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Ex-astronaut Mike Massimino shares 3 sensible tips that he learned at NASA to handle failure

Having worked with NASA for 18 years, Mike Massimino shares three tips that help him overcome failure in space and here on Earth.

Ex-astronaut Mike Massimino shares 3 sensible tips that he learned at NASA to handle failure
Cover Image Source: Instagram | @astromikemassimino

Failure is sometimes inevitable and often teaches people some crucial lessons in life. However, in that moment of feeling lost, one may feel despair and hopelessness. The need then is to find a way to get back up and move ahead with life, focusing on what comes next. CNBC Make It shared a profound insight on this topic from ex-NASA astronaut, Mike Massimino. 

Image Source: Senior Advisor for Space Programs, Intrepid Museum and Former NASA Astronaut Mike Massimino attends as Intrepid Museum hosts the Annual Salute To Freedom Gala on November 10, 2021, in New York City. (Photo by Theo Wargo/Getty Images for Intrepid Sea, Air, & Space Museum)
Image Source: Senior Advisor for Space Programs, Intrepid Museum and Former NASA Astronaut Mike Massimino attends as Intrepid Museum hosts the Annual Salute To Freedom Gala on November 10, 2021, in New York City. (Photo by Theo Wargo/Getty Images for Intrepid Sea, Air, & Space Museum)

The former astronaut’s life was exceptionally portrayed by George Clooney in the movie “Gravity.” The former astronaut compiled his wisdom together with that of his colleagues from NASA in his book, “Moonshot: A NASA Astronaut’s Guide to Achieving the Impossible.” In his book, Massimino shares his 18 years of learning from NASA.


 
 
 
 
 
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A post shared by Mike Massimino (@astromikemassimino)


 

Of these, three tips on handling failure are quite insightful. His first tip was, “Give yourself 30 seconds to feel bad.” Massimino has a theory for the same. He said that he received this bit of advice from his pilot, Rick “CJ” Sturckow. The former astronaut revealed that when he makes a mistake at work, he employs the 30-second window to feel bad. However, while doing the same, one must understand that feeling bad can pull a person down and make them feel like they’re in a hopeless void.


 
 
 
 
 
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A post shared by Mike Massimino (@astromikemassimino)


 

Massimino said his 30 seconds of feeling bad includes his self-pity, where he says things like, “How could I have done that? I should have thought more about our plan. If I get out of this one, I’ll be more careful in the future not to make this mistake again.” However, the trick is as soon as the 30 seconds are up, he too, is up and at it all over again. In those few seconds, the former astronaut ensures that he lashes out at himself if he needs to, figures out what went wrong and prepares himself to get better. The next tip is a crucially important one that many ignore. It reads, “Before you act, think about how it can get worse because it always can.”


 
 
 
 
 
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A post shared by Mike Massimino (@astromikemassimino)


 

When something goes wrong, the first idea is to react. However, Massimino says that’s a mistake because it can always get worse. What the astronauts call the Hoot’s Law is the idea that things can get worse no matter how badly one has messed up. Massimino shares that an impulsive reaction to one problem will most certainly cause a second problem. “Now you have to fix problem B before you can come to problem A,” he said. The former astronaut takes 30 seconds and then steps back to figure out what can be done to solve the problem. It includes asking for advice, being conscious, etc. “Don’t fire off that email right away. Take a beat,” he adds.


 
 
 
 
 
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A post shared by Mike Massimino (@astromikemassimino)


 

The third and final tip was, “Remind yourself of what you have in common with your teammates.” Group conflict is inevitable, but when that strikes, Massimino looks at his “bank of good thoughts.” The former astronaut explains that when conflict takes place, identify a way to admire the team. “Maybe you don’t naturally connect with them, but they are there for a reason and you are there for a reason; everyone has something to add to the team,” he says. Above all, when conflict arises, Massimino recommends being caring toward the team so that being on a calm wavelength, they may be more open to different opinions.


 
 
 
 
 
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A post shared by Mike Massimino (@astromikemassimino)


 

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