Star Trek Captains: Mindful Tips from Kirk, Picard and Janeway

star trek emblem

Star Trek Life Lessons for all Generations

By: John D. Moore, PhD

I have always enjoyed anything that has to do with Star Trek. Yeah, that’s right – I’m not afraid to admit I am a bigtime Trekkie. From the original series that was filmed back in the 60’s to The Next Generation to Deep Space 9 to Voyager, I’ve seriously watched them all. We’re talking about all of the Star Trek movies and cartoons too.

So ridiculous is my obsession with the franchise that I penned a piece for Psychcentral not too long ago that explored the life and times of actor Chris Pine. You know … the young version of Captain Kirk.

Star Trek Captains Inspiration

After penning the Psychcentral piece, I was inspired to look at the most popular Star Trek Captains in and identify each of their traits and characteristics in a way that might impart wisdom through the lens of mindfulness. And I need to say here that if you are a die-hard trekker, please do not feel as if I am dissing other Star Trek Captains by not mentioning all of them here. It’s just that most people know who Kirk, Janeway and Picard are, based on polling.

If you are a regular visitor to this blog, you know that I’ve written about mindful living before as a way of helping readers explore how focusing on the here and now can help with issues like irritable bowel syndrome, weight loss and muscle gain.

Star Trek Mindfulness

I’m assuming that if you are reading this post, you already know that Star Trek is as much about psychology and the human condition as it is about space travel and the future. Volumes of books have been written about this show and its impact on the American mythos. In truth, mindfulness is a natural fit for Trekkers!

So without further delay, what follows are 7 mindful tips from three Star Trek Captains. Are you ready? Let’s jump right in!

james t. kirk

Captain James T. Kirk

Kirk was in command of the Starship Enterprise (NCC-1701). His style of leadership was direct, bold and to a lesser or greater degree, raw. Like most all Federation Captains, he had the respect of his crew and fellow officers.

During the time he was captain of Enterprise, the Federation had justNC1701 enterprise kirk begun exploring space. There were no holodecks to simulate battles or to recreate stories from the past. The fastest his ship could travel during his period (a Constitution Class Starship) was Warp 5. The ship’s phasers were mediocre at best as were its photon torpedoes.

His biggest asset as captain was the relationship he cultivated with his fellow shipmates, particularly Mr. Spock and Dr. McCoy.

In many situations, Kirk had only his intuition to go by in order to get out of a jam or to keep him and his crew safe.

Mindful tips from Kirk include:

– When technology fails, listen to your gut

– Don’t give in to fear and anxiety.

– Narcissism can sometimes be a good thing.

– Friendship and loyalty should be treasured

– Be willing to take risks

jean luc picard portrait
Credit: Owl Underground

Captain Jean Luc Picard

Picard is probably the most popular of the Star Trek Captains. He led the Enterprise (NCC 1701-D) during a time in which the Federation was experiencing great change. A departure from Kirk’s bold and brash style, this captain set the example for others under his command with the guiding principles of diplomacy and tact.

Picard commanded a ship that enjoyed many new technologies. enterprise dEnterprise “D” was a Galaxy class starship and could travel at Warp 9.8 – 9.9. There were holodecks (2), updated transporter systems and weapons.

Serving onboard were a variety of new Federation members from different species under his command. Examples include Klingons (once enemies of the UFP) and Betazoids, who are empathic. An android (Data) also helped to complete the ship’s crew.

Mindful Tips from Picard include:

– Taking a humanistic approach to leadership

– Use diplomacy to achieve various goals

– Being open to people who had empathic skills

– Focus on adventure and new things

– Use force only when necessary


Captain Kathryn Janeway

Janeway represented a new direction for the Star Trek franchise, featuring the first female captain for the Federation. Janeway was in command of the Starship Voyager (NCC 74656), an Intrepid class vessel. She brought a welcomed feminine energy, tending to her crew much like a mother might tend to her children. When necessary, she was also tough and could be protective of those her crew. In return, they were extremely loyal to her.

Janeway’s ship had many of the same technologies as Picard’s vessel starship voyager janewayhowever; Voyager had an Emergency Medical Hologram (EMH). The crew of Voyager was a mixture of both Federation and Maquis shipmates. This initially presented a challenge for Janeway as she had to get these two very different factions to somehow get along.

Because Captain Janeway and her crew were separated from the United Federation of Planets after being cast 70,000 light years away (see Memory Alpha), she had to use a variety of skills to keep herself and her crew safe until they returned home to Federation space.

Mindful Tips from Janeway include:

– Be open to new ideas from others

– Uphold long held principles

– Give people the chance to use their skills

– Let others help you find your spirit guide

– Trust in your skills and abilities

Final Thoughts

Star Trek has no doubt had a major impact on society. The first episode aired back in 1966 and since that time has become multi-billion dollar franchise.

There are many cultural and spiritual lessons to be learned from Star NAercTrek. In many instances, the messengers of these lessons can be found in the leaders of the various ships.

There is a fantastic book entitled, Star Trek: The Complete Unauthorized History written by Robert Greenberger that does a great job of providing background on the entire franchise, its cultural influence on society and by extension, life lessons that all of us might benefit from.

Thanks for taking the time to read this post. Please Like 2nd Story Counseling on Facebook, Circle us on Google Plus and share on Twitter! Be sure to vote in the Captain’s poll below. Live long and prosper!