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Randy Pausch: This is the Wisdom a Dying Professor Shares in His Last Lecture
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Randy Pausch: This is the Wisdom a Dying Professor Shares in His Last Lecture

Randy Pausch - Live the Right Way

Dying of cancer, Professor Randy Pausch imparts his final words of wisdom in this moving last lecture that will help you live the right way.

Transcript:


I can't do anything about the fact that I'm going to die. I've been fighting pancreatic cancer. It has now come back after surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation, and the doctors tell me there's nothing more to do, and I have months to live. I don't like this. I have three little kids. Let's be clear, this stinks. But, I can't control the cards I'm dealt, just how I play the hands. If I'm not morose enough for you, I'm sorry to disappoint, but I don't choose to be an object of pity.

Today's talk is not about death, it's about life and how to live, specifically about childhood dreams, and about how you can try to achieve them. As a child, I had an incredibly happy childhood. I went back and raided the photo album, and I couldn't find any places where I wasn't smiling, and I was dreaming, always dreaming. When I was eight, my family took the pilgrimage to Disney Land in California, and it was this incredible experience, the rides, and the shows, and the attractions and everything. And I said, "Gosh, I'd like to make stuff like that when I get older."

I graduated from college, and I tried to become an Imagineer, these are the people who make the magic, and I got a lovely rejection letter. But then the darnedest thing happened, I worked hard, and worked hard, and I became a junior faculty member, and I specialized in doing certain kinds of research, that's me. I developed a skill that was valuable to Disney and I got a chance to go there, and I was part of an Imagineering team, and we worked on something called Aladdin's Magic Carpet Ride and it was incredibly cool. However, it took me over 15 years to do it and lots, and lots of tries, and what I learned from that is that the brick walls that are in our way are there for a reason. They are not there to keep us out. They are there to give us a way to show how much we want it.

This is my mother on her 70th birthday. I am the blur in the back, I have just been lapped. This is my father on his 80th birthday. There is this notion of have fun all the time, have a sense of fun and wonder, that should never go away. My dad, what an incredible guy. He fought in World War II, he was clearly part of the greatest generation. Sadly, my dad passed away a little over a year ago and when my mother was going through his things, that was when she discovered in World War II he was awarded the Bronze Star for valor. In 50 years of marriage, it had just never come up. There's a real lesson in humility that I can learn from my father there.Now my mother, mothers are people who love you even when you pull their hair. This was the kind of relationship I had with my mother and my mother, speaking of humility was always there to keep me in check. When I was going through graduate school and I was taking really hard examinations, I was home pretty much complaining and whining about how hard these

Now my mother, mothers are people who love you even when you pull their hair. This was the kind of relationship I had with my mother and my mother, speaking of humility was always there to keep me in check. When I was going through graduate school and I was taking really hard examinations, I was home pretty much complaining and whining about how hard these PhD tests were and she just patted my arm and she said, "We know how you feel. Just remember that when your father was your age, he was fighting the Germans in World War II."

Next thing, you better decide early on if you're a Tigger or an Eeyore. Tiggers are energetic, they're optimistic, they're curious, they're enthusiastic, and they have fun, and never, ever, underestimate the importance of having fun. I am dying soon and I am choosing to have fun today, tomorrow, and every other day I have left. If you want to achieve your dreams, you better work and play well with others, and that means you better live with integrity. Simple advice that you'll find hard to follow, just tell the truth.

Second thing, when you screw up, apologize. There are a lot of bad apologies in America. A good apology has three parts, I'm sorry, it was my fault, how do I make it right? Most people skip that third part. That's how you can tell sincerity. The last thing is that we all have people that we don't like, that have done things we don't like, and what I've found is no one is pure evil. If you wait long enough, they will show you their good side.

Lastly, I don't think complaining and whining really solves the problem. This is Jackie Robinson, first black major leaguer, had it in his contract not to complain if people spit on him. All right. I don't care if you're Jackie Robinson, or if you're a guy like me who's only a got a couple of months to live, you can choose to take your finite time, and energy, and effort and you can spend it complaining, or you can spend it playing the game hard, which is probably going to be more helpful to you in the long run. It's important for you to know why I gave the talk. The talk isn't just about how to achieve your childhood dreams, it's much broader than that. It's about how to live your life, because if you lead your life the right way, the karma will take care of itself. The dreams will come to you.

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