You know how sometimes you just randomly think of something, or make a connection between two things that you never thought of before? Well, that happened to me the other day.

I was working at my desk when I looked up at my vision board, and noticed one of the pictures I had stuck on at the beginning of the year. It read:

“Sooner or later in our lives we must all face our own Kobayashi Maru test.”

The ‘Kobayashi Maru test’ refers to the test of the same name from the Star Trek universe. It is a simulated test that all officers training at Starfleet Command must undertake to complete their training. The test involves the cadet taking command of a starship, the mission being to rescue the civilian vessel Kobayashi Maru, which is located in the Klingon Neutral Zone. If a Starfleet ship enters this neutral zone, a full space battle will commence. The purpose of the test, to quote Spock in 2009’s Star Trek film, is to “experience fear, fear in the face of certain death. To accept that fear, and maintain control of oneself and one’s crew”. Consequently, when trying to rescue the ship, the simulation turns into an absolute no win scenario. Unless of course you are James T. Kirk.

In life, there are always going to be no-win scenarios. Sometimes, no matter what decision we make, there are negative consequences to our actions. Either way, we will lose someone or something will suffer. These scenarios challenge us greatly, but teach us that not all things will work out the way you planned. I think learning this is one of life’s most important lessons, as it happens in everyone’s lives at some point. Not all decisions and paths will turn out great.

But maybe you can make these work out, or manipulate them, like Kirk (well, maybe not exactly like Kirk. Don’t cheat on tests people!). Just because a path seems unwinnable, or laced with negative consequences, doesn’t mean it will necessarily turn out bad in the end. Maybe you needed to lose these things or people in your life in order to start living your true life, or to become your best self. Maybe you needed time away from a certain career or place to find your true self or your passion in life. So even if initially it seems like a no-win scenario, maybe you will win eventually. Just not in the same way you planned, or conventionally would.

I recently found myself in a no-win scenario, where either way and with each choice I could make there was significant negative consequences. I simply had to choose the one which felt right, or which had the least negative outcomes in my head. I followed my heart and chose a path to go down. And now as I look back at my decision, I realise that maybe this was the best thing for me to do, and that I will come out winning on the other side.

No-win scenarios are a part of life. They happen to everyone. But maybe we can make the most of the decisions we make during these scenarios.

So yes, sooner or later in our lives we will all face our own Kobayashi Maru test. It’s what we do with this test that counts.

Long live and prosper gypsies,