How An Astronaut Can Help You Live Better On Earth

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Chris Hadfield went to space three times…

Then he wrote a book about his journey.

What he learned can help you live better on Earth (although some of the advice may seem counterintuitive).

1/ Act as if you’re already what you want to be. It all started at age 9. Chris saw the moon landing and thought to himself, “I want to be an astronaut.” Then, every day, he asked himself: What would an astronaut do… Eat potato chips or vegetables? Video games or study?

2/ Prepare even if it’s not possible. When Chris set out to be an astronaut as a kid, he did so knowing it probably wouldn’t happen because… Canadians actually weren’t allowed to be astronauts. But that didn’t stop him from preparing.

3/ How to prepare when it’s not possible? Use Chris’s mindset: “It’s probably not going to happen, but I should do things that keep me moving in the right direction, just in case – and I should be sure those things interest me, so that whatever happens, I’m happy.”

4/ Be cool under pressure. Apparently, an astronaut is not someone who goes to space. According to Chris… “An astronaut is someone who’s able to make good decisions quickly, with incomplete information, when the consequences really matter.”

5/ Aim to be a zero. When entering a new situation, don’t try to save the day. Instead, ask… What can I do to make sure I don’t ruin this? Do less. Never look for credit. Prove you’re competent first by not screwing anything up.

6/ Help others. Astronauts are constantly competing against each other. But Chris found that helping his competition made it more likely for others to enjoy working with him. (Also, helping others increased his chance of survival if he was on a mission with that person.)

7/ The little things are actually the big things. On a spaceship, a million and one things could go wrong. If a wire is plugged in wrong or a button is pressed at the wrong time… it could mean death. Focus on doing the little things right to take care of the big things.

8/ Lean on empathy and humor when a group is going through tough times. Astronauts know all about difficult times. You can choose to wallow in misery. Or you can choose to understand the pain others are going through and try to make them laugh – to brighten their existence.

9/ Today’s prince is tomorrow’s pauper. When an astronaut goes to space, he is the hero. But when he comes back post-mission, he is often just another guy. This might be depressing for some people. But the pecking order is always changing so it fosters humility.

10/ Find joy in the little moments. If your life is only a success because of some big accomplishment (i.e. going to space), you’ll miss out on all the moments in between. Chris found enjoyment from learning itself to make the most out of his experience as an astronaut.

Thanks for reading. 🙂

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