Tuesday, May 18, 2010

THE LAST LECTURE by Randy Pausch

RANDY PAUSCH  : His Last Lecture

Time is all you have. And you may find one day that you have less time than you think. - Randy Pausch

I was introduced this video  ( 1 hour 16 mins long ) last October '09 and and viewed it again last week. On both occasions I was touched and overwhelmed by it.  As of now , Randy Pausch's Last Lecture at  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ji5_MqicxSo  has been downloaded by over 11.5 million viewers. Download and watch it - you will not regret it. It'll be an excellent investment of your time to do it.

Other download options can be found here : www.cmu.edu/uls/journeys/randy-pausch

Randy Pausch  was a computer science Professor at Carnegie Mellon University. His speciality was on  human computer interaction and design, and he  co-founded Carnegie Mellon’s Entertainment Technology Center and was the creator of the Alice interactive computing program, which is now being used by students worldwide.

 Knowing he was dying from pancreatic cancer with only less than 6 months to live, he gave his last lecture at the university on  Sept. 18, 2007 before a packed audience of 400. The Last Lecture is a university tradition in which a professor who is retiring talks about his teaching and life experience into one final lesson. It is one  last chance to say “You were my students, this is exactly what I wish for you to remember me by.”

In his moving presentation, “Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams,” Pausch talked about lessons he'd learned in life  and gave advice to students on how to achieve their own career and personal goals. Rather than focusing on dying, it was a speech about living, and about achieving one's dreams and enabling the dreams of others, and most about truly living each day as though it were your last.

 His main purpose of the Last Lecture to his college students was for the purpose of having something his children could watch years later and to have something great from which to remember their father. Even though he knows that he will be dying in the next few months , he was upbeat and humorous, displayed great dignity and passion giving this lecture shrugging off the pity associated with those diagnosed with terminal illness .

His most well remembered statement at the start of the lecture was : "If I don't seem as depressed or morose as I should be, sorry to disappoint you." He further joke with the audience saying " I am in phenomenally good health right now; it's the greatest cognitive dissonance you will ever see -- the fact is, I'm in better shape than most of you," he said. And then, to the applause of his audience, Dr. Pausch  did a set of pushups on the stage floor.  He said "So anyone who wants to cry or pity me can come down here and do a few of those, and then you may pity me,". 

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.net/pg/07262/818671-298.stm#ixzz0o5zfCOyR
University web link : http://www.cmu.edu/randyslecture/

Shortly after the lecture was presented, a book was written to better educate people on Randy Pausch's methods of living a more fulfilling life, by simply achieving your childhood dreams. The book was aptly titled THE LAST LECTURE and was published in April 2008 by Hyperion. He co-wrote the book with  Jeffrey Zaslow, a columnist for The Wall Street Journal. With a desire to elaborate on his ideas in print form, but not wanting to take precious time away from his children, Pausch being an  efficiency nut, spent fifty-three daily bike rides on his cellphone headset conveying his thoughts to Zaslow who helped shape the stories into book form.

The Last Lecture is a  book that can be easily read in just a few sittings. It is full of his life stories and aphorisms.  The Last Lecture addresses more of his struggles with cancer than it did in video form, but always from the angle of a challenge requiring a creative solution, which is how Randy Pausch seems to have approached his entire life. He said " you have to mind the happy medium between being in denial and letting it overwhelm you". The cancer gave him the chance to spend as much possible time with his family and getting their life ready for when he passes away.

About his wife and children, he said, " they mean everything to me. They give a purpose to life and a depth of joy that no job [and I've had some of the most awesome jobs in the world] can begin to provide.
"I hope my wife is able to remarry down the line. And I hope they will remember me as a man who loved them, and did everything he could for them."

Book link : http://www.thelastlecture.com/ 

I bought the 4 hour audiobook for US$8 ( a discounted member's price )  from Audible.com  ( normal price is US$15.37 ). The book can be purchased at all leading bookshops eg MPH, Times, Popular,  Kinokunya Book ; 2 versions are available - the hardcover / paperback costs about RM 82 and RM 39 respectively.

"While everybody seems to be focused on the number of copies, I really only cared about the first three, which will go to my kids,"
said Pausch. "I’ve said my piece — my time now is entirely focused on family."

Randy died on July 25, 2008, at the age of 47.

Some notable quotes from the book :
    •    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.

    •    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 their good 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. 

    •    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 complain, Just work harder.  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.

    •    Risk-taking.
- You can tell the pioneers by the arrows in their backs.  Better to fail spectacularly than do something mediocre.
    •    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 clich√©, 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.

Other Links :
Pausch website : http://download.srv.cs.cmu.edu/~pausch/
Training guide based on his lecture : http://www.authorstream.com/Presentation/aSGuest1403-97098-last-lecture-life-live-scouts-others-misc-ppt-powerpoint/

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