: Captain Picard knew how to get shit done and live an awesome life.
He gave me such a great role model in my early years. He made me realize that you can always do more, act faster, and be better than you think you can… You just need an inspirational speech and a bald headed smirk.
So without further ado, I bring you Jean-Luc Picard’s six steps to living life to the fullest… Make it so!
1. Know no limits
Picard: Data, find a way to defeat that shield.
Data: That may be impossible, sir.
Picard: Data, things are only impossible until they’re not.
Picard was never afraid to push his limits, the ships limits, or the limits of his crew. He constantly raised the bar because he knew his crew could manage. You should do the same with your life.
For the longest time, I never thought I would be a runner. Why? I tried it and it was hard. Half a mile sucked the life out of me. A mile was impossible. So I thought running would never be for me… But one day I decided to suck it up, and start running. 100′s of miles later, I’m now training for a half marathon, which will lead to a full marathon, which will lead to something else. If I never pushed my limits, I would still be 250 and out of breath when I climb a flight of stairs.
Picard would never approve of that.
2. Do it better and faster, your life depends on it
“I think it’s time to try some unsafe velocities.”
When Geordi needed 10 minutes to repair a warp conduit, Picard gave him 5. Picard knew Geordi could do it if he pushed himself.
Just like you need to believe there is nothing you can’t do, you also need to realize that you can always improve on the things you can already do.
Take some time to measure your abilities and constantly try to break your old records. Everyday might not be a new personal best, but why not use the bar you set for yourself as motivation for the next day. How many times can you keep raising the bar? And while your life may not really depend on doing things better and faster, why not pretend that it does and crush it every day.
Next time you feel like doing something half assed or not at all, just think of an upset Jean-Luc.
3. Don’t waste time being someone you’re not
“If we’re going to be damned, let’s be damned for what we really are.”
One of the biggest problems people have with making progress in life is that they are to busy living up to other people’s standards to move forward in their own life. You can spend all of your time trying to accomplish the goals and live up to the expectation of others. It’s only later that you realize you never got anything done for yourself. If you pretend to be someone you’re not or bend to the will of others, you will always hit a wall.
Figure out what you really want to get done, and do it the way you want it to be done. If you are true to yourself and believe in what you are doing, you will keep doing incredible things.
4. Act now
Seize the time… Live now. Make now always the most precious time. Now will never come again.
Picard knew what his mission was: to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilizations, to boldly go where no man has gone before. He knew he couldn’t sit around to do that. He had to get out there and do it (though, ironically he did do a lot of sitting once he got out there).
When you have an urge to start a new project or a new subject grabs your attention, do something about it. Try that new exercise. Read that new book. Learn that new programming language. It’s our mission as humans to better ourselves, and you can only do that by action. No more “tomorrow” or “maybe someday” when you can do it right now.
Lay in a course and engage.
5. Live desperately
Unnamed Officer (Fencing with Picard): Interesting move. What technique was that?
Jean-Luc Picard: The technique of a desperate man.
We live in an awesome world full of hope and promise. The problem with living a good and prosperous life is we sometimes get lethargic and forget what we are capable of. When Picard and his crew were put under pressure – life or death pressure – they pulled out some spectacular miracles (failure would have hurt the ratings).
When was the last time you really lived desperately? It’s always good to think about what your actions would be if you truly had to live like your life depended on it.
Try challenging yourself:
- Run as if you were being chased by zombies (It might happen!)
- Climb a wall and pull off some parkour skills like it’s the only way to save yourself from an crazed pack of wolves.
- Work on a passion project as if your entire career depended on it
Sometimes it takes something seemingly bad to allow you to rise to your full potential. Instead of waiting for that to happen, take some risks and see if you can force it to happen.
6. Remember what’s important in life
In life, we often get tunnel-vision on whatever we are doing at the moment. When I’m in the middle of a big work project, I often forget about my fitness and neglect my precious family time. When I’m focused on fitness, I often spend more time working out and browsing fitness blogs that working on passion projects or taking time to just rest. When your the captain of the flagship of the federation, it’s easy to get caught up in saving the human race, but remember that Picard’s final regret in the series was that he didn’t spend enough time with his friends… his family.
When was the last time you called your mom/dad/brother/sister/son/daughter/heterosexual-life-mate and told them you loved them? When was the last time you went and had lunch with a good friend? Don’t ignore the things that make you happiest deep down in your soul. You may forget from time to time, but remind yourself to do these things daily, weekly, monthly… whenever you feel yourself getting disconnected. These personal relationships are what living is all about, so get living!
Also, remember to smile!
Captain’s Log: Supplemental
I’ll finish up with some awesome Picard pictures and some other great Picard quotes (not at all related to the pictures)
What we leave behind is not as important as how we have lived
Captain Jean-Luc Picard: The economics of the future is somewhat different. You see, money doesn’t exist in the 24th century.
Lily Sloane: No money? You mean, you don’t get paid?
Captain Jean-Luc Picard: We work to better ourselves.
Doctor Beverly Crusher: Personally, I think you just enjoy waking everybody up in the middle of the night.
Capt. Picard: Actually, I really like running around the ship in my bare feet.
Capt. Picard: Wishing for a thing does not make it so.
Capt. Picard: Don’t try so hard to be human. Just be yourself.
What is your favorite life lesson you leaned from Star Trek: TNG?
What is your favorite Picard moment?
Is it really possible to repair a warp conduit in 5 minutes?
Let me know in the comments!