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The C-Suite Minimalists go to Space

Business and life lessons from astronaut Chris Hadfield's Space Exploration Masterclass

Listen to this article in the podcast: here (on YouTube) or here (on SoundCloud)

Chris Hadfield is a failure. When he was 9, growing up in a farm in Ontario, his life goal became to walk on the moon. The currently 58-year old Hadfield never did. He only became... the first Canadian to ever walk in space, an astronaut that has flown on two space missions, the fighter pilot that has served as a commander of the International Space Station, the receiver of NASA Exceptional Service Medal.

Most of us will only wish upon a star to “fail” in such a spectacular way. To make sure that we keep following our dreams, The C-Suite Minimalists took the astronaut’s Space Exploration Masterclass. Here are some key business and life lessons from it:

Your life is a sum of the little things that you chose to do every day.

“If I am a person who some day will walk on the moon, what should I do THIS afternoon”

– this is the attitude that high achievers have, according to the astronaut. Having decided on an early stage on his dream he asked himself continuously what books should he read, what food should he eat. As improbable his dream was when he was 9, it is the “cumulative collection of all those little things that you have done that define who you are right now”. Taking small, but deliberate steps in the key.

Celebrate your personal victories

I had a goal to walk on the moon, but getting into space requires commitment and hard work for many years, says the astronaut. No one would really care about the numerous achievements one has to go thorough to reach that level, but each and every person should take time to reflect and celebrate the accomplishments in the meantime. Learning a language, getting a degree while raising kids, reading a book – all of those are stepping stones to the big success.

“Don’t wait till the end of the journey to enjoy recognition. Recognize yourself in the meantime.”

Focus, patience and persistence

What is your dream job? Chris Hadfield waited for a job advertisement that said: “Wanted. Astronauts”. He regularly checked the papers for it, he asked his friends and family to check for it. And in the meantime he prepared. And one day the ad was there: “Wanted. Astronauts”. A key lesson here is to really FOCUS your abilities in the direction that you want to go. And build on it. Only then you are sitting by the phone after years of study and after five months of rigorous interviews and selection committees at NASA. Only then the opportunity phone rings and you hear the final decision: “Would you like to be an astronaut”? and you respond, like he did: “Yes, I always have”.

Give yourself permission to imagine what has never been before

Even if now something is not possible, in time things change, impossible things happen, says the astronaut. When he started to dream about the moon, there was no Canadian space agency, no astronauts, nothing.

When Neil Armstrong was born, the word astronaut did not even exist.

It took Hadfiled 26 years from the dream to actually flying in space. An important lesson to be a successful explorer, not only in space, is that it can never happen overnight. It takes preparation and hard work. You don’t just wake one day and go out exploring space, do you?

Be calm, ready and competent

Being a bold and successful explorer in any area does not require risky behaviors and arrogance, Hadfiled believes. “We, real astronauts, are not like that”. In fact contrary to the popular belief, astronauts and explorers don’t like adrenaline in their vain. Instead they are calm, capable and competent.

And last, but not least: “If someone is willing to teach you something, especially for free, get them to do it. Information and knowledge is just freedom to choose.”

Not bad for a “failure”, isn’t he?

The C-Suite Minimalists is not affiliated in any way and not receive any undeclared benefit from sharing about the Masterclass on Space Exploration of Chris Hadfield.

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