Saturday, March 5, 2011

Randy Pausch – The Last Lecture, a reminder

I first stumbled upon the video of Randy Pausch’s The Last Lecture three years ago on a blog by a Swiss friend that I met in Penang just prior to moving to Sarawak.  I admit, I had tears in my eyes, but I was immensely inspired. Then my wife came across it last year and I watched it again.  If you have a spare hour or so and you’ve never watched this before, by all means do so.  If you just don’t have the time because your life is so hectic, then maybe you need this more than everyone else. If you've already seen it, maybe you need to see it again to put your life back into perspective.  It worked for me.

If you are scheduled to give a last lecture, as part of a series, and then you found out that you were going to die (and you're only 47) so this really was going to be your last lecture, what would you talk about?  And who would your last lecture really be for?  Your colleagues and students, or your own children?  And what would be your underlying message?  Randy Pausch talks about achieving your childhood dreams.   He talks about brick walls that are placed in your path that stops most people cold.  Walls designed to keep everyone out, except you, but you got to find your way around it!  That’s the bigger message for me.

After seeing the video (or before), check this out for more about Randy Pausch. There are also follow up clips out there that you can easily find by googling his name, and yes, it’s been turned into a book (with a 6.7 million dollar advance).  But at some point, do take some time to reflect on your own life, which we should all do now and then, and really put it in perspective.  That is what this Last Lecture did for me.  

Since it’s so easy to lose that perspective as we get caught up in all that other stuff that life throws at us, seeing this every couple of years will bring you back to what’s really important in your life, achieving your childhood dreams. Or maybe even appreciating your life, your family, before it’s all taken away from you, and it will someday.  When that day comes, assuming you get some advance notice, what would you want to share with the world?  What legacy will you leave behind?

Alfred Nobel was aghast when he saw his premature obituary (his brother had died, not him).  In a French newspaper it was proclaimed, "The merchant of death is dead".  His major legacy, among his many other inventions used for war, was dynamite.  Wanting to change that legacy, he created the Nobel Prize.  
       -Borneo Expat Writer

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