5 Ways 'Star Trek' Philosophy Can Enrich Your Life (Gallery)

Star Trek Philosophy


"Star Trek" shows a vision of the future that we can certainly get behind. It's a universe where many can choose their own paths, sometimes as they literally colonize new worlds. For the most part, people of many cultures work peacefully together (except for those pesky Klingons and later on, the Romulans... and Borg).

1) Embrace Minimalism


On Reddit, there was some discussion as to which crew was more minimalistic — Kirk's or Picard's. Some pointed out that NCC 1701 (Kirk's ship) was more minimalist because the crew had no families and few possessions or luxuries on board. Others said that NCC-1701-D (Picard's) is more artfully minimalistic, because they had carefully chosen decorations.

Whatever your definition of minimalism, it's the basics that matter: buy and keep only what you deem necessary. By being careful of your purchases, you have more money to set aside for retirement for each paycheck. And as we all know, the more money you save, the more likely it is you can quit the rat race early.

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Image: Captain Kirk (William Shatner) on the bridge of the Enterprise in "The Original Series."

2) Work Really Hard


Neither Kirk's nor Picard's crews shied from putting in extra time to get a mission done, whether it involved saving an extraterrestrial civilization or doing an away mission to help a crew member. Through brutal overtime, Kirk worked his way up from captain to admiral and found himself retired from commanding a ship by "Star Trek: Generations." (He regretted the decision for many reasons, but he did get to retirement a bit earlier than his body needed it.)

There's a lesson to be learned from Kirk's experience: don't be afraid to work hard. But by the same token, don't forget about the importance of family and friends along the way. After all, if you manage to get out of working for a living early, you're going to need people to fill up your spare time instead of busybody work errands!

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Image: Captain Jean Luc Picard (Patrick Stewart) in the Star Trek movie "Generations."

3) Take Advantage of Company Benefits


If you love travel, as Kirk and Picard seemed to (for the most part), then they were definitely in the right job as they got to zoom their starships practically anywhere. Well, not the Neutral Zone — kind of a bad idea — but you get the idea. Mind you, there were some episodes that they went a little too far in enjoying the benefits, such as "Shore Leave" in ToS.

Here's the point, though: if you use your company benefits strategically, you could get a boost towards retirement. Contribute to your pension plans. Take advantage of employee discounts and travel perks and the on-site gym. See if there's a way that the company can help you do what you want to, but at a cheaper price. Then bank the difference for your retirement!

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Image: Captain Kirk takes some time out of his busy starship command duties at the start of "The Final Frontier" to climb El Capitan, a pastime that Spock (Leonard Nimoy) has a hard time understanding (watch the clip here).

4) Entrepreneurship


There is no money in TNG (as Picard tells us in Star Trek: First Contact). And people tend to work for their own benefit instead of to satisfy investors and make millions. That said, however, both Kirk's and Picard's crews show loads of entrepreneurial/creative thinking that help further their missions. Whether it's distracting a nasty computer in ToS by calculating pi, or stopping another computer system from annihilating the TNG crew, the humans show they're smart stuff. Even smarter than artificial intelligence at times.

So as long as your day job is okay with it, don't be afraid of starting a side business. Even a couple hundred dollars a month can boost your retirement savings, giving you an extra year or two of relaxation at the least. That's certainly worth a side hustle for a few hours every week, don't you think?

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Image: Luckily for the crew of the Enterprise (and the future of mankind), Captain Picard was able to lead a victory against the dreaded Borg in "Generations."

5) Own Up to Career-Busting Mistakes


This is most aptly demonstrated in a few of the ToS Star Trek movies, where Spock dies (then is alive, but that's a long story) and Kirk's crew takes it upon themselves to rescue him. They break protocol and generally do stuff unbefitting of Starfleet officers (in some eyes) to rescue their friend. But they do the deed and face a trial -- at which point, in part thanks to them saving Earth with whales along the way, they're allowed to continue their work with minor penalties.

But if Kirk's crew had run from the trial, you can be sure their punishment would have been harsh. So here's what you got to do -- if you make a mistake at work, even if it's a big one, admit it. Learn from it. Show that you can do better. You may lose a position in the process, but if you explain to future employers what you learned from it, it likely won't spell the end of your career.

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Image: Spock and Kirk try to blend in in 1990's San Francisco while trying to find a pair of whales in "The Voyage Home."

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Elizabeth Howell
Staff Writer, Spaceflight

Elizabeth Howell (she/her), Ph.D., is a staff writer in the spaceflight channel since 2022 covering diversity, education and gaming as well. She was contributing writer for Space.com for 10 years before joining full-time. Elizabeth's reporting includes multiple exclusives with the White House and Office of the Vice-President of the United States, an exclusive conversation with aspiring space tourist (and NSYNC bassist) Lance Bass, speaking several times with the International Space Station, witnessing five human spaceflight launches on two continents, flying parabolic, working inside a spacesuit, and participating in a simulated Mars mission. Her latest book, "Why Am I Taller?", is co-written with astronaut Dave Williams. Elizabeth holds a Ph.D. and M.Sc. in Space Studies from the University of North Dakota, a Bachelor of Journalism from Canada's Carleton University and a Bachelor of History from Canada's Athabasca University. Elizabeth is also a post-secondary instructor in communications and science at several institutions since 2015; her experience includes developing and teaching an astronomy course at Canada's Algonquin College (with Indigenous content as well) to more than 1,000 students since 2020. Elizabeth first got interested in space after watching the movie Apollo 13 in 1996, and still wants to be an astronaut someday. Mastodon: https://qoto.org/@howellspace