An Astronaut’s Guide to life on Earth | Chris Hadfield

An Astronaut’s Guide to life on Earth | Chris Hadfield

🚀 The Book in 3 Sentences

Decision, attitude towards life and family. One of the most interesting biographies I’ve read in a while. Short, precise and colourful. What’s better, is that we can follow Chris on social network, watch his stage talks, and even contact, if the need arise.

🎨 Impressions

Honestly, at the beginning I didn’t think it would be a worthwhile read, but I was wrong. The book tells the story of the NASA and CSA astronaut, Chris Hadfiled and his lifelong dream of becoming the ISS commander.

How I Discovered It

It has been offered as a book club reading. DoDo.

Who Should Read It?

☘️ How the Book Changed Me

How my life / behaviour / thoughts / ideas have changed as a result of reading the book.

✍️ My Top 3 Quotes

📒 Ideas

Gene of martyrdom

  • Decisions must bring joy. Even the hard ones.
    • If instead of joy they bring sufferings, get rid of the reasons of suffering.
    • It could be a hateful job or toxic relationship.
    • When the goal at the end of the long day is visible, or even still obscured from the view, but you are convinced that it is there, you should follow it. Preferably with joy!
    • And if it takes a long time to get there, the only thing that could stop you is lack of determination and commitment to the cause.
    • Being a teacher consists of doing dull thing day in and day out, but someday you get something to do outstanding.
      • Just wait for the moment, anticipate it and work towards it.

Reliably make good decisions

  • Is not a skill you can confer on. Actually, decision-making is a skill of utmost importance in life.
    • As I am used to saying, when discussion touches the topic: good decisions are products of profound understanding, extensive knowledge and luck.
    • It takes years of sustained effort and practice and scrupulous note-taking and reflection.
      • What went how and why. What could be done differently and how.
      • If something happens, then this follows.
      • To make good decisions day in and out, the only thing that need to be changed is the mind of a person.
      • Thinking in via negativa. It is hard, but it’s the only way to survive.
  • Reliably make good decision it is a skill which allows you to come to a decision quickly, with incomplete information, under condition which lead to serious consequences.
    • Life and death.
    • Wellbeing of a family or yours.
    • Financial decision.
    • And decision from other avenues of life, from starting family to changing jobs.
  • To make this kind of decision, something simple is required.
    • Like an ability to tell apart important thing from trivial.
    • Interesting information is not crucial information.
      • One is good on a good to know basis, the other might be necessary to survival or financial wellbeing.
      • Learn to define on from another. How to train this skill? Reading, listening, asking.

Learning is not enough

  • Learning is one element of acquisition of a skill.
    • [[Ideas/Action oriented elements of any action oriented approach]]
    • But obviously, it is not enough. To make it automatic you need to practice it.
    • Though even this is not sufficient to master skill.
      • In my practice, real acquisition and automatization happens when you teach the skill to someone else.
      • It’s of the utmost importance for developing your skills.

The worse is yet to come, anticipate it

  • We, humans, tend to look at the bright side of any event, not giving a second thought what else could have happened.
    • Or how worse it could be? In what way, a situation might turn sour or even sourer?
    • Plan B is the first most important thing we all should look for.
      • Not only look, but actively devise it, even when things go smoothly, we should keep in mind one thing.
      • Okay, we’ve managed this, what’s the next thing that will make our life harder?
    • Hard won competence, means keeping your head over the tide, at moments when it seems hopeless, and improvising good solutions to hard as a nail problem creatively.
      • It combines ingenuity, determination, and preparedness for anything.
      • What’s the next thing that will kill me? The best way to being prepared.
      • That and pessimistic view on the world as a whole.
        • It doesn’t mean that you should be as dour as a piece of lemon, just realistic about certain things.
        • You are alone and no one can help you, think and solve. Don’t rely on anybody.
    • Thinking pessimistically is not an excuse to turn into a dolorous person, it’s a matter of perspective.
      • Change an angle and in time you’ll be ready for anything.
  • Success is not guaranteed, if anything it isn’t.
    • A pessimistic view of the world also helps love what you do, especially when something good happens.
    • The road to success is at least bumpy, and many boots will be worn down before we reach it. If we reach it.
      • The journey itself must bring joy and should be an end in itself.
  • In short: “Be ready. Work. Hard. Enjoy it!”
    • And also it is helpful to have a pessimistic view on the world. Expect the worst.
    • As Max said once, and what is one of the pillars of his course of Jedi techniques: fuck-up is the only certain thing, success isn’t guaranteed.
      • [[Ideas/Methodological betterment of Jedi techniques^8ca4c5]]

Keep a specific attitude towards learning

  • Sometimes you don’t know what you do and why. You just train, read, attend university and school.
    • The majority of people do it without giving the process any second thoughts.
    • That exactly what puts them behind those who do the same action consciously.
    • Every tiny piece of knowledge, skill you’ve learned add something to the base you are building.
      • You might not use it ever in your life, but the amount you know sets you apart from those who don’t, and gives you a head start.
      • Another positive effect of learning while you can, is that it puts your feet on the ground and a knowing person is much harder to shake.
  • The point of learning is simple learning and nothing else.
    • We learn for the sake of knowledge, and some day it might or might not save our life. The process is more important than results.
  • Learning is preparation, but not only in risk managements domain, it is also about gaining knowledge of something that might add new risks and avoid it.
    • More often than not, we add risk unwittingly, we are the authors of our fates.
    • No need to write a tragedy or a catastrophe.

Beware of consequences you are training yourself

  • With Sasha, when we were discussing an evaporating cloud, she had mentioned an interesting thought, that stuck.
    • Who said that given premises are wrong or in conflict?
    • Or who said that they are valid?
    • [[Books/How to Actually Change Your Mind — Eliezer ideas that are connected to the search of the third alternative]]
  • Back then I noticed it as intriguing, but now consider if fundamental.
    • We can prepare ourselves for outcomes that are absolutely unlikely, and based on the wrong assumptions. ^ca902f
    • In this case, we’ll draw perfectly polished conclusion, planned and maybe executed action from the invalid premises.
  • Keep in mind, that if something deemed to go wrong, it would go wrong. And you can’t do anything about. After all, the only guaranteed thing is a fuck-up.
  • Think negatively. Become a pessimist and figure what might cause you harm not to dwell on it, but to plan and prevent it from happening.
    • Dwelling is the same as why. You constantly ask yourself and maybe doubt. In time of crisis, why is irrelevant.
    • [[Ideas/Antifragile book^f1a743]]

Intelligence in an early age dangerous thing

  • Early success is a terrible teacher.
    • In a sense, you are rewarded for not preparing. Thus, when you find yourself in a situation where preparation is needed, you can’t do it. Because you still operate from the premise that no preparation is needed.
    • It happens to every talented student. When he must prepare, he doesn’t know how to do it in the first place.
      • There is no such thing as being over prepared for something.

Plan mundane tasks ahead of time

  • Often when we discuss consequences of certain actions, we tend to fall into talking about extremely vague and nice sounding proclamation.
    • Like: Peace around the world, or happiness to everyone and don’t let anyone walk away hurt.
    • This high speech omits the essential stuff, like actions.
    • When I get to school, I will culturally enrich children.
      • How ridiculous!
      • I will manage class.
      • Open laptop, load miro board, print handouts, guide children through lesson plan and other boring, teacher’s stuff, absolutely unrelated to high goals of education.
      • When the day ends, what matter is what you’ve done with your hands.
        • Work of a foreman much more important than work of a manager.
  • [[Books/Nudge — Richard H Thaler Cass R B is what matters, nothing else]]
    • Remember to have a contingency plan too.

Subtraction of abilities

  • Better to remember that subtraction is better than addition.
  • Though, here we can talk a bit deeper.
    • When I’d managed the most effective team of regional directors in one gas and oil company, I always divided people to several categories and on two levels.
  • Basic level is level of execution.
    • A perpetrator. A guy who does the task, no question asked.
    • A thinker. A guy how thinks before acting and if the solution is not optimal voices doubt and sometimes just does what he considers best under the current circumstances.
  • Advanced level. On this level, I usually decide about future cooperation.
    • Minus. An employee who is constantly in opposition.
    • Zero. A person who is balancing between agreeing with everything and opposing everything. Speaks his mind and gives reason behind ideas.
    • Plus. The most agreeable worker on the grounds. Does whatever he is told to, without second thought.
    • In my line of work, healthy dissent has always been good, opposition, and conformism bad.
      • Conformist and opposition cost money, time and effort. You must get rid of obstacles. Keep zeroes around.
  • When a new guy lands in a team, he should consider himself a zero.
    • Not show off because if he shows off, thinking that he knows or can do better, he instantly gets minus to his karma and becomes minus one, actively harmful and viewed by everyone as a walking problem.
    • Zeroes are those who just do their work at the limits of their abilities.
    • Plus ones, are promoted zeroes. Promotion comes from silent action, no need for showing off.

Silence is gold, but not the way everyone thinks

  • When your tenure finished, and you have an opportunity to input some value to a meeting, remember that there is always golden possibility to keep your mouth shut.
    • When you are famous enough, people tend to listen to you more closely than they actually should, so keeping quiet is the best way.
      -Though,h it doesn’t mean that your focus of attention should be somewhere.
    • Be focused on what is unfolding in front of view, be vigilant about blunders people might put themselves and if the mistake isn’t corrected by the end of the meeting, help them.
    • Remember that polished solutions might spring up from completely wrong assumption, help people in avoiding such.
    • [[An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth — Chris Hadfield#^ca902f]]

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