A man of many talents
To meet him, you'd never know how much talent is hiding behind that moustached smile. The Toronto-based spaceman is ever-humble and, ironically, seems to always have his feet firmly planted on the ground. Chris grew up on a farm in Ontario, where he was constantly learning new things and figuring out how to fix whatever was broken. He attributes his multitude of skills to part innate ability and part hard work.
"The things that I find a natural ability for, I try to become as good at them as I can," says Chris, shrugging off comments about his many strengths. "I personally feel that each of us should have an undeniable compulsion to make the most of our particular talents. Life will be fuller if you push those things to their limits."
Nothing is impossible
Chris has always been someone to rise to a challenge. Back when he was a nine-year-old watching the first moon landing, he made up his mind to become an astronaut, even though there wasn't a Canadian space program in existence at the time. Chris took the uncertainty—and near-impossibility—of the goal as a challenge, rather than a reason to quit.
It's an attitude he's maintained throughout his life. When Chris wanted to share his experience on the International Space Station (ISS) with the world, he enlisted the help of his web-wise son Evan and became one of the most social media–savvy people in the Twitter-verse. When he needed to take photos in space, he got instruction from skilled photographers to transform his average-at-best pictures into the awe-inducing images in his latest book, You Are Here: Around the World in 92 Minutes. (See his tips on how to improve your own photo skills.) In fact, photography is just one of about 1,000 things Chris was trained in before heading into space, along with electrical work, plumbing, computer repairs and even dental surgery!
Give it your best shot
Sure, no one's good at everything; Chris admits he's never been much of an artist and he's more of the "reheating type" in the kitchen (luckily, his wife's a trained chef). But that doesn't stop him from giving everything his best shot. And it pays off. When he came into our Test Kitchen, we were impressed not only by his fun food stories from space— like how the Russian cosmonauts on the ISS loved Tim Hortons coffee so much they referred to everything else as "deputy coffee" because it was second best—but also by his pizza-making skills. (Watch him create his three-cheese masterpiece at canadianliving.com/hadfieldpizza.)
Now that Chris is back on Earth, he's doing what every scientific and creative genius should: inspire and teach others to expand their own horizons. Between book-writing and speaking engagements, he's been teaching in aviation programs at the University of Waterloo. His advice is slightly more practical than the clichéd "shoot for the stars": "Give yourself the gift of a longterm, almost unattainable goal. The beauty of it is, it will shape your life in a direction that you naturally love."
Come celebrate our 40th anniversary with us! Enjoy our favourite recipes, tips and trends from the last four decades.
|This story was originally part of "Chris Hadfield" in the May 2015 issue. |
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