My life’s ambition is to go into space, so a few years ago I applied to be an astronaut.
At the time anyone could apply to ESA (the European Space Agency), so I went to the doc and to the hospital, had a bunch of tests done, filled out the application form and sent it off.
There was little chance I would succeed. But it made perfect logical sense to try.
There are two ways of getting into space: (1) become a billionaire, or (2) get hired as a professional astronaut. Maybe one day I’ll be a billionaire but I don’t want to count on it. So I just applied.
Actually, all my best decisions are made when I ignore the chances of failure and just do it.
- Want to learn how to code? Ok, build a website.
- Want to try building a business? Ok, start one now.
- Want to find out if teaching would be a good career move? Ok, do it part-time and see whether it’s fun.
- Like that girl a lot? Ok, ask her out.
These simple decisions are the best.
A) You can’t regret them
If it doesn’t work out, no big deal. You did the logical thing and tried. Your mind is at rest. Ssshh now little brain.
B) You know exactly why you made them
It’s a simple formula. You won’t get confused about your motives. Want something? Ok, have a go.
C) You always gain something unexpected
Building a website taught me how the internet works. Starting a business taught me a million things that I put into a recent post (How I lost £1,500 when I was 23). Teaching part-time right now is making me 10x better at explaining stuff and speaking in public. And the last girl I asked out is going to become my wife next summer, so that one worked out pretty well too.
Worrying about failure kills good decisions. Whenever I worry I lose the magic power to make simple logical decisions and I waste my life fretting. I’m glad that didn’t happen with applying to be an astronaut.
The physical tests and most of the application form were ok, though I couldn’t really disguise my lack of a PhD in astrophysics or biology. The weakest bit though was when I had to describe my experience in radio communications:
I did hospital radio for two years when I was at school. I was a presenter and had my own weekly show.
But since I haven’t actually heard back from ESA, I assume they’ve got me on the reserve list.
Hopefully someone will drop out soon.
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