Lesson 082: It's a Wonderful Life
TV Series: Star Trek - The Next Generation
Season/Episode: 6/15 ('Tapestry')


Capt. Picard is fatally injured. Q, an omnipotent being gives Capt. Picard a second chance at life. When Capt. Picard expresses regret for the many foolish actions of his own past and wishes he could have changed his ways when he was a youth, Q quickly grants Capt. Picard his wish.

By reliving his second chance at youth in a more reserved, non-adventurous and less risky manner, Capt. Picard ends up back in his present time, not as the Captain of the Enterprise, but as only a Lt. Junior Grade Astrophysics officer.

Capt. Picard finds that he has become a dreary man in a tedious job who is bereft of passion and imagination.

Q reminds Capt. Picard that this was the outcome of what Capt. Picard had wanted.

By being less arrogant in his youth and less undisciplined, Capt. Picard never had a brush with death, never faced his own mortality, never realized how fragile life is, or how important each moment is in life.

Without any focus, plan or agenda, Capt. Picard drifted from one assignment to the next, never seizing any opportunities that came his way. Capt. Picard had learned to play it safe in his second chance at life and ended up never getting noticed by anyone.


Move over George Bailey, it's time for Capt. Picard to say 'It's a Wonderful Life.'

At any point in our lives, we are always the total sum of all of our past actions. Outside of those events which are beyond our control, it is only our words and deeds in the past that have shaped the condition of our lives today.

If we look back upon those incidences in our lives where we feel we could have perhaps acted wiser and avoided mistakes, then we are missing the big picture.

It is only through our mistakes that we really learn the truth about ourselves. How we act in the face of having committed errors helps us to build our character and our virtues.

Also, to shield oneself always within a comfort zone and not try anything new, just to avoid errors and mistakes, is to basically know only one kind of life – one laden with plenty of unfulfilled potentials.

It is the exposure to uncertainty, risk and the unknown which challenges us to grow beyond our existing capabilities. Whereas, the spoiled child of Royalty will be lost once outside of the castle walls, the struggling kid from the streets can survive and flourish in almost any environment.

There is nothing wrong in taking the path that is steadfast and conservative.

To be a life-long factory worker, or office clerk, or school teacher are all praise worthy life paths to follow. They are the solid foundations of any society and should never be looked upon with any regrets in hindsight.

However, for all those who choose the more risky paths to more ambitious goals, the price of success often includes taking more hazardous and, at times, even life endangering measures.

When all is said and done, you are the only one who can decide if the path chosen for you has been the right one.

If you have any doubts about your life's path, then make the changes you desire right now yourself…and not wait for a Q to come along and give you a second chance at life.

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