Can we learn about life from Star Trek’s Captain James T. Kirk?

Posted on June 30th, by Dr Rob Yeung .

You can tell that summer is here by the big blockbuster movies on at the cinema.

If you have seen either the 2009 or 2013 Star Trek movies, you will know that actor Chris Pine plays the lead of Captain James T. Kirk. He’s also playing the lead in the new Jack Ryan movie late this year opposite British star Keira Knightley.

I was interested to read an interview with him in the June issue of Esquire magazine in which he talked about his struggles to stay mindful. “The muscle I have to work on is being more present,” he said in the interview.

For him, therapy has for many years been “like going to the gym” for him.


“I like this idea of being fully realised. We have one shot in life, and we have all these potentials and capabilities, so what I’m interested in is how can you live so that by the end, you’ve truly investigated yourself and lived life to the full?”

“I’m always calculating what I want to to, who I want to be, what I want to accomplish.”

That last quote for me is particularly interesting.

So many people are caught up in the day-to-day rush of going to work, paying the bills and merely surviving. But those individuals who report the greatest satisfaction in life are those who have a broader and longer-term set of goals.

In my book E is for Exceptional, I call this skill Visioning. Having a set of goals helps most people to feel more in control of their lives. But remember that a balanced vision is about more than solely career goals. Many people also feel that other aspects of life – their health, families, friends, personal values, and having fun, for example – are equally important.

I was impressed that a Hollywood actor – especially a leading man who could easily coast in life on his good looks and fame and live a purely hedonic, thrill-filled existence – had such insight into the human condition. Perhaps all of us could do with finding some time occasionally to be more reflective.

So when was the last time you calculated what you want to do, who you want to be, and what you want to accomplish?

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