In An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth, astronaut Chris Hadfield relives his journey from young boy to Commander of the International Space Station. One interesting aspect of the book was hearing about the evolution of an astronaut – the training they go through, the selection process, etc. However, the book wasn’t just about being an astronaut. Throughout his lifetime, Chris has had the opportunity to lead in a variety of situations. He provided some really interesting insight that can apply to virtually everyone.
Takeaway: “Early success is a terrible teacher.”
This is 100% true. We learn best from our failures. If you’re not failing, you’re not trying hard enough.
Takeaway: The training has to be an end in itself.
Becoming an astronaut takes years upon years of training. Even after you have completed the required training, you’re not guaranteed to go to space. Being turned down after 15 years of training and never going on a space mission would seem almost devastating. To circumvent this, Chris visualized the training as the end goal. He enjoyed putting the work in and supporting other astronauts as much as he enjoyed going to space. This helped to get him through the years between missions when he wasn’t sure if he was going to go back up to space.
Takeaway: “You are getting ahead if you’re learning. Even if you’re staying on the same rung.”
I’m a huge fan of learning so this line obviously struck a chord with me. I think learning is the easiest way to get ahead in life. The world has shifted so that workers are no longer able to master one skill and use that for the rest of their lives. We’re entering an economy that values reinvention. Learning is the key to reinventing yourself and staying useful in today’s society.