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This is episode #563 of The Learning Leader Show. My guest is Dr. Mike Massimino.
The 3 Trusts - Trust your gear, trust your training, trust your team… And the 4th: trust yourself. Mike persisted through 3 rejections over 7 years on his way to becoming an astronaut, including overcoming a medical disqualification by training his eyes and brain to see better. Mike participated in a mission that significantly increased Hubble’s discovery potential and led to the award of a Nobel Prize in physics for the discovery of dark energy during a spacewalk. Why Mike was chosen to be an astronaut: Mike has a great combination of competence (he knows his stuff) and high character. He’s the type of guy that can get along and work with anyone. He’s honest, humble, and authentic. The power of having a deep passion for what you’re doing. Mike watched Neil Armstrong walk on the moon when he was six years old and then did whatever he could over the rest of his life to become an astronaut. His desire to become an astronaut led him to go to prestigious universities, earn his Ph.D., become a pilot, become scuba certified, develop great communication skills, and so much more. All of that work led to him accomplishing what he set out to do when he was just 6 years old. “I knew right then that I wanted to be a part of something that meaningful. I wanted to have something I was so passionate about that I'd be willing to risk everything for it. I wanted to know that if I ever got killed, I got killed doing something worthwhile. The kid who looked up at the moon and wasn't afraid to dream - I decided that part of me deserved a chance. I sat there in that reception area, watching the crash footage play over and over again on the television, and that was when it hit home for me: you only have one life. You have to spend it doing something that matters.” What Mike learned from Alan Bean: The most important lesson is to care for and admire everyone on your team. “My favorite lecturer was Alan Bean, who flew on Apollo 12 and is one of the twelve guys who walked on the moon. After retiring from NASA, he became a painter. Alan's lecture was called "The Art of Space Exploration." He talked about the mistakes he'd made and how he learned to fix them. One lesson that took him a while to learn was that at a place like NASA you can only have an effect on certain things. You can't control who likes you. You can't control who gets assigned to flights or what NASA's budget is going to be next year. If you get caught up worrying about things you can't control, you'll drive yourself nuts. It's better to focus on the things right in front of you. Identify the places where you can have a positive impact. Concentrate there and let the rest take care of itself. The last thing Alan said to us was 'What most people want in life is to do something great. That doesn't happen often. Don't take it for granted. Don't be blasé about it. And don't blow it. A lot of times, believe it or not, people blow it. “Kennedy’s address announcing the Apollo program was one of the great presidential speeches of all time. He challenged us. He excited us. We reach for impossible things, he said, “not because they are easy, but because they are hard.” Competence + Character = Trust. The Right Stuff - The Original 7 Astronauts. If you have a bad boss, what should you do: Stay the course Lead by example “Life is funny. I'd applied to the wrong graduate program, but that eventually led me to the right grad program. I'd taken what I thought was the wrong undergraduate major, and that was the thing that set me apart and allowed me to find my niche. I don't know if there are any lessons to take from that except to realize that the things you think are mistakes may turn out not to be mistakes. I realized wherever you are, if you make the mo