Sunday Snippet: Commander Chris Hadfield

“Decide in your heart 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.”

He became something of a national (or even international) hero earlier this year when he assumed command of the International Space Station. Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield took a slightly different approach to his extraterrestrial mission, as we were all able to follow along on his journeys by way of his Twitter account. He’d tweet out each day about his experiences, oftentimes accompanying his status updates with breathtaking images.

When we look upon that pale blue dot and we can barely make out our cities, let alone our homes and our businesses, we very quickly realize just how small and petty our problems are. I wouldn’t say that we are insignificant, but it does mean that we should be putting all of our activities in context. We each mark but a small blip in interstellar history, so the onus falls on us to make that small blip matter.

The message provided by Commander Hadfield in the quote above echoes the sentiments that have been expressed by other great contemporary minds like Neil deGrasse Tyson and Michio Kaku. It’s not about the money. It’s not about the fame. Those are great, but above all else, we want our lives to matter and we want to be happy. Life is far too short to pursue interests that only frustrate and upset you.

“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.”

It goes without saying that when you do what you love, you will still encounter your fair share of challenges, but those challenges are what shape you into the person that you are. And it is up to you to decide what kind of person you want to be. This works in both directions. If you have a set of pre-existing aptitudes and interests, it only makes sense that you should develop those talents. And it is when you have your eyes set on those goals that you can best work to achieve them.

“Don’t let life randomly kick you into the adult you don’t want to become.”

Society has this nasty habit of telling you what you should and should not do. Society told me that it would be imprudent to pursue a career in freelance writing and that I should take a more conventional path. Society may tell you that it is impossible to be an astronaut and to see the Earth from beyond the clouds. But if you believe it and you put in the work, your dreams can very much become a very fruitful and rewarding reality.