Decision making in space

“How do you survive in space?

Turns out that mental models are really useful.

In his book An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth, Chris Hadfield gives an in-depth look into the learning and knowledge required for a successful space mission.

Hadfield was, among other roles with NASA, the first Canadian commander of the International Space Station. He doesn’t call out mental models specifically, but the thinking he describes demonstrates a ton of them, from circle of competence to margin of safety.

His lessons are both counter-intuitive and useful far beyond space missions.

This one stood out to me as one very relevant in todays world:

“The best way to contribute to a brand-new environment is not by trying to prove what a wonderful addition you are. It’s by trying to have a neutral impact, to observe and learn from those who are already there, and to pitch in with grunt work wherever possible.”

You can find the whole article on Farnam Street.


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