The Kobayashi Maru

For non Star Trek fans the title of this post has likely raised a WTF? reaction. The Kobayashi Maru is a training simulation which cannot be won. It is designed to test how a person reacts in the face of such adversity. In Star Trek canon James Kirk “cheats” by reprogramming the test refusing to accept that it cannot be beaten. Kirk didn’t like the odds so he did what he could to even them.

So what’s my point?

Everyday is the Kobayashi Maru Test.

As I get older I realise that each day decisions are made that are irreversible, one insignificant event can have far reaching consequences in  the sense of both time and magnitude. Alongside this revelation is also the clarity to understand that like the Kobayashi Mari, there are some situations that I just cannot win.

Now, Kirk reprogramming the simulation is an over simplification of the issue because he changes the program so that he could win based on what the program considered a victory .  The real trick is to “reprogram” your win conditions, your expectations and to consider what you would consider a win in the situation that you are facing. Someone once called adulthood “a series of compromises until you die”, I think I prefer my “reprogram” your win conditions to bring you happiness is a slightly more cheerful way of looking at it.

The irreversible nature of a decision further adds to the complication of the Kobayashi Maru but plays into the above of defining your victory parameters.

As time goes on I’ve noticed that I can tell which people have encountered their own “unwinnable” situation. They’ve experienced a true taste of defeat and it shows in how they react to situtations. I’m not trying to dumb down a problem that you might be having in your life but what I am saying is that your “Kobayashi Maru” moments  tend to put other problems into perspective. The danger is that sometimes people, myself included, can be a little dismissive of problems to people that havent faced the unwinnable. It’s still a problem to them, they just don’t have the scale to give it perspective.

Author: Jon

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