Commander Data is a character from the famous StarTrek series. Data is an android and respective member of the star ship Enterprise leadership crew. Data is on the continuing quest to learn as much as possible about human behavior, including feelings. His ultimate goal is to become human as best as he can, given the circumstances that he is programmed as a machine with a positronic brain inside a biological body, designed by human DNA. In one StarTrek episode, Data creates a second android with a “young” brain. Since he created the young android, he names her Lala and feels like a father to her. He raises Lala by teaching her everything he knows, and the ship’s crew helps through human interaction and social skills.
One day, Lala tells her father that the other children at school were laughing at her, which she first confused as laughing “with” her, until Data explains that they were laughing “at” her because she is different from the other children. Lala feels sadness and complains that she could never be like the other kids, no matter how hard she tries. Data responds, “Lala, there is nothing wrong with being different. It doesn’t matter that we don’t reach our ultimate goal. Continuing to try and achieving our best on the way to reaching our ultimate goal is what matters.”
What a wonderful statement! Not just from a parent’s perspective, but also from everyone’s perspective. We all have an ultimate goal that we have on the horizon. Becoming cancer free, reaching retirement age, owning a house with property or a certain type of car, getting married and having a family, becoming a public figure, climbing Mount Everest, running a marathon, visiting the wonders of the world, living to be 90 years of age and healthy – whatever our ultimate goal is, the key is to keep focusing on that ultimate goal and to celebrate the smaller goals we achieve along the way. When we strive to achieve our best in reaching the smaller goals that may lead up to reaching our ultimate goal, we will have done everything possible and in our power to get there. The small successes count as well and are worth celebrating. There will be failures, too – which will not deter us from getting back on our feet and try another method to get us there.
It gives a great sense of accomplishment and fulfillment to keep going this way. Keep your focus on your ultimate goal, make necessary adjustments as needed, celebrate the successes and learn from the failures. Striving to achieve our best is what is making life worth living.