Many of us were saddened this week at the passing of Leonard Nimoy, an icon (if not the icon) of the Star Trek universe. I guess you could say I’m a trekkie, minus the spock ears. Okay, I did own a pair when I was a kid, but I never wore them in public. Does that still count?
As I explored the many highlights of Mr. Nimoy’s life, I asked myself, “What can I learn from Nimoy’s most notable character?”
Even if you don’t have pointy ears, I believe you may become a Spock fan after this. Here are three virtues even non-trekkies can learn from Spock. And if you’re already a fan? These will come as no surprise.
1. Spock embodied wisdom
Spock must have read a lot. I mean a lot. He was always quoting old Vulcan proverbs. He frequently recited Starfleet regulations verbatim keeping his peers in check. He understood many languages and cultures, thus making him a superb communicator. And he could cut right through our sometimes flawed human emotions, speaking words that refocused everyone back on the mission. “Readers are leaders” comes to mind.
What are you reading today? Do you read at all? Take an afternoon to get lost in a book. You might be surprised at how your time orbiting a good story will come into practice at the next horizon. It may even help someone.
2. Spock listened to reason
Contrary to what most non-trekkies would believe, Spock was not all black and white, ones and zeroes, offs and ons. He was not all logic.
Spock was blessed with both strong analytical skills from his Vulcan father and an ability to tap into emotions passed down from his human mother. Why does this matter? Despite his tendency to write off every problem as an equation that must be calculated to perfection, he listened to reason. Rounding out that perspective usually came in the form of his Captain and friend, James T. Kirk (played by William Shatner).
Although most of the time he needed some coercing from Kirk, Spock was open to the reality that life is not always black and white. Love is not reduced to a pallid fifty shades of gray. There is room for margin in the spectrum—and error—which equates to more color, and the ability to grow.
We may not be faced with the challenge of saving a starship, let alone an entire planet, but life is fuller when we listen to what others have to say, even if we disagree.
3. Spock saw the big picture
Four words defined not only the character of Spock, but ultimately Leonard Nimoy the man. I don’t know that I’ve met anyone who has not heard these words at least once. The words not only popularized his character since Star Trek’s beginnings, but they are words that just plain feel good. They welcome harmony. They speak eternity.
They also carry hope. When said as a goodbye, we get the sense that our parting is only temporary. We are reminded that life has meaning. We have purpose.
Live long and prosper.