How to Stay Calm When You’re Going Blind in Space

Posted on April 10, 2016 by Dr. Lynda

What’s the scariest thing you’ve ever done? Why did you do it?

Today on EWC, astronaut Chris Hadfield will share a story with us about a spacewalk gone very wrong. It’s a story with a lesson us earthlings can find a pearl of wisdom from for our more ordinary lives.

Image: Chris Hadfield on space walk with North America below on earth
Source: BBC

In the mid-1990s, Chris Hadfield reached a dream he’d had since he was nine years old: he became an astronaut for NASA.

As an astronaut, he learned a lot of lessons, but while on his first spacewalk Hadfield he was faced with a problem that tested an important astronaut mantra:

There is no problem so bad that you can’t make it worse.

Check out what Chris Hadfield has to teach us about the difference between fear and danger…

Via: TED 1

A spacewalking mindset on earth…

How would the way we interact with problems change if we remembered that:

“The danger is entirely different than the fear.”

That is so true! How often do we act rashly and make a bad problem even worse? What is the real risk? Is there actual danger in your fear?

Maybe having the real goal in mind next time something goes wrong would keep me more composed and less emotional?

I wanted to try a little exercise out on my own fears. So, I chose a few problems I’m faced with solving next week, and I sat with a pen and paper for a few moments after just watching Chris Hadfield’s talk.

I thought about my problems and the outcomes that I feared the most, and then I more carefully imagined what I could do when things started to go the wrong way.

The actual danger is entirely different than my fear. My fear comes from telling myself the worst possible story about what will happen.

Image: Kids with pots on their headsThis is a great exercise for those moments when you feel almost too overwhelmed to even start in on your next adventure, and I suggest you give it a try!

Let’s see how you do. Take two problems that are really turning you inside out right now. Look at the difference between the actual danger and the rash story you are telling yourself.

We need to release ourselves from fears that keep us from following paths that lead us to beauty and possibilities we can never imagine!

If you liked this article, we suggest you check out another great TED Talk about what fear can teach us with Karen Thompson. Additionally, if you want to see more TED Talks, check out our Best of TED page for some of our favorites, or you can check out all of the TED Talks we have featured!

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Stay open, curious and hopeful!

~ Dr. Lynda