The Last Lecture: Randy Pausch

The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch is a beautifully tragic compilation of 53 lectures that share the same message; you don’t need to live a long life to lead a full life. 

As a Professor of Computer Science, Human-Computer Interaction, and Design at Carnegie Mellon University, Randy Pausch was an intellectual revolutionist who was dealt a very particular set of cards in this game of life. 

In 2007, Pausch learned he had ten tumors growing in his liver and that he had around three to six months of good health left in him; it was pancreatic cancer. Diagnosed with a terminal illness at too young an age, Randy Pausch offers his first piece of advice: “we cannot change the cards we are dealt, just how we play the hand.”

Perhaps one of the most important lessons derived from this book is Pausch’s key to leading a full life. He wrote, “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.” Leading your life “the right way,” according to Pausch, requires a diligent work ethic, a solid moral compass, and a passion for doing something or belonging to something bigger than yourself. 

In conjunction with this message of being present comes Pausch’s advice on how to spend your time. Time must be managed the way one manages money; there has to be that initial acknowledgment that time is inherently valuable because there’s a finite amount of it. 

Reading this fantastic piece of work makes you pause and reflect on two questions. The first is, “do you like the way you spend your time?” Therefore, the second is, “are you pursuing your dreams in order to live “the right way”?”  Ultimately, Randy Pausch’s, The Last Lecture interrupts your life for a little while. This interruption may seem abrupt or emotionally charged, but it is necessary for encouraging you to pause and reflect on the little things that make life so grand.

In other words, stop and smell the roses because they only bloom in certain seasons.

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