Logic Clearly Dictates: Ten Lessons Every IT Pro Can Learn from Mr. Spock
It's hard to believe that it's already been a month since Leonard Nimoy embarked on his final voyage to the undiscovered country. Nimoy is best known for his iconic role in the original Star Trek series as Mr. Spock — that green-blooded, logical, half-human half-Vulcan, computer-like, mild-melding, unemotional alien that Trekkies and so many others among us came to love.
You see, long before there were space shuttles, in the days when a cloud was something that brought rain and a mouse was something your cat ate, we had Star Trek. Before there were PCs, laptops and iPhones in every house, before kindergarteners knew how to work these devices better than their grandparents (and sometimes their parents), before technology and STEM programs were cool, the technology buffs among us had Mr. Spock.
Of course, I know Nimoy was not Spock — but then again, he was Spock. Nimoy himself seemed to understand his unique connection to the character of Spock, writing a memoir controversially titled "I Am Not Spock" in 1975, before relenting 20 years later and penning the more agreeably titled follow-up volum "I Am Spock."
Perhaps the connection between Nimoy and Spock is so strong because of his personal influence in the development of the character. Nimoy was responsible for the famous Vulcan Nerve Pinch. He's also credited with the creation of the Vulcan salute, drawing on his childhood memories of the way Jewish priests held their hands when administering blessings. One of the most well-known Spock quotes — "Live long and prosper" — is a paraphrase of a blessing (Number 6:24-26) found in the Old Testament.
In the month that's gone by, I've had an opportunity to reflect on Nimoy's life, his legacy through the character of Spock, and how his influence sparked the imagination of millions, encouraged us to dream dreams, to literally reach for the stars. While relatively short-lived as a television series, the original Star Trek possessed a magic that eventually led to five other television series and 12 (so far) feature films. Many characters came and went, but perhaps none was as influential as Mr. Spock.
Star Trek may have been science fiction but it sparked a huge interest in technology leading many to ask the question "What if?" In giving life to Spock, Nimoy left us all with valuable life lessons. Here are my personal favorites, along with my own words of interpretation:
"Captain, life is not a dream." — Spock (Star Trek V: The Final Frontier)
Or in other words, life is not a dress rehearsal. Live each moment fully with passion and gusto.
"You may find that having is not so pleasing a thing as wanting. This is not logical, but it is often true." — Spock ("Amok Time," Star Trek)
Beware of your choices (both personal and professional). Make certain that you know what you want, and that the dream is yours. Envying (or living) someone else's dream may not bring the satisfaction you seek.
"The needs of the many out way the needs of the few or the one." — Spock (Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan)
Teamwork matters. Sometimes, it's not about you, your personal goals or dreams. Sometimes, it's about what is good for others — your family, the team, the company, the project.
"Fascinating." — Spock (All iterations of Star Trek)
Never stop being fascinated and amazed by life. Look for the unusual, the unexpected, the unique and you'll find it.
"Random chance seems to have operated in our favor." — Spock ("The Doomsday Machine," Star Trek)
Sometimes, skill has nothing to do with it. You just get lucky.
"I have been, and ever shall be, your friend. Live long, and prosper." — Spock (Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan)
At the end of the day, relationships matter most of all.
"It was logical to cultivate multiple options." — Spock (Star Trek [2009 film])
Never put all your eggs in one basket. Always have a backup plan and more than one path to consider.
"Change is the essential process of all existence." – Spock ("Let That Be Your Last Battlefield," Star Trek)
Change is the one constant in life. Technology changes, job change, people change. How your life is today, may not be how your life is tomorrow.
"Insufficient facts always invite danger." – Spock ("Space Seed," Star Trek)
Make certain you have the facts to back up your position.
"That is the exploration that awaits you! Not mapping stars and studying nebula, but charting the unknown possibilities of existence." — Leonard Nimoy
The most important thing that I learned from Mr. Spock is that there are always possibilities. If that is so then I wish you well on this journey into the unknown country, the country of "unknown possibilities of existence."
Leonard Nimoy — poet, musician, author, actor, photographer, father, husband, friend. Live long and prosper, Mr. Spock.