Am reading the wonderful Chris Hadfield’s ‘An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth‘. While sharing his extraordinary space experiences, Chris Hadfield explains what it takes to become an astronaut.
Actually going to space, even for those recruited as astronauts, is an almost impossible feat that requires superhuman levels of resilience, skill, dedication, planning, learning, health and luck. Consequently, Chris Hadfield urges enjoyment and engagement in learning itself. Above all he advises, ‘focus on the journey, not on arriving at a certain destination’ (p.134).
Training requires astronauts to think ‘what will kill me next?’ and prepare for every eventuality. Working together and helping each other is also fundamental.
Chris talks about the importance of ‘attitude’ in space flight which refers to the orientation of the space vehicle. ‘In my experience, something similar is true on Earth. Ultimately, I don’t determine whether I arrive at the desired professional destination. Too many variables are out of my control. There’s really just one thing I can control: my attitude during the journey, which is what keeps me feeling steady and stable, and what keeps me headed in the right direction. So I consciously monitor and correct, if necessary, because losing attitude would be far worse than not achieving my goal’ (pp41-2).
For astronauts, attitude is a matter of life and death. For us on earth, attitude determines how we live.