Friday, April 4, 2008

Dr. Randy Pausch's Last Lecture: Achieving Your Childhood Dreams Through Living Right

There are many people in this world who truly inspire, through both their words and actions. I've posted about some of them: Nick Vujicic, Patrick Henry Hughes and his dad, Team Hoyt. In spite of being handed a grim deck of cards, or living lives full of adversity, these people somehow have been able to rise above their various, extremely challenging circumstances, and have found the positive in their lives.

I want to add to my list of heroes Carnegie Mellon Professor Dr. Randy Pausch, who is dying of pancreatic cancer. He gave a last lecture at the university on September 18, 2007, and later shared some of that speech with the Oprah Winfrey audience. At 47, with a wife and 3 young children you would think he would be bitter, but rather than wallow in self-pity, after being told he had only 3 to 6 months to live, he has decided to embrace his last days with joy, fun and gusto. Although the lecture's main emphasis is about achieving your childhood dreams, it's more about living life to the fullest. He talks of how, as children, we have a certain sense of fun and wonder, and he encourages us to retain that throughout our lives. We can choose to either live in a negative state of mind like Winnie The Pooh's Eeyor, or choose to embrace life in a positive manner like Tigger.

Some of the highlights of the shortened lecture:

-Choose to live life with integrity.

-If you screw up- apologize, but he adds that there are 3 steps to a true apology: 1. Saying you're sorry. 2. Claiming it was your fault. 3. Asking how you can make it right.

-Show gratitude.

-Don't complain, just work harder.

-If you conduct your life in the "right" way, karma will take care of everything and your dreams will come to you.

Some very wise words from a man faced with his own mortality.

Blessings Dr. Pausch for accepting death with such grace and dignity!!

The shorter Oprah version follows.


Wisconsin Mommy said...

I loved that speech as well. I taped the recent piece on him
(20/20? Dateline? one of those) and plan to play it anytime I think I have it tough. He is truly inspiring.

Incognito said...

Hey there! Not sure which one, but I think it's wonderful that he is still with us. But he does put everything into perspective.

Anonymous said...

How inspiring Randy Pausch is! If you liked "The Last Lecture", another fantastic memoir I just read and highly recommend is "My Stroke of Insight" by Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor. Her TEDTalk video ( has been seen as many times as The Last Lecture I think, and Oprah did 4 shows on her book, so there are a lot of similarities. In My Stroke of Insight, there's a happy ending though. It's an incredible story! I hear they're making it into a movie.

Incognito said...

thank you, i will look into it.