Tuesday, January 01, 2013

The Prime Directive

An organizing colleague, Margaret Lukens, recently asked her Facebook Friends/Fans, "What is your theme word for 2013?" Hers in recent years have been "doubling," "fundamentals," "ease" and "focus."

I knew right away that mine would be a phrase rather than one word. I had just watched the 2009 movie "Star Trek" and was reminded of "The Prime Directive." (Friends and family, as well as some of my clients know that I am a bit of a Trekker.)

Captain James T. Kirk

(Geek alert for the next paragraph...)
The Prime Directive (also called General Order 1) is a law of the United Federation of Planets (I am paraphrasing, you can see the full text here). Basically, it means that Starfleet captains (and their crew) must not interfere with the development of civilizations on planets that do not yet have space travel technology or knowledge of other civilizations on other planets. The Prime Directive, on many occasions, has helped to guide a captain's actions.

My thought here is not so much about non-interference, but of simply having a "Prime Directive" in our own lives. Some may call it "priorities." I can see setting a prime directive for myself (and maybe several of them, uniquely crafted for different situations. I might call them sub-orders.) My overall Prime Directive for the year might be "All actions must not interfere with the accomplishment of goals set for the year." If an action seems to conflict with my prime directive, I must stop and take heed as any good Starfleet captain would, and carefully examine my actions and their consequences.

Captain Jonathan Archer

We are, after all, the captains of our own ship and in charge of our own destiny. Each of our actions, no matter how small, can have huge consequences. Before the Prime Directive was "law," a research crew accidentally left a book behind about "Gangsters and Mobs of the 1920s" on a developing planet. This made for one of the more amusing original Star Trek episodes. That planet's civilization took it as their "bible" and crafted their culture into the violent guns and revenge mania of 1920s mob society.

Captain Kathryn Janeway 

Some might call these "resolutions"
Some of my goals for the year are to reduce the "stuff" in my house, have my kitchen cleaner more often and write daily. So, having my Prime Directive as:

 "All my actions must not interfere with
accomplishment of my set goals for the year." 

My sub-orders might look like this:

1. Kitchen sub-order 1: By bed-time each day, the dishwasher must be either running a load or nearly empty, waiting to be filled (and no dirty dishes in the sink). All hand-washed items must be washed and in the drying rack. (Notice that I didn't say I must have my whole kitchen totally clean and sparkly! Just one little step to help with "keeping it up" without overwhelming me.)

2. Reducing stuff sub-order 1: Every day I will put at least one item in my "give-away" bag.

3. Reducing stuff sub-order 2: With every purchase I make (household, clothing, food), I will test to see if it fulfills my Prime Directive or runs against it.

4. Writing sub-order 1: An hour a day, that's all it takes! I might even add that an hour writing upon arising and an hour reading before bed shall be my new habit.

What's your Prime Directive this year? It's time to Make it so!

Captain Jean-Luc Picard

1 comment:

AK said...

I highly approve of this operating system. Now if I just had goals.