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An Astronaut's Guide to Life on Earth Book Summary by Chris Hadfield

An Astronaut's Guide to Life on Earth Book Summary by Chris Hadfield

An Astronaut's Guide to Life on Earth Book Summary by Chris Hadfield
An Astronaut's Guide to Life on Earth Book Summary by Chris Hadfield


Chris Hadfield spent decades training as an astronaut and has clocked up nearly has broken into a space station with a Swiss Army knife disposed of a live snake while flying a plane and been temporarily blinded while hanging on to the outside of an orbiting spacecraft the secret to his success and survival is an unconventional lesson he learned at NASA prepare for the worst and enjoy every moment of it.

This brings us to the first lesson the power of negative thinking Chris finds a puzzling that self-help gurus urge people to visualize victory and stop there some even insist that if you focus on the negative you invite bad things to happen seems to make sense though right why waste time getting ready for disasters that will probably never happen well Chris argues that anticipating problems and figuring out how to solve them is actually the opposite of worrying it's productive coming up with the plan for the worst gives peace of mind when Chris gets in a crowded elevator he automatically thinks what he could do if the elevator somehow failed same thing happens when he hops into a plane Chris is always asking himself what's the next thing that can kill me but he assures us he's not a pessimistic person.

He says my optimism is a result of a lifetime spent visualizing defeat and figuring out how to prevent it like most astronauts I'm pretty sure that I can deal with what life throws at me because I've thought about what to do if things go wrong as well as right that's the power of negative thinking lesson two aim to be a zero in life you'll be viewed by other people in one of three ways as a - one actively harmful someone who causes problems zero your impact is neutral or as a plus-one someone who constantly adds value everyone wants to be a plus-one you can't be a plus-one if you're actively trying to prove it by bragging about your plus-one miss out loud yet so many people do it anyone who views themselves as more important than the little people is not cut out to be an astronaut and will never come close to working at NASA NASA can't afford to hire jerks people's lives are on the line.

As well as having to meet the expectations of millions of people who have had to fund Space Exploration with their tax dollars so how do you become a plus one Chris wasn't sure either so he observed Jerry Ross the most experienced member in the crew to see how he did things after a while Chris noticed that he would come into the office an hour early to take care of administration tasks for the commander so the commander could focus on more important things Jerry was never asked to do this and didn't expect gratitude for he put others needs first not only did he bring a wealth of knowledge and experience to the table but he acted as if he considered himself a zero competant but know better than anybody else here in Australia he is basically what we call a top bloke if you're truly observing and attempting to learn rather than seeking to impress others you may actually get the chance to do something helpful.

When Chris was a student before he had flown in space he was in a shuttle simulator and noticed the commander reaching to press the wrong button because Chris was watching closely he said wait that's not the right button months later the commander praised Chris's efforts at the Johnson Space Center in front of others shortly after that Chris got assigned his first mission although Chris admits there may not be a connection between these two events they sure didn't hurt his chances so to become a plus one in two words be humble lesson three have an attitude in astronaut terms attitude means orientation which way your vehicle is pointing in relation to the Sun earth and other space vehicles losing control of attitude could make the vehicle spin out of control and also make it stray from its course creating a life-or-death situation.

If you're low on fuel maintaining altitude in space is vital for success Chris believes something similar is true here on earth so many things are out of our control you can't make everyone fall in love with you you can't control the economy and you can't win every game you play but there is one thing you can control your attitude Chris consciously controls his attitude because to him a poor attitude is far worse than failing to achieve his goals the chances of becoming an astronaut are extremely slim getting to space depends on variables and circumstances that are outside of people's control just two Canadians were chosen to be astronauts out of 5351 applicants if you have a personality type that NASA doesn't like bad luck if you have a minor health defect bad luck if the only reason you wanted to be an astronaut was to fly around in space you'd hate being an astronaut as a general rule of thumb for every few months you train on earth you spend just one day in space.

This is why Chris never expected to get to space and he never attached his self-worth and Happiness to spaceflight he adjusted his attitude to enjoy every day whether he was on earth or in space lesson four sweat the small stuff an astronaut who doesn't sweat the small stuff is a dead astronaut NASA's strict attitude towards details and rules may seem ridiculous to outsiders but when astronauts are being killed on their job the reason is almost always an overlooked detail that seemed unimportant at the time for example there was a time when astronauts never wore spacesuits.

I mean why bother the suits take up room and wait to the rocket and the was already designed to protect them but Russians began wearing spacesuits after a valve came loose and a ship depressurize during re-entry into the Earth's atmosphere in 1971 killing all three cosmonauts onboard shuttle astronauts began wearing them after a shuttle called Challenger exploded during launch in 1986 a cracked o ring or a dislodged piece of foam is enough to cause terrible disasters this is why Chris sweats the small stuff even on planet Earth especially when pursuing major goals. 

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