I have just watched what has to be one of the most inspiring lectures I will ever listen to in my life.
Randy Pausch is a professor at Carnegie-Mellon University. He has done a lot in his life. He was recently diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. He has somewhere between 11 to 15 tumors in his liver. He was told he has about three months to live and this lecture is one month into that timespan.
To view the entire lecture go here. If that link doesn’t work, here’s the actual address you need to open in your media player. (mms://wms.andrew.cmu.edu/001/pausch.wmv)
The lecture covered his dream goals in life and how he attained them, or not and how each achievement and rejection affected his life.
He marked out several specific well defined goals to achieve that for some are a far reach. Some of the goals included:
- being in zero gravity
- being Captain Kirk
- playing in the NFL
- becoming a Disney Imagineer
- get published in the World Book Encyclopedia
Along the way, he hit many brick walls. From being rejected to Carnegie-Mellon to being denied by a Dean to become an Imagineer. He talked about each obstacle he faced and what he took away from it, successful or not.
“Brick walls are there for a reason: They let us prove how badly we want things” while keeping everyone else away. This was a key idea that he continued to bring back up throughout the lecture.
When he spoke about the Dean blockading his acceptance to be an Imagineer at Disney, he jokingly said that some brick walls are made of flesh. Joking aside, that is something that is true far more often, in my experience, than I’d care to admit. Another nugget he shared from this event was that “its important to know when you’re in a pissing match and to back out of it as soon as possible”.
Some other advice he shared included:
- Decide if you are a Tigger or an Eeyore
- Never lose that child-like wonder
- Help others
- Get a feedback loop and listen to it
- Show gratitude
- Don’t complain; just work harder
- Be good at something; it makes you valuable
- Work hard
- Find the best in everybody
He also suggested what to do to get people to help you:
- Apologize when you screw up
- Focus on other people, not yourself
- Be earnest
- Tell the truth
The lecture was on the long side, but entirely worth every minute. I recommend everyone taking some time and sitting down to watch it.
“The brick walls let us show our dedication.”
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