Chris Hadfield – Lessons From An Astronaut

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Today’s episode will make you look at the world in a new way.

I have dreamt about interviewing Chris Hadfield for a long time.

His book An Astronaut’s Guide To Life On Earth is one of my favourites, and I have always felt this special affinity with the man.

Commander Hadfield gives off this profound and powerful humanity.

And quite honestly, I get the feeling he would have been like that had he never set foot on a space station or left the earth’s atmosphere.

Despite his scientific background, his talent for music and his famed attention to detail, I get the sense that Chris lives for new experiences, new perspectives and a deeper connection to life.

Chris tells me about some unimaginable things.

Stories about travelling a thousand times round the sun, and crossing the solar system.

He says you don’t just get to know the earth from this perspective, you begin to feel it in your bones, and see just how connected and dependent on each other we really are.

When we disrupt our consciousness in this way, our minds literally expand.

And as Chris told me, the bigger and clearer the perspective we have on our lives, the better decisions we make.

Powerful stuff.

You might have first encountered Chris Hadfield after he started posting pictures on Twitter when he was commanding the International Space Station.

His rise to fame as a social media phenomenon didn’t come from a casual decision.

It happened because he was simply compelled to share his experiences and to capture the astonishing views he was privy to every day.

He had to take pictures and he felt a duty to share.

It is one thing to experience new perspectives, quite another to share those new visions and possibilities with other people.

Forbes Magazine called Chris the most social media savvy astronaut ever. It is an important achievement.

Chris has harnessed the connective power of our age, and he is helping shift the way we think about ourselves and the planet we live on.

His message is crucial at this moment in history, and it takes the humility and quick thinking intelligence of someone like Chris Hadfield to pull it off.

You will also know Chris from the viral music video he made in space, covering the late David Bowie’s Space Oddity.

Again, part of the power of this video is how it shifted people’s perspective on the song, and what life in space is really like.

David Bowie was a genius at making people see themselves in new ways, and Chris Hadfield did the same thing with a short video that has now been seen 27million times.

Chris puts it beautifully when he says that a shared understanding empowers us more than anything else.

This “overview effect” that astronauts get gazing on the planet from outer space is something we try to emulate every week here on London Real.

Not only do we try to find guests whose perspectives will shock us out of our assumptions and push us into new possibilities, we also create those possibilities simply through the honesty and power of the connections we make.

Every now and then, I get this feeling with a guest. I just know that the energy of this special moment is going to spread to millions of people around the world.

London Real is about new perspectives, shared and communicated in an empowering and revolutionary way.

Each conversation reminds us of the connection we have to each other.

My time with Chris Hadfield is a highlight of my life as a broadcaster.

When I experience a shift in my own world view, and I feel the human connection deeper than I did before, you guys experience it too.

I know you guys have been waiting for this conversation for a long time, so here it is.

[0:09:50] Introduction.

[0:11:00] What it’s like to be like to come to London? Getting Perspective of London.

[0:13:40] As a Canadian astronaut working with Americans and Russians.

[0:16:00] Do you miss Russia?

[0:18:30] The most social media savvy astronaut according to Forbes.

[0:18:40] The Overview Effect. Room the movie.

[0:21:28] Seeing the world in its totality.

[0:22:43] I was there on behalf of a lot of people and I am compelled to share what I’ve seen. We collective can make better decisions when we can see the whole thing.

[0:24:00] Transfering images from camera to sharing images on Twitter

[0:25:30] Hopefully when we all get older, we all get a little bit of the overview effect. We are all students of nature.

[0:25:48] The overview effect is the collective understanding of where we are and what it means.

[0:26:20] Hey I just thought of this, anyone else also thought of this?

[0:27:25] Being in space twice. And the third flight for almost half a year.

[0:28:30] The experience of spacewalk and being fear of height.

[0:30:40] Feeling the environment that you are in. Swanlake. Life or death.

[0:33:20] Stakes are extremely high.

[0:34:43] Eyes started to tear. What you gonna do. So I just toughen it out.

[0:35:19] So then I was truly blind.

[0:35:51] Simulating being incapacitated underwater.

[0:38:25] Things are going to go wrong.

[0:39:21] Prepare for failure.

[0:40:00] When things happen, how ready are you to deal with it.

[0:41:00] The habit of being prepared doesn’t change the process of being creative or invention.

[0:44:20] Music is always recovery.

[0:45:00] July 16th 1969, my brother was born. With 16 second of fuels left. Touch down. The Eagle has landed.

[0:47:00] It was permission to me. It wasn’t fate. This was a personification of human ingenuity and drive and desire to understand and then to cooperate, to make something happen at the edge of our capability. Impossible things happened. Inspired me to change. It really was the tipping point that started the process.

[0:48:27] Test pilots. Flying an F-18 doing the Out Of Control programme.

[0:49:18] Control theory. It was the hardest year of my academic year.

[0:50:00] Being a test pilot.

[0:51:00] Test pilots are not cowboys and the cavalier cowboys all die.

[0:53:40] -1,0,+1

[0:54:10] As a F-18 pilot, I had with  flip of a button to significantly change history.

[0:55:50] Aiming for zero.

[0:57:10] Selectively being a plus one.

[0:58:00] Readjusting back to earth.

[1:01:00] Psychology of astronauts. Thinking about the bigger picture rather than the sacrifice.

[1:02:35] Commander Hadfield after space.

[1:03:40] How you share the experience maybe just as important as the experience itself.

[1:04:40] Sharing the experience.

[1:07:00] Space Oddity by David Bowie.

[1:10:00] Doing a video.

[1:12:10] People had an incomplete idea of what the ISS looked like.

[1:14:58] First crew to Mars. How to keep everyone psychologically productive.

[1:16:40] We are Martians, we are no longer Earthlings.

[1:18:00] Success Secrets

[1:18:56] Who comes to mind when you think of the word successful.

[1:21:10] Success is individual.

[1:22:30] Call to the 20 year old Chris Hadfield.

Chris Hadfield’s Official Website

Chris Hadfield on Wikipedia

Chris Hadfield on Facebook Page

Chris Hadfield on Twitter @Cmdr_Hadfield

Chris Hadfield’s  Youtube Channel

Chris Hadfield’s Blog on Tumblr

An Astronaut’s Guide To Life On Earth 

Chris Hadfield’s TEDTalk – What I learned from going blind in space


Useful Links

Space Oddity

Room Movie 


5 Comments on "Chris Hadfield – Lessons From An Astronaut"

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John Robinson
4 months 17 days ago

Hey Brian, i just noticed that Chris will be attending this years Bilderberg – any chance of some inside scoops? 😉

8 months 18 days ago

What was his answer about his daily rituals? The commercial of London cut that part out.

8 months 20 days ago
That was awe-inspiring. I hope that Chris gets his wish and there’ll be a second, unscripted meeting where he, too, gets to learn something about Brian. Not because the questions weren’t good (he definitely did his homework well) or because the answers weren’t good (they were incredibly well thought-out). But I had the feeling Chris was looking for some connection (and he did actually explain it near the end of the interview) but kept bouncing off the wall of Brian’s prepared questions. I think he handled all the questions well; still, there remained a sense of it all being not… Read more »
8 months 17 days ago

Yes I hear what you say. I loved the interview big big time and yet there was potential for more. The format might be in the way of that deeper connection.

Lucky Jide Salu
8 months 29 days ago

Brilliant stuff….can’t wait.


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