Many years ago I read a book called “All I Really Need To Know I Learned From Watching Star Trek.” I was attracted to it not only because I’m a fan but also because I do agree that coincidentally, so many of life’s great lessons are encapsulated in that great TV franchise. Well, to be specific: The Original Series, The Next Generation, and Voyager — not Deep Space Nine and that horrible excuse for a reboot called Enterprise. Jury’s still out on Discovery. [Update Oct. 9, 2017: Discovery is very good] — But I digress.
The book cites many examples, including relationships, job satisfaction, management, family, peace, war, love, hate, life, death, and the overall nature of humanity — and in sometimes hilarious ways it explains how “every situation you will face in life has already been faced by the crew of the Starship Enterprise.”
Given that the book was written in the mid-90’s, I think it’s probably time for at least one addendum: While the handheld communicator was the stuff of fantasy when The Original Series aired in 1967, in many ways we’ve far surpassed the capabilities of Starfleet’s standard issue. One could argue that today’s iPhone is really a combination of a communicator and Spock’s tricorder, but with crummier battery life.
This got me thinking. Those devices were used in times of great need only. Need to beam up? Communicator. Check for signs of carbon-based life? Tricorder. One thing we didn’t see? Officers on the Enterprise glued to their communicators, checking social media, playing games, etc.
About a month ago I decided to apply a life lesson from Star Trek, and I deleted all except for mission-critical apps from my iPhone. No social media, no games… Pagh (that’s Klingon for “nothing”). Notifications are now from humans only, i.e. text messages & phone calls — no Twitter, no weather, no news flashes — just inbound communications from people.
I can still access the fun stuff when I’m on my laptop, but I’m not addicted to that screen and I don’t have it with me all the time. After just a few weeks I’m now far more productive, attentive, and present. It was hard to make the transition, but I highly recommend it.
If you’re like me and always looking for ways to be more productive and efficient, I’d highly recommend applying this easy lesson from Star Trek:
Want to have the time, the creativity, and the attention span to explore strange new worlds? To seek out new life and new civilizations? To boldly go where no one has gone before? For starters, ditch the non-essential apps on your phone.