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Destler Dodge

I recently finished reading “An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth” by Chris Hadfield, one of the most decorated astronauts in history and the first Canadian to walk in space. This book was a treasure trove of little wisdom nuggets, but the one that stuck with me the most was Hadfield’s point of view on what he calls “the big moments”:

“If you start thinking that only your biggest and shiniest moments count, you’re setting yourself up to feel like a failure most of the time.”

This resonated with me, I think, because like everyone else my age, I grew up being told that I could do anything I wanted – which makes it hard to stomach the everyday setbacks. It makes it hard to wait for the opportunities to come my way. I feel as if every day that goes by in which I don’t do something extraordinary is a day wasted. It wasn’t until I read Hadfield’s book that I realized that was a good way to discount the majority of my life, and make myself miserable in the bargain.

Since finishing the book, I’ve started keeping track of the things I accomplish each and every day, no matter how small. I give myself points for cooking breakfast, for solving both big and small problems, for helping friends, for giving compliments to strangers. For some people, just getting out of bed every day is a momentous achievement. Why don’t we give ourselves more credit when credit is due?

I think that as long as you’re trying, as long as you set goals and you are doing all you can to make those a reality, as long as you enjoy the process of getting ready as much or more than you enjoy recognition – then you’ve got something really good going. The satisfaction with knowing you worked hard on something you cared about is honestly a reward in itself. We don’t need anyone else to tell us we did a good job. We can do that for ourselves.