Tuesday, February 16, 2010

The Last Lecture.. Randy Pausch..



In Randy Pausch’s Last Lecture at Carnegie Mellon University in the Fall of 2007, facing pancreatic cancer and the likelihood that he would only live a month or two, Randy summed up his life’s wisdom for his kids (then 1,2, and 5). He gave his lecture to several hundred in a CMU auditorium, but it has now been viewed on YouTube by millions of Americans. It’s enormously inspiring, tear-rendering and well worth your time if you haven’t seen it.

I love his quotes:

  • When there’s an elephant in the room introduce him
  • Brick walls are there for a reason. The brick walls are not there to keep us out. The brick walls are there to show how badly we want something.Because the brick walls are there to stop the people who don’t want something badly enough. They are there to keep out the other people.
  • If there’s anything I want to do so badly, I should have already done it.
  • We can’t change the cards we are dealt, just how we play the hand. If I’m not as depressed as you think I should be, I’m sorry to disappoint you.
  • Work and play well together.
    - Tell The Truth. All The Time. No one is pure evil.
    - Be willing to apologize. Proper apologies have three parts: 1) What I did was wrong. 2) I’m sorry that I hurt you. 3) How do I make it better? It’s the third part that people tend to forget…. Apologize when you screw up and focus on other people, not on yourself.
    - Show gratitude. Gratitude is a simple but powerful thing.
    - Find the best in everybody…. Wait long enough, and people will surprise and impress you. It might even take years, but people will show you theirgood side. Just keep waiting.
    - If you want to achieve your dreams, you better learn to work and play well with others…[you have] to live with integrity.
  • Collaboration, treating others with respect.
    - Never found anger a way to make things better.
    - How do you get people to help you? You can’t get there alone. People have to help you and I do believe in karma. I believe in paybacks. You get people to help you by telling the truth. Being earnest. I’ll take an earnest person over a hip person any day, because hip is short term. Earnest is long term.
    - Loyalty is a two-way street.
    - Get a feedback loop and listen to it. Your feedback loop can be this dorky spreadsheet thing I did, or it can just be one great man who tells you what you need to hear. The hard part is the listening to it.
  • Persistence and hard work.
    - When you are doing something badly and no one’s bothering to tell you anymore, that’s a very bad place to be. Your critics are the ones still telling you they love you and care.
    - Don’t bail: the best gold is at the bottom of barrels of crap
    - Don’t complain, Just work harder. [showing picture on screen] That’s a picture of Jackie Robinson. It was in his contract not to complain, even when the fans spit on him. You can spend it complaining or playing the game hard. The latter is likely to be more effective.
    - Experience is what you get when you didn’t get what you wanted…. I probably got more from that dream [of playing professional football] and not accomplishing it than I got from any of the ones that I did accomplish.
  • Fun, wonder, living your dream.
    - Decide if you’re a Tigger or an Eyeore. I’m a Tigger.
    - It is not about achieving your dreams but living your life. If you lead your life the right way, the karma will take care of itself, the dreams will come to you.
    - Never underestimate the importance of having fun. I’m dying and I’m having fun. And I’m going to keep having fun every day, because there’s no other way to play it….Having fun for me is like a fish talking about the importance of water. I don’t know how it is like not to have fun…
    - Never lose the child-like wonder. It’s just too important. It’s what drives us. Help others.
  • Risk-taking.
    - You can tell the pioneers by the arrows in their backs. But at the end of the day, a whole lot of people will have a whole lot of fun.
    - Better to fail spectacularly than do something mediocre. [Randy Pausch gave out a First Penguin award each year when he was teaching to the biggest failure in trying something big and new because he thought this should be celebrated. First Penguins are the ones that risk that the water might be too cold.]
  • Parenting and kids.
    - The best piece of parenting advice I’ve ever heard is from flight attendants. If things get really tough, grab your own oxygen mask first.
    - About his pancreatic cancer: It’s unlucky, but it not unfair. We all stand on a dartboard and some of us randomly get hit by pancreatic cancer. But my children won’t have me for them and that’s not fair.
    - Someone’s going to push my family off a cliff pretty soon and I won’t be there to catch them and that breaks my heart. But I have some time to sew some nets to cushion the fall so that seems like the best and highest use of my time and I better get to work.
    - I’m sorry I won’t be around to raise my kids. It makes me very sad but I can’t change that fact, so I did everything I could with the time I have and the time I had to help other people.
    - Importance of people instead of things. Told story of buying new convertible that he was so proud of and taking niece and nephew for a ride. Randy’s sister, the kid’s mother was telling them how important it was to keep car pristine and kids were laughing because at the same time he was pouring a can of orange soda on the back seats. His sister asked what are you doing and he said “it’s just a thing.” And nephew Chris wound up being really grateful because he had flu and wound up throwing up on way home. “And I don’t care how much joy you get out of owning a shiny new thing; it’s not as good I felt from making sure that an 8 year old didn’t have to feel guilty for having the flu.”
    - [not a direct quote] but Randy implores parents to always indulge your children’s wild ideas (he talks about how important it was that his parents let him decorate his walls with math formulas, despite the negative impact on their house’s resale value) He says: “If you’re going to have childhood dreams you should have great parents who let you pursue them and express your creativity.”
    - It is Important to have specific childhood dreams. (For example, Randywanted to play football in the NFL, write an article for the World Book Encyclopedia, experience the Weightlessness of Zero Gravity, be Captain Kirk from Star Trek, work for the Disney Company.)
  • Be good at something; it makes you valuable…. Have something to bring to the table, because that will make you more welcome.
  • I’ve never understood pity and self-pity as an emotion. We have a finite amount of time. Whether short or long, it doesn’t matter. Life is to be lived.
  • To be cliché, death is a part of life and it’s going to happen to all of us. I have the blessing of getting a little bit of advance notice and I am able to optimize my use of time down the home stretch.

7 comments:

  1. What an excellent post! Thanks for sharing this!

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  2. U r welcome Shauna.. Thank u for visiting my blog..

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  3. Thank you for this wonderful post Yang Jun! I've had to be a risk taker in order to survive...and I never realized that's just what I was doing (risk taking) until I accomplished what I had to and had made the decision to...I now look back and realize the changes in me...and my patience with others..knowing and experiencing so much in my life has helped me to understand and be more compassionate and reaching out to others...yet finding boundaries and balance at the same time. A work in process.

    Lovely post you took a lot of time with it..

    Love and Blessings,

    Rhi

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  4. Rhiannon.. Thank u again for ur lovely comment.. And I'm really glad for your work in process, or better say our work in process, cuz I'm also trying my best in it.. Thanx again :)~

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  5. What can I say?
    I have watched his "last lecture" for many times. It has been probably the most inspiring lecture I have ever seen in my life.
    One of his quotes are right here, on my wall, in front of me: "The brick walls are there...".

    Thanks for reminding me,
    Payam

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  6. I'm happy to hear that you liked it Payam.. He was a great man.. I really like his wonderful way of putting words together and coming out with those beautiful sentences.. May his soul rest in peace..

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  7. Thanks for the good words of reminder. If death was the end, life would be depressing. But its finality is illusion. See through it and we enter life eternal, even before we pass that mile post. No regrets.

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