Notes From: “An Astronaut’s Guide To Life On Earth”

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Written by: Matt Karamazov, from Godlike Discipline

For every single book that I read, I take notes on everything that I want to remember. One year, I read 170 books, and another year ‘only’ 39.

I never intended to sell these notes or package them in a totally comprehensive way, so some of my notes go further in depth than some professional book summaries, and some not so deep at all. These aren’t something you might find from Blinkist, or even from James Clear, or Derek Sivers. They were never meant to be.

They are just what I personally have taken from each book, and I hope that they have some value for you.

Self-deprecation aside, these notes are from many of the most important books ever written. I’m interested in the human condition, the biggest questions ever asked, and the giant mystery that we’re all a part of. I’m interested in nothing less than what constitutes a meaningful life. That’s what you’ll find within my multiplicity of notes and sources.

Remember to think critically! Some notes are just interesting ideas taken from the text that I may or may not agree with.

Regardless, I wanted to remember them so as to stimulate my thinking at a later date. So don’t confuse my notes here with something that I staunchly believe. Sometimes you’ll be right, and other times you’ll be wrong.

I have turned them into a product which I sell in return for donations to Doctors Without Borders.

But I’ve decided to release some of my notes periodically on my site, for free.

The article before you today comes from my notes on Commander Chris Hadfield’s book, “An Astronaut’s Guide To Life On Earth”.

From Amazon: As Commander of the International Space Station, Chris Hadfield captivated the world with stunning photos and commentary from space. Now, in his first book, Chris offers readers extraordinary stories from his life as an astronaut, and shows how to make the impossible a reality.

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Chris Hadfield decided to become an astronaut after watching the Apollo moon landing with his family on Stag Island, Ontario, when he was nine years old, and it was impossible for Canadians to be astronauts. In 2013, he served as Commander of the International Space Station orbiting the Earth during a five-month mission. Fulfilling this lifelong dream required intense focus, natural ability and a singular commitment to “thinking like an astronaut.” In An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth, Chris gives us a rare insider’s perspective on just what that kind of thinking involves, and how earthbound humans can use it to achieve success and happiness in their lives.

Astronaut training turns popular wisdom about how to be successful on its head. Instead of visualizing victory, astronauts prepare for the worst; always sweat the small stuff; and do care what others think. Chris shows how this unique education comes into play with dramatic anecdotes about going blind during a spacewalk, getting rid of a live snake while piloting a plane, and docking with space station Mir when laser tracking systems fail at the critical moment. Along the way, he shares exhilarating experiences, and challenges, from his 144 days on the ISS, and provides an unforgettable answer to his most-asked question: What’s it really like in outer space?

Written with humour, humility and a profound optimism for the future of space exploration, An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth offers readers not just the inspiring story of one man’s journey to the ISS, but the opportunity to step into his space-boots and think like an astronaut — and renew their commitment to pursuing their own dreams, big or small.

Notes From An Astronaut’s Guide To Life On Earth:

You have a lot of choices regarding your future and every decision matters

Ask what an astronaut would do (or, insert occuption here) if he were your age and do that

What you do each day determines the kind of person that you will become

Do the things that move you in the direction of your dreams, but make sure those things interest you so that whatever happens, you’re happy

Be as ready as possible, just in case

Competency is one of the most important qualities to have

Training should be viewed as an end in itself, and not merely as a means to something better

All you can control is your attitude

If you have the time to spare, use it to get ready

Picture the most demanding challenge –> Visualize what you would need to do to meet it –> Practice until you’re competent

Fear comes from being unprepared and without control over what will happen

When focus starts drifting in training, think: “Whatever i’m training to fight may kill me.”

Hadfield’s kids would often make fun of him for having more homework than they did

Have a plan for dealing with problems as they arise

Visualize defeat and figure out how to prevent it

Helping someone else look good doesn’t make you look worse

Saying thank you isn’t enough when you ask someone to sacrifice for your dreams

As a leader, set up your team for success, then stand back and let them shine

“I would not be in the ISS again, but that’s ok, Earth is home to everyone I love”

So there you have it. My notes from a REAL Canadian hero, Commander Chris Hadfield.

Put very simply, if there’s some goal that you have, you need to start acting like someone would act if they were to eventually achieve that goal. In my career as a human rights activist, I need to know as much about what makes human flourishing possible, what is standing in our way, and I also need to become a positive example.

I hope these notes sparked your interest, or led to some new questions, or just made your life better in some way.

If they did, I’d love for you to consider donating to the phenomenal international non-profit, Doctors Without Borders. We operate all over the world, proving free medical services to those hardest hit by war, famine, and other disasters and atrocities. We never discriminate on the basis of gender, religion, ethnicity, etc. And we would be honored to receive your support.


Matt Karamazov is a human rights activist, boxer, and writer who reads 200 books per year and throws 300 punches per minute. His website, Godlike Discipline, is dedicated to raising money for causes like Doctors Without Borders, and Human Rights Watch, among others. It’s also dedicated to helping people tackle their biggest willpower challenges. He also like death metal, and so, consequently doesn’t get many second dates. Here he is on a horse.

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