Being Prepared

I am reading Chris Hadfields' book, An Astronaut's Guide To Life On Earth.  In the part that I have read so far, he talks at length of being prepared for the worst thing that can happen to person's who fly into space.  Lot's of things can go wrong, many of which can be rehearsed, while others require skill, focus and presence to fix in the moment in order to avoid the ultimate disaster which is to die.  One of the biggest dangers is to make an already serious situation worse by taking a wrong action due to the fear caused by the situation.  "We're trained to respond unemotionally by immediately prioritizing threats and methodically seeking to defuse them.  We go from wanting to bolt for the exit to wanting to engage and understand what's going wrong, then fix it"

Since very few people have the life of an astronaut, how do we get the training which will automatically make us want to engage and understand what's going wrong, then fix it?  The simple answer is that, for the most part, our training is more about being informed rather than problem solving.  We have the capability at some level, but are more likely to want to bolt for the exit.

I have found The Happy Heart Journal to be instrumental in creating the training to engage in problem solving as a first response mechanism rather than a first response of the emotions of fear dread, anger or guilt.  When your emotions are causing you to look for the exit, there is a much higher probability of taking an action that will make the situation worse.  Since you aren't likely to die from the challenging situation, it is likely that your first response will continue to be emotional.

Each day when I write in The Happy Heart Journal I can anticipate potential stressful or challenging situations and use The Celebration of Success as a way to use problem solving based on facts to pre-empt the emotional response for the specific issue. I write about the facts of the situation and remind myself to stay grounded. The result is most often better and for sure feels better, providing momentum to repeat the process.  Since I go into the day with a problem solving mindset, the odds are better that unanticipated issues will be approached in this way as well.  A new habit starts to emerge and there is a saving of a million bucks for astronaut training. [Russell}