They really did save the best for last at the 2014 Growing the North Conference. Col. Chris Hadfield, astronaut and former Commander of the International Space Station was absolutely awesome. Col. Hadfield didn’t just show us pictures from his adventures in outer space, although he did have some of those, but he had stories and ‘useful thoughts’ that he shared. Having travelled over 2600 times around the planet I suspect that gives a pretty good background for those ‘useful thoughts’ he referred to. There was tidbits of wisdom throughout the Colonels presentation like; ‘I can only affect my decision making,’ Best I can do is get ready’, and ‘I never measured my self-worth by if I failed’.
Col. Hadfield occasionally showed his artistic philosophical side when he painted pictures for us with his words like; ‘the Great Lakes look like a little shower puddle on the sidewalk and yet they hold 1/5 of the fresh water in the world’. He talked about the complexity of the tasks he regularly took on using a negative context to lighten the situation; ‘There is no problem so bad that you can’t make it worse’. Col. Hadfield mused about our level of stupidity as a human race when you consider we only know about 6% of the universe and our arrogance when you reflect on how delicate our existence is on our planet. One of the questions asked at the end of the session was, “What did he think was the biggest threat to the earth?” He suggested what the questioner was really asking was “What is our biggest threat?” And his answer; “The earth will be fine, our biggest threat to us is ourselves.”
Each of the participants at the conference were given Col. Hadfield’s book and I look forward to reading it. This presentation could have gone on much longer as we were all spell bound and I couldn’t possibly capture even a small portion of the insight and wisdom this man shared with us. Col. Chris Hadfield made us all want to look for the edge of our horizon and to strive to refresh our competency.
Written on behalf of GPRC’s CRI: this is the last in the series of posts by Janet highlighting the speakers from the 2014 Growing the North Conference.