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An astronaut’s guide to life on earth

In VIDEO, VOCABULARY on January 22, 2014 at 10:04 pm

Chris Hadfield became famous when he performed David Bowie’s Space Oddity… in space! Watch the video here. Click subtitles for lyrics.

You can also check out his YouTube Channel.

Hadfield was Commander of the International Space Station, where he recorded the video.

Back on earth now, he has recently released a book: An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth.

In this video, he explains which skills were crucial to him during his time as Commander of the International Space Station, and which he deems important in his daily life back on earth. This video is part of the Macmillan Life Skills campaign.

So, life skills. What does an astronaut have to say about the skills you need to be successful in life?

First, he associates core (basic, standard) education with competence, or being competent (the ability to do something well / being able to do something well) [0:30-0:44]. But then he adds the “other things that will really make the difference”. Listen out for these key words [0:45-1:35]: communicate, prepare, visualise (related to vision, visible – form a picture in your mind).

The next life skill he discusses is the ability to prioritize: to put things in order of importance, to decide what is the most important thing that needs your immediate attention – your first/top/main priority. [1:41-3:05]

In the final part of the video [3:07-end] he focuses on what he calls soft skills (hint: hard skills are the more “traditional” skills that are taught in schools, tested and proven by diplomas, certificates, etc.). Find out what skills he has in mind  by listening for these key words: problems, learn, team, situation, attitude (the way you think and feel about something and the way you behave as a result).

Do leave a comment and tell us what for you are the most important skills for success in life. Do you think we need different skills to succeed in our personal and professional lives? Do you have any tips on how to develop those skills?


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