An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth (2013)

Astronauts GuideHaving grown up in the shadow of Saturn V rockets at the Kennedy Space Center, I can be easily drawn to books or movies about space travel. Often books like this are nothing more than memoirs of the person that went into space. While interesting, there is not a lot of enduring value. This is NOT the case of Col. Chris Hadfield’s, “An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth”.

In this exceptionally good read, Col. Hadfield takes the reader on a journey, his journey, from a dream of flying in space to becoming the first Canadian to walk in space and becoming the commander of the world’s spaceship, the International Space Station (ISS). By the way, when he developed this dream of becoming and astronaut, Canada did not have a space program, much less an astronaut program. Along the way the author sprinkles in life lessons and leadership lessons for having a better life here on Earth. He shares the ups and the downs, the good and the bad, and he does so in such a way as to let the reader know the lesson he learned and how it can apply to all of us.

Leadership Lessons for Life on Earth

While there are many great stories with lessons for life on Earth, I will share here the three that have had immediate impact on me.

Lesson 1 – Sweat the small stuff – It seems that my entire life I have heard the axiom, “don’t sweat the small stuff”. Well, looking back, it appears that it is often the small stuff that either makes or breaks a performance. Col. Hadfield talks quite a bit about the training that an astronaut endures and the constant focus on the details. You don’t want to be hundreds of thousands of miles away from home and not have sweated the small stuff. If you are in leadership (at home, at work, at school), what are the small things that, if you don’t sweat them, could derail your success?

Lesson 2 – The power of negative thinking – Once again,