Scott Kelly — Lessons Learned from 500+ Days in Space, Life-Changing Books, and The Art of Making Hard Choices (#478)

Illustration via 99designs

If the Earth was flat, wouldn’t the edge be the most popular tourist attraction on Earth? I would just go set up a taco truck and make a billion dollars with my edge-of-the-Earth tacos.

— Scott Kelly

Scott Kelly (@StationCDRKelly) is a former military fighter pilot and test pilot, an engineer, a retired astronaut, and a retired US Navy captain. A veteran of four space flights, Scott commanded the International Space Station (ISS) on three expeditions and was a member of the yearlong mission aboard the ISS, the single longest space mission by an American astronaut. In October 2015, he set the American record for the total accumulated number of days spent in space.

Go for Launch: How to Dream, Lead, and Achieve is Scott’s two-hour audio course available exclusively on Knowable. In this candid and entertaining audio course, Scott shares instructive stories from his childhood in New Jersey, his days as a US Navy test pilot, and his year hurtling around the globe at 17,500 mph and teaches hard-earned lessons on perseverance, personal motivation, and the human side of success, drawn from his experiences in the most competitive, extreme environments imaginable. You can find it now at knowable.fyi/scott.

Please enjoy!

Listen to the episode on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Overcast, Stitcher, Castbox, Google Podcasts, or on your favorite podcast platform.

Brought to you by Rokform rugged cases for iPhone and Galaxy, Athletic Greens all-in-one supplement, and 99designs global creative platform. More on all three below.

#478: Scott Kelly — Lessons Learned from 500+ Days in Space, Life-Changing Books, and The Art of Making Hard Choices


Download

This episode is brought to you by Rokform! Rokform is the active lifestyle iPhone and Galaxy protective case company. Their protection is beyond great, with thousands of 5-star reviews and customer testimonials—or “Survival Stories” as Rokform calls them—that include a drop from the upper deck of a baseball stadium and a 75-foot cellphone tower fall.

Rokform’s rugged cases have been called the Swiss Army Knives of phone cases due to a versatile design that allows you to use your iPhone or Galaxy phone in ways you never thought possible. Each case is built around an integrated magnet that is completely safe for your phone. The magnet allows you to instantly attach your device to any magnetic surface—toolboxes, file cabinets, refrigerators, golf carts, you name it. The Tim Ferriss Show listeners — that’s you! — get 25% off at Rokform.com when you use promo code TIM.


This episode is brought to you by Athletic Greens. I get asked all the time, “If you could only use one supplement, what would it be?” My answer is usually Athletic Greens, my all-in-one nutritional insurance. I recommended it in The 4-Hour Body in 2010 and did not get paid to do so. I do my best with nutrient-dense meals, of course, but AG further covers my bases with vitamins, minerals, and whole-food-sourced micronutrients that support gut health and the immune system. 

Right now, Athletic Greens is offering you their Vitamin D Liquid Formula free with your first subscription purchase—a vital nutrient for a strong immune system and strong bones. Visit AthleticGreens.com/Tim to claim this special offer today and receive the free Vitamin D Liquid Formula with your first subscription purchase! That’s up to a one-year supply of Vitamin D as added value when you try their delicious and comprehensive all-in-one daily greens product.


This episode is brought to you by 99designs, the global creative platform that makes it easy for designers and clients to work together to create designs they love. Its creative process has become the go-to solution for businesses, agencies, and individuals, and I have used it for years to help with display advertising and illustrations and to rapid-prototype the cover for The Tao of Seneca. Whether your business needs a logo, website design, business card, or anything you can imagine, check out 99designs.

You can work with multiple designers at once to get a bunch of different ideas or hire the perfect designer for your project based on their style and industry specialization. It’s simple to review concepts and leave feedback so you’ll end up with a design that you’re happy with. Click this link and get $20 off plus a $99 upgrade.

What was your favorite quote or lesson from this episode? Please let me know in the comments.

SCROLL BELOW FOR LINKS AND SHOW NOTES…

Want to hear another episode with someone who has a fascination with space? Listen to my conversation with Columbia physics and astronomy professor Janna Levin, in which we discuss youthful indiscretion, omnivorous reading, Möbius strips, philosophy 101, UFOs, and much more.

#445: Janna Levin on Extra Dimensions, Time Travel, and How to Overcome Boots in the Face

Download


SELECTED LINKS FROM THE EPISODE

  • Connect with Scott Kelly:

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

SHOW NOTES

Note from the editor: Timestamps will be added shortly.

  • Lesson excerpt: the smartest person on the mission.
  • Scott tells us how his mom was breaking boundaries right here on Earth in West Orange, New Jersey during the 1960s, and how it inspired his brother and him to aim high (really high!) with their own ambitions.
  • Many astronauts come from an elite pool of overachievers, but as someone who graduated from high school among the lower half of his peers, Scott was atypical in this respect. What catalyzed his course correction?
  • Self-describing as “a below-average guy performing at an above-average level,” how did Scott find the right approach to sustaining the momentum necessary to succeed?
  • How did Scott begin to put his plans in action, and what did his twin brother Mark — who also went on to become an astronaut and a senator — do to nudge further correction to a course that might have otherwise faltered when there was a choice to be made between going to a frat party and studying for a calculus test?
  • Can Scott point to any failures that set him up for later success?
  • Incidentally, how does flying an F-14 Tomcat differ from flying a space shuttle?
  • What books has Scott most gifted to others?
  • On scientific literacy, taco trucks, and how someone might develop a larger capacity to separate fact from fiction.
  • What would it really take to expand humanity’s presence beyond Earth to — for example — Mars, and why is it important even if it shouldn’t be seen as a “plan b” for our collective future should we fail in the stewardship of Earth?
  • Why did Scott produce Go For Launch on Knowable, and what does he hope people will take away from it?
  • What would Scott’s billboard say?
  • In space, no one can hear you cry.
  • Parting thoughts.

PEOPLE MENTIONED