Are You a Blue Shirt Picard?

If you’ve watched Star Trek: The Next Generation much, you’ll recognize this episode. Alongside “Lower Decks,” “Tapestry” depicts the life of the low-ranking officer aboard a ship commanded by a legend.

These episodes tell an important story, and one we can all learn a thing or two from. If you spend your life following the “rules,” you’re going to find that society will be very happy to have you sit quietly in the corner and un-volunteer yourself from life. You’ll be shoved out of the way and be expected to spectate while others get their share and yours.

Consider your favorite social media site. They all want you to communicate and interact, but not too much, because that’s bad. What you’ll eventually discover is social media is specifically engineered to stop you from communicating, but that’s another article. Who is to say how much is too much? Well, if you’re selling something, how much ain’t much, that’s for sure.

How do you get a date? Well, you just walk right up to her and introduce yourself and announce you have a favorite table at her favorite restaurant. Shocking, I know, but that’s how men and women find ways to avoid eating alone on a Friday night. The rules say you can’t just ask her out. Who do you think you are? Well, you’re the guy who breaks the rules, because that’s how you get noticed.

There is one principle you can always count on. The rules are there to separate the blue shirt Picards from the starship Captains. Follow the rules and play it safe, and you get to sit at a table in Ten Forward listening to Counselor Troi “there-there” you about your wrecked life. Get stabbed through the heart by a gorilla with teeth on the outside of his mouth, and you get to command the Enterprise. The latter is most assuredly not following the rules, now is it? Which result interests you most?

If you’re in business for yourself, ask yourself this question: are you avoiding the Nausicaans, or are you prepared to start a bar fight to get what you want?

When you run into an obstacle in your pursuit of what you know you need to get to the next level, just ask yourself if the decision you’re about to make will lead you to becoming Blue Shirt Picard or Captain of the Enterprise. Then you’ll be sure to make the right choice.

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