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Randy Pausch’s Last Lecture

I’m surprised I hadn’t seen this before – it should be essential viewing for everyone. Randy Pausch was a lecturer at Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh who specialised in the subject of virtual reality. Having been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and given 3-6 months to live he delivers what can only be described as a masterpiece of a lecture. Titled ‘Achieving Your Childhood Dreams’ – it tackles important life issues and leaves you feeling deeply moved and inspired.

I may have to make time read his book too – what an inspirational person.

Some of my favourite quotes from his speech:

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 cannot change the cards we are dealt, just how we play the hand

Experience is what you get when you didn’t get what you wanted.

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.

Randy Pausch on time management: Here’s what I know: Time must be explicitly managed, like money. You can always change your plan, but only if you have one. Ask yourself: Are you spending your time on the right things?
Develop a good filing system. Rethink the telephone. Delegate. Take a time out. Time is all you have. And you may find one day that you have less than you think

My colleague told me: “It took a long time, but I finally figured it out. 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.

Brick walls are there for a reason. They let you know how badly you want things.

When you’re screwing up and nobody says anything to you anymore, that means they’ve given up on you. That lesson has stuck with me my whole life. When you see yourself doing something badly and nobody’s bothering to tell you anymore, that’s a bad place to be. You may not want to hear it, but your critics are often the ones telling you they still love you and care about you, and want to make you better.

Be good at something. It makes you valuable. Have something to bring to the table, because that will make you more welcome.

If you’re going to do anything that pioneering you will get those arrows in the back, and you just have to put up with it.

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. Being earnest.

I’ll take an earnest person over a hip person every day, because hip is short term. Earnest is long term.

Don’t complain. Just work harder.

Luck is truly where preparation meets opportunity.

I have a theory that people who come from large families are better people because they’ve just had to learn to get along.

You just have to decide if you’re a Tigger or an Eeyore.

It’s pretty easy to be smart when you’re parroting smart people.

Fundamentals, fundamentals, fundamentals. You’ve got to get the fundamentals down because otherwise the fancy stuff isn’t going to work

People are more important than things.

Another way to be prepared is to think negatively. Yes, I’m a great optimist. but, when trying to make a decision, I often think of the worst case scenario. I call it ‘the eaten by wolves factor.’ If I do something, what’s the most terrible thing that could happen? Would I be eaten by wolves? One thing that makes it possible to be an optimist, is if you have a contingency plan for when all hell breaks loose. There are a lot of things I don’t worry about, because I have a plan in place if they do

Never make a decision until you have to. He’d also warn me that even if I was in a position of strength, whether at work or in a relationship, I had to play fair. Just because you’re in the driver’s seat, doesn’t mean you have to run people over.

It was and is a life changer of a speech.

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