This was the philosophy Chris Hadfield learnt at NASA and the philosophy that he lives by.
For those who (like me until recently) have not heard of Chris Hadfield, then let me bring you up to speed. His Wickipedia decription reads:
Chris Austin Hadfield OC OOnt MSC CD (born 29 August 1959) is a retiredCanadian astronaut who was the first Canadian to walk in space. An engineerand former Royal Canadian Air Force fighter pilot, Hadfield has flown two space shuttle missions and served as commander of the International Space Station.
In 2013 he published his book 'An Astronaut's Guide to Life on Earth'. Now who wouldn't want to read a book with that title. Fantastic. Further more, the tag line reads 'Life Lessons from Space'. Oh yes, we have a winner.
From the moment I read the recent blog coverage from Farm Lane's Book Blog (Read their review here >) I was more than intrigued, I was actually a little excited. Why? Well, putting (if possible) that blinder of a title and tag line to one side, I was drawn into one particular exert from the book:
Decide in your heart of hearts what really excites and challenges you, and start moving your life in that direction. Every decision you make, from what you eat to what you do with your time tonight, turns you into who you are tomorrow, and the day after that. Look at who you want to be, and start sculpting yourself into that person. You may not get exactly where you thought you’d be, but you will be doing things that suit you in a profession you believe in. Don’t let life randomly kick you into the adult you don’t want to become.
Life is down to us. We can influence our paths and lifestyles. We can decide for ourselves how we want to live. And, now this is the key, we can work out what makes us happy, motivated and alive, and then we can live our lives so that we are happy, motivated and alive.
It is so true of life today that so many of us find ourselves leading a life we don't find 100% inspiring, 100% fulfilling or 100% the life we really want, and, if we are honest, we often fall into sub 50% of these things. Why? Because when we are young we are living our lives by experiencing and learning about life, what is out there, what it's about and what is fun for us and what is not. But to do this we need to 'exists', we need funds to experience things, to eat and live and to go places and meet people. So we work, and so few people actually start off doing what their hearts' really desire, often because at this stage of our lives, we have no idea really what that is.
We have to take the stepping stones to get to places and even to know these places (careers) exist. That sounds fair enough, we take steps towards our goals... but like I said, so often we do not know what those goals are. and then before we know it, we are in a career in a town in a life we just 'fell in to' because change is hard and life just keeps ticking on.
It has taken me to my fourties to really learn about what makes me tick, what makes me truly happy and what I need in my life and what I don't. Learning to have control of your life and then enabling it is so hard. I have (unfortunately-but-turned-out-to-be-fortunately) had the time provided for me to actually fully re-evaluate my life and where I'm going and why. Not an easy task and I am stumbling all the time, but I am taking the opportunity to change my life so I can live the life I want to live.
Now, all this sounds a little selfish (self absorbed), but I am not doing this in isolation. I am doing it within the parameters of the family I love, striving to make this the best life for them too. If I am in a good place, then that reflects on those around me. I have had to make sacrifices (little luxuires really are more of a luxury these days) and I have to make compromises (I still have bills to pay and mouths to feed), but I'm finding a balance and letting me lead my life, not life lead me... well, I'm trying.
Chris Hadfield has led a life so extraordinary, so 'out of this world' that I can only image (and secretly envy) from afar, but his passion and drive is not so out of reach. I love the NASA philosophy of 'prepare for the worst - and enjoy every moment', and even though I have not always prepared for the worst (it just catches you unaware sometimes) I am the kind-a-gal that 'moves past the worst to live the best'.
What about you?
PS. I'm just starting Chris Hadfield's book... no way I wasn't going to read a book with THAT title.