Star Trek is not the encyclopedia of life. Even though it contains so many interesting ideas about leadership and management, with different styles depending on the series, that is worth knowing about.
One of the scenarios that is a reference in the Star Trek world is the Kobayashi Maru scenario, which is a “lose-lose” or “no-win” scenario. Regardless of what you do, you’re doomed. We can see this kind of scenarios in everyday life: from organisations that have a couple of conflicting objectives to pursue at all costs, pyrrhic victories or military victories that are so costly to win that are not worth-it (ring a bell?), or the kinked curve of demand for oligopolies, that can only begin competing between itselves bearing huge losses. Even the Spanish Inquisition’s confessions were like that: torture until pleaded guilty and then executed: every move made it worse.
The original Kobayashi Maru scenario was a test for Star Trek commanders. In the simulator they received a distress call: a ship had been stranded on the other side of the border. They were subsequently faced with the decision of whether or not entering into enemy zone, underpowered, to try to rescue the crew of the Kobayashi Maru.
There was no escape, the only option was not to try the rescue.
One briskly student devised a solution: cheating. Cadet Kirk did in his third attempt. Strangely enough, tweaking the simulator was considered original thinking. Probably that was only because it had not been attempted before. In time Cadet Kirk became the infamous Captain Kirk.
Sometimes, regardless of what you do, defeat is unavoidable.
Yes, I’m exagerating a little, but this has been a hell of a Kobashi Maru week. And to you all there that have Kobayashi Maru weeks once in a while, there’s still a message of hope. The Kobayashi Maru scenario had a meaning and purpose.
Because it wasn’t an intelligence or ability test. It was a character test. How do we face odds and specifically unsurmuntable odds? After all managing death is a way to learn to manage life.
Paraphrasing another Star Trek classic, Mr. Spock, “fear is the mind killer”. Sometimes the worst might simply happen, and what’s important then is how to handle the situation, how to keep your own control and integrity under adverse or inauspicious circumstances.
Making the most out of it. That’s how you learn to be better, and how to bounce back and subdue the next possibly conquerable odd. Don’t let circumstances drag you down, because you need to keep fit for the next, possibly unforseeable, challenge. And it may well be one you can cope with.