As you sit at your computer clicking buttons, swiping around, downloading new apps, don't forget that there's still a wealth of useful knowledge you can tap into that exists outside of the Internet.

In fact, you can just ask Scott Kelly, American astronaut, who cites one book as a major factor in his success. Just after completing his master's degree at the University of Tennessee, he was selected by NASA -- ultimately spending two decades as pilot and commander of a space shuttle. With his crew, he helped upgrade the systems on the Hubble Space Telescope, and, just as recently as 2016, became the very first American astronaut to spend 12 months in a row in orbit on the International Space Station. 

A successful career like Kelly's is not always guaranteed. One needs a proper work ethic and drive to withstand the challenges of a remarkably unique path like an astronaut's. Where do you find inspiration to sustain this kind of work ethic? 

According to Kelly, it was not until age 18, when he read Tom Wolfe's book, "The Right Stuff," (which is about early space programs in the US) that he felt the push to work hard in his studies and passionately pursue a NASA career. 

As Kelly states, he was "not a genius growing up." He was, "the kid that couldn't do his homework." "But," he notes, "I found this inspiration -- 18 years later I was flying in space."

Kelly's story goes to show that you can find inspiration anywhere, even from a simple novel. So long as you get specific on what you want and work towards it, it doesn't matter so much where exactly you start. 

"A lot of people think [that] to be a scientist you have to be a genius. I am here to tell you," Kelly reminds us, "that that is not the case."

Published on: Apr 20, 2018
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.