In January so much is written about goals and resolutions. With the best intentions we kick start the year promising things will be different – that we’ll workout more, eat less cake, drink less wine. And by the start of week 4 (TODAY!) the best made plans have flagged a little.
If you’ve been trying to alter bad habits and change your behaviour for the better, I know someone who can help. Today, I’m sharing a blog post that’s a little different, but should help you follow a productive path in 2017.
Imagine a little boy who grew up in rural Canada, and dreamed about science fiction and superheroes. In 1969, like most kids his age, he watched Buzz Aldrin and Neil Armstrong take their first steps on the moon. Back then, he couldn’t have imagined being Commander of the International Space Station.
You don’t need me to tell you that astronaut training takes years of physical and mental endurance, testing and planning for every possible eventuality. So, to put it bluntly, Colonel Chris Hadfield, the first Canadian to walk in space (and a YouTube sensation), is a complete genius. After his incredible motivational speech in Edinburgh last week I cried, it was that good. Here’s how Chris sees the world:
LESSON 1: Look Inside
When you wake up in the morning and look in the mirror who do you want to see? Forget about your public persona. Who is the person you are inside? As a boy, Chris saw the image of Buck Rogers looking back at him, with his ray gun and space boots. So, who do you want to be?
LESSON 2: Work Hard
In my mind astronauts are superheroes, but (according to Chris) all it takes to reach the highest heights is hard work and perseverance. Success comes from an understanding of what makes us truly happy. Then, we methodically work towards that goal. Do you have a tendency to expect instant results? Guilty! For years I’ve pushed to succeed in my career, always looking for the next project rather than appreciating what had come before. And what have I learned? When you’re attempting to build an empire but all you need is a little hamlet to make you happy, you’re working towards the wrong thing. Whether you aspire to be the next president (move over Trump!) or raise a family in a happy home, work hard towards YOUR goal, not someone else’s.
LESSON 3: Consume Less
From space, your perspective of the world inevitably changes. Up there astronauts see every landscape marked by human decision and question the way we treat our world. Chris used dramatic images of the Aral Sea in Central Asia to illustrate the extent of manmade mistakes. And I had no idea. These photographs made me evaluate my impact on the environment and my consumer behaviour. I’m guilty of buying fast fashion and wasting food. I recycle, but that’s nothing to brag about. Would changing my buying habits help the planet? Yes, I reckon so.
LESSON 4: Befriend Failure
Easy to say but harder to do – don’t be frightened to fail. Mistakes teach us to be better, even if they feel awful at the time. Think about it, if we always succeeded that would breed laziness and bad habits. Pick yourself up from failures, dust off the bad vibes, and get back on your chosen path.
LESSON 5: Look Ahead
Accept that nothing lasts forever. Hopefully, you’re doing something great in your life right now. Enjoy it. Soak up every moment. Because time moves quickly and before long you’ll move onto something else. Don’t worry about what is to come. Do things that make you proud and at the end of every month celebrate your achievements.
LESSON 6: Explore Ideas
Look at what’s happening around you. Question the norm. Can you solve a problem or design something that makes our world a better place? Open your heart to new ideas, and teach your kids to do the same.
If being an astronaut wasn’t brilliant enough, Chris is also a New York Times bestselling author and YouTube star. Pick up a copy of his book ‘An Astronaut’s Guide To Life on Earth’ for more inspirational life lessons.