The word legend is brandished around like every woman or man on Earth has the God-given right to have this bestowed upon them. Suppose this is the very definition used to distinguish between true and enduring legends. In that case, I think I have the right to redefine how the word legend is attached to a person’s name.
Step forward, Chris Hadfield, now this guy is a true legend. He conducts his craft on Earth; he also spends time in space. But, amongst them all, his intellectual capacity is unparalleled.
I am currently engrossed in Chris Hadfield’s book, “An Astronaut’s Guide To Life On Earth”. This book provides an insight into the life of an astronaut. It dives deep into what Chris Hadfield had to do for his training and his concepts of what he needed to become a superhuman as a nine-year-old. He uses his experience to teach and enrich the reader’s perspective and use his expertise to better their own life on Earth. This is helpful as not many of us will make it past the ‘The Kármán Line’.
I am a massive lover of books, which provides first-hand knowledge of those that have achieved, sharing their achievements. I have often been an advocate of enjoying what you do to make the most of it.
If we aim for the sky and do not achieve our goal, we will often end up at a great destination that would otherwise never have presented itself.
Chris Hadfield speaks profoundly about loving his job and the day-to-day reality. Not just blasting off into space, but the boring harsh reality of the daily work that leads to eventually blasting off into space. On the flip side, as Chris Hadfield puts it, you are not guaranteed to ever reach space with all the best intentions!
If you viewed training as a dreary chore, not only would you be unhappy every day, your sense of self-worth and professional purpose would be shattered if you wear scrambled from a mission – or never got one. Some astronauts never do. They train, they do all the work, and they never leave Earth. I took this job knowing that I might be one of them.
He exclaimed that having a pessimistic view of his prospect helped him love his job and, in effect, prolonged his career, as he loved learning new things. His ultimate views were based on the fact that getting to space depends on many variables and circumstances that were entirely beyond his or any astronaut’s control.
Getting into space depends on many variables and circumstances that are entirely beyond an individual astronaut’s control, so it always made sense to me to use spaceflight as a bonus, not an entitlement.
He attributes his success to the word “attitude”. Having the attitude made all the difference. “Attitude” is defined by Cambridge dictionary as:
A feeling or opinion about something or someone, or a way of behaving that is caused by this.
In aeronautical terms, “attitude” is defined as;
The inclination of the three principal axes of an aircraft relative to the wind, to the ground
Chris Hadfield defines it as;
In spaceflight, ‘attitude’ refers to orientation: which direction your vehicle is pointing relative to the Sun, Earth and the spacecraft. If you lose control of your attitude, two things happen: the vehicle starts to tumble and spin, disorientating everyone on board, and it also strays from its course, which, if you’re short on time or fuel, could mean the difference between life and death.
This nautical term has had a profound effect on Hadfield’s life. Chris Hadfield’s book says that he does not determine whether he arrives at the desired professional destination. He feels that too many variables are out of his control. However, there is just one thing that he believes he can control: that is his attitude during the journey. He believes that this keeps him feeling steady and stable and heading in the right direction.
So consciously monitor correct, if necessary, because losing attitude would be far worse than not achieving my goal.
Chris Hadfield has a mantra, which dictates how he approaches his job and how he lives his life. This mantra is;
Be ready. Work. Hard. Enjoy it!
I can identify and empathise with his mantra. As an athlete with the lofted ambition of reaching the Olympics, you dedicate your every living second to achieving this goal. Clearly, from the age of nine, when Chris Hadfield lifted his head upwards to space after seeing the first moon landing, he was readying himself for the hard work ahead.
As he said it himself, this is what he wanted to do for work, he dreamt of it, and it became a reality through hard work and dedication by having the ‘attitude’.
I spent my life getting ready… I picture most demanding challenges; I visualise what I would need to know, what to do to meet it; then I practice until I reach a level of competence where I’m comfortable that I’ll able to perform.
Maintaining this ‘attitude’, I believe, is key to teaching our kids. Chris Hadfield says maintaining the attitude is his choice; he’s always steadfast and ready just in case needed. He puts it in a very succinct way, which I believe is an excellent message to ourselves and, more so, our children. They have their life’s ahead of them. So I will leave the final statement to Chris Hadfield in his own words.
It’s never either-or, never enjoyment versus advancement, so long as you conceive of advancements in terms of learning rather than climbing to the next rung of the professional ladder. You are getting ahead if you learn, even if you wind up staying on the same rung.
- Eric Betz (5 March 2021) ‘Home/News/The Kármán Line: Where does space begin?’, Astronomy [Accessed 7 December 2021]
- Cambridge Dictionary ‘Attitude‘, [Accessed 4 December 2021]
- Dictionary.com ‘Attitude‘, [Accessed 4 December 2021]
- NASA (June 2004) “Biographical Data – Chris Hadfield”, Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center [Accessed 4 December 2021]