Randy Pausch was 47 years old when he died from pancreatic cancer. He was, as the Independent of London put it, “the dying man who taught America how to live.” His book, The Last Lecture, is an international bestseller and it offers many wonderful lessons about life.
Randy Pausch’s “last lecture” was delivered in September 2007, at Carnegie Mellon University, where he taught computer science. The lecture began with him standing before a screen beaming down chilling CT images of tumors in his liver, under the title…The Elephant in the Room. He then said to a stunned audience, “I have about 6 months to live.” He said, “I’m really in good shape, probably better shape than most of you,” … dropping to the floor to do push-ups.
He went on to say, “I’m dying and I’m having fun, and I’m going to keep having fun every day I have left.” He talked about his childhood dreams and what they had taught him about life. He said, “If you live your life the right way, the karma will take care of itself … your dreams will come to you.”
Randy Pausch really was a dying man who has taught America how to live.
He died on July 25, 2008, but his wisdom, his passion, and his attitude are lasting sources of inspiration for all of us. You can watch the video of ‘the last lecture’ here. The video is over an hour long. But I promise you it’s worth it.
Also see here some of my favourite quotes from the lecture.
“The brick walls are there for a reason. The brick walls are not there to keep us out. The brick walls are there to give us a chance to show how badly we want something. Because the brick walls are there to stop the people who don’t want it badly enough. They’re there to stop the other people.”
“We cannot change the cards we are dealt, just how we play the hand.”
“When it comes to men who are romantically interested in you, it’s really simple. Just ignore everything they say and only pay attention to what they do.”
“Experience is what you get when you didn’t get what you wanted. And experience is often the most valuable thing you have to offer.”
“The key question to keep asking is, Are you spending your time on the right things? Because time is all you have. ”
“It’s not about how to achieve your dreams, it’s about how to lead your life, … If you lead your life the right way, the karma will take care of itself, the dreams will come to you.”
Look, I’m going to find a way to be happy, and I’d really love to be happy with you, but if I can’t be happy with you, then I’ll find a way to be happy without you.”