Living in space for five months can give you a special - and some might say, better - perspective of life on Earth.
Chris Hadfield, the first Canadian commander of the International Space Station, imparted some of that wisdom to Canadian students on March 14. Hadfield spoke at the University of Toronto as a reward for the students who collectively raised more than $148,700 for the Movember campaign, which gives money for men's health issues (most famously, by convincing men to grow moustaches for the month of November).
The astronaut, who was Huffington Post Canada's newsmaker of 2013, spoke about his experience in space as well as the lessons it taught him.
No matter what your age, we could all learn a thing or two about how to accomplish our goals from Hadfield, who penned the book, "An Astronaut's Guide to Life on Earth," after returning home in May 2013.
Here are six things he's learned throughout his time in space and on Earth:
Bethany Clarke/Getty Images
Hadfield knew since he was nine years old that he wanted to be an astronaut. He didn’t expect it to happen, but he still worked towards his goal.
“Have a long-term goal in life. Think about the long-term goal and recognize that you’re probably never going to get there. But have it in mind and then let your life develop in the direction of that goal and purposefully make decisions to have that happen.”
Shown in front of the Apollo 10 Command Module on December 16, 2013 in London, England.
There’s no substitute for hard work. Hadfield put years of education and training into his dream before he was chosen to be commander.
“You have to build everything on competence. If you’re just going on good luck it won’t work out. You can never be too competent and people will find you out if you’re not.”
Because they were prepared for potential disaster, Hadfield said he and the other astronauts on his expedition were able to mend a leak in the space station that would have forced them to abandon the mission early.
“Do not visualize success, visualize failure. What’s the most probable thing that’s going to fail? We trained for thousands of things that never happened. When things really do fail though, you’ve got a whole armada of possibilities.”
AP Photo/Mikhail Metzel, Pool
Hadfield was accompanied into space by five other astronauts from diverse backgrounds. They lived and worked with just each other for five months.
“If you’re working with a group of people, they are the last people on for you. Have an agreed, long-term goal. Communicate your overall goal. The hardest part about communicating is listening.”
AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Paul Chiasson
Hadfield said being in space reminded him of the fragility of the things we take for granted. He realized how lucky we are to be Canadian and have the opportunity to be whoever we want. He urged the audience, which was mainly comprised of students, to give back after they finished their education.
“Education is the underlying way to sustain our society. You owe somebody a complete education”
Chris Hadfield admires his Meritorious Service Cross after it was presented on Thursday, June 27, 2013 in St-Hubert, Quebec.
The most important thing is to always seek grace, said Hadfield, a piece of advice that he added is hard to put into practical use, but means a lot to him.
“You should have an internal feeling of grace, and when I say grace it has a lot of meaning behind it to me, a tranquility, a joy, a sense of accomplishment, a sense of having done something beyond yourself.”
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