People Share The Best Examples Of 'It's Possible To Make Zero Mistakes And Still Lose'
Brett Jordan/Unsplash

The 1966 sci-fi classic Star Trek has always held some hidden gems. One in particular sparks a conversation around a regular fact of life: sometimes we do everything right and still lose.

In one scene, Captain Jean Luc Picard requests Commander Data to help him on the bridge of the spaceship. Data tries to suggest that Picard choose someone else as his first in command.

Data said:

"I have not been able to isolate the problem, sir. I might make a mistake."

Picard took a few steps toward him, closing the distance between them, and gives him an order.

Before leaving, Picard turned to Data and said:

"It is possible to commit no mistakes and still lose."

"That is not a weakness. That is life."

This statement was an encouragement to not let fear or self-doubt get in the way of action and the pursuit of what must be done in the way of your own self. Failure is just a part of life.

This scene sparked Redditor NeonDragon76 to ask:

"Picard said, 'It is possible to commit no mistakes and still lose,' what is your real life example of this?"

We compiled some of the moments where no matter our efforts, life got in the way.

In a relationship that just wasn't meant to be.

"Being the best partner you can be in a relationship and having them fall out of love or cheat on you."

- sugarplumbuttfluck

"Relationships are very much like that. Stories always make them seem directly attainable - you do the right thing, and the person will fall in love with you, you keep doing the right thing and they'll stay with you forever. But in reality... like, if someone doesn't want to date you, and then you rescue them from a burning building, they still won't want to date you."

- LtLabcoat

"Learned the hard way that you can be as good a partner as possible - still doesn't matter if the problem is one you have no control over to fix..."

- TorTheGasman

"Yup. I spend three years as my ex's emotional punching bag and therapist before I realized how f**ked up it was and left."

- ManySpectrumWeasel

disappointed star trek GIFGiphy

They didn't go first.

"I’ve lost many board games and card games simply because I didn’t go first."

- super-goblin

"I remember my cousin bringing out mancala and was so excited to play it. After two games I realized the first player would always win if you played correctly and asked her if I could play first since I was new and proceeded to win every game then told her the strategy. She was dejected at the time, but I like to think she went on to beat other people with it after that."

- geshtar

Not getting the job.

"Not getting a job offer from the interview."

"Sometimes you didn’t do anything wrong. Sometimes the other candidates were just better."

- BrokenHeartedOctopus

"Sometimes, you were just as good, but they simply had to make a choice because of the limited amount of vacancies."

- Lvcivs2311

Not getting bonuses for something out of their control.

"My team at work getting absolutely reamed out and having year-end bonuses denied to us because of a major outage on one of our systems... The outage was caused by a bug that we were among the first in the world to experience and the vendor hadn't even published an advisory yet much less released the patch to fix it."

"There was literally nothing we could have done to avoid it."

- Hrekires

"Wonder how many people are going to quit over that bullsh*t."

- Montzterrr

angry star trek GIFGiphy

Getting fired.

"When despite doing everything your boss tells you, you still get fired."

- MaverickYankee

"Or when you outperform everyone else on your team for years and are due for a promotion but instead your boss's freshly hired 20 years younger girlfriend gets the promotion."

"I literally quit two days after."

- RealMainer

Irritable Bowel Syndrome.


"Sometimes you can be very careful to avoid all your triggers, and still end up stuck in the bathroom for a few hours."

- grmrsan

"Yes, and then spending those cursed toilet hours going back over the last day or two trying to work out what you did differently despite knowing you intentionally only eat the same things for this exact reason."

- NeonDragon76

Angry Star Trek GIFGiphy

Getting into professional sports.


"Someone can do absolutely everything right. They can work harder than anybody else. Play to the highest level that their talent allows, and they still will not make it professionally."

"No matter the amount of effort I put in, I simply will never throw a 100 MPH fastball."

- RockySlough

"I think a lotta people forget that genetics is a very important component of athletic performance. I could train every single day and be absolutely jacked and would still get destroyed in any game of basketball because I'm 5’3."

- dogsonboats

Relationships with our parents.

"My brother was always that kind of son who made everything he wasn't supposed to do. I tried to be the best daughter I could and support my mom in everything she needed. Now my brother has a really good relationship with her and I barely talk with her."

- Uncomfortable_Mind

"Right. I feel your pain deeply. My brother did the same kind of thing, my dad was problematic so I had to be strong for mom. Do you think we didn’t test their love? Lost son syndrome? What is it?"

- HerrLangschlong

Working in the medical field.

"I worked as a paramedic for 15 years. You can do everything right but if it’s not going to happen it’s just not going to happen."

- medic8388

"I was an EMT for 3 years and left to become a flight attendant. When it's your time, it's your time, and there isn't much we can do."

- tommygunz007

Star Trek Reaction GIFGiphy

The Candidate Who Stuck Around

"A coworker told me once that I was picked for my job on a sort of coin toss. Both I and the other candidate were equally qualified and nothing we did really made one better than the other. They took a chance on me because I seemed less likely to jump after a year or two like most people who applied for that job were doing to do."

"Funny thing was, that was exactly my intention when I got the job but I've ended up staying way longer."

– battraman

Blessing In Disguise

"Also a chance the job was never really available in the first place. Some companies require a job get posted publicly and external candidates be interviewed even when an internal candidate is already selected. Or maybe the nephew of the boss needed a job but they have to interview people. I’ve been involved in a handful of interviews where I’ve strongly preferred a candidate that lost out for reasons beyond their control."

"Also, sometimes not getting the job is a blessing. A coworker/buddy and I wound up going after the same position at a new company. I nailed the interview and honestly I had experience and skills beyond that of my friend so I thought I had it in the bag. They took my buddy. Confidence took a hit, but fast forward about 6 months and buddy hates it there. They start furloughing employees and he quits shortly after that. Meanwhile I got a promotion and set me on a path that led to considerably more money somewhere else. Never can tell how things turn out sometimes, but don’t let job rejections get you down. It’s their loss they didn’t take you 😉"

– Blues_Stl

Road Hazards

"Driving comes to mind. A lot of collisions involve one person doing everything they should be and another being an idiot. Although you followed all of the rules of the road you still lost by getting rear ended by someone on their phone."

– [deleted]

The Setback

"I've been spending two years and 20K in college debt to become a personal trainer. I'm supposed to graduate this spring."

"Then my back got ruined in a car crash last month. The prognosis being 'ongoing pain management.'"

"Screw me, right? 'Cause it's not like I'm trying to escape my current life situation or anything. /s"

– Hollogram_Janeway

The Favorite

"My brother was always that kind of son who made everything he wasn't supposed to do. I tried to be the best daughter I could and support my mom in everything she needed. Now my brother has a really good relationship with her and I barely talk with her."

– Uncomfortable_Mind

When You Can't Compete

"Old job hunting saying: you can have the perfect interview and they can still hire their nephew."

– mjk1260

Luck Of The Draw

"Life is like poker in a way. Your outcomes are a result of your decisions and luck. Sometimes you can make all the right decisions and still have a bad outcome or lose. Also, some people start with better hands."

"Conversely the opposite can happen where you make poor decisions and win."

"However making good decisions (no mistakes) puts you in a better position to have a good outcomes."

– Actuaryba

Sometimes it may feel that we have everything under control and then life throws us a curve ball.

As Picard said, it's not weakness, it just is the way it is. It's how we move on from those moments and find other ways of continuing that show our strength.

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