9 Learnings from THE LAST LECTURE -Randy Pausch

Few years back Sumeet one of my dear colleagues visited me with his wife for an afternoon lunch, and gifted me this valuable book that created a lasting impact in my life. 'The Last Lecture' is about Professor Randy Pausch of Carnegie Mellon University and his legacy lecture for generations to be inspired by! A lot of professors give talks titled 'THE LAST LECTURE'... It's a ritual in academia to talk about or summarise the most valuable lessons that matter in life. What WISDOM would they convey if they knew that they would SPEAK THE LAST TIME.

When Randy Pausch was asked to give that lecture he was diagnosed with terminal cancer...but the lecture he gave wasn't about dying it was about 'Achieving Childhood Dreams'.

Randy Pausch was a professor of Computer Science, Human Computer Interaction, and Design at Carnegie Mellon University. His famous ‘last lecture’ was given on Sept 18, 2007, and he passed away on July 25, 2008. The book covers 53 short ‘lectures’ (some of which his students called ‘Pauschisms’).

9 Top learnings from the book are:

  1. Play the hand you are dealt: "We cannot change the cards we are dealt, just how we play the hand.” Circumstances that we are born with or sometimes we attract are as per the law of KARMA... However how we deal with the cards, is what makes life meaningful. Comparisons or complains are futile, so when we accept the deal and work with it, we accomplish the mission that we striving for. Problem solving beats complaining.

  2. Brick walls are there for a reason -“The brick walls are there for a reason. They’re not there to keep us out. The brick walls are there to give us a chance to show how badly we want something … " The brick walls ensure that only the ones who are willing to go all out are the ones who are recognised and rewarded. So if you abandon halfheartedly you weren't meant for it.

  3. Time must be managed, like money -“Time is all you have. And you may find one day that you have less than you think.” Life is all about limited BREATHS -TIME ...Be watchful of what you invest the same on. Sometimes when we look back on life, we feel some of the time spent has not really served our TRUE NORTH... Endless discussions -meetings or conversations, conflicts...are they really contributing to your purpose and wellbeing, if they are not they don't really deserve your attention or focus.

  4. Give the gift of knowledge, not stuff -“My parents were frugal. Unlike many Americans, they would never buy anything for the purposes of impressing other people, or as any kind of luxury for themselves. But they happily bought the World Book, ... knowledge to me and my sister. " Knowledge is something which continues the journey with our soul, and qualifies us to enhance our life on an ongoing basis. It's also one of the biggest wealth that can support our happiness and wisdom.

  5. The best gift an educator can give is to get somebody to become self-reflective -“It is an accepted cliché in education that the number one goal of teachers should be to help students learn how to learn. ...I wanted to help students learn how to judge themselves … The only way any of us can improve" As an academician if you can use your mastery and tools to help your audience reflect on their gaps and desire to be more you have accomplished your goal.

  6. Use head fakes to teach -“Remember the head fake? That’s when you teach somebody something by having them think they’re learning something else.” In a game of football you are learning more about Team work -strategy -socialisation -mental-physical muscle building; than the game itself!!! Head fakes can be effective way to learn complex life skills and competencies critical for success.

  7. If you wait long enough, people will surprise and impress you -“In the end, people will show you their good side. Almost everybody has a good side. Just keep waiting. It will come out.” — Jon Snoddy. Patience in waiting for people to serve you with their best is a competence that one needs to inculcate with trust and good will. It's a great skill to have as a leader.

  8. Always have fun -I mean, I don’t know how not to have fun. I’m dying and I’m having fun. And I’m going to keep having fun every day I have left. Because there’s no other way to play it.” We live as though we are immortals destined to be here forever, however none of us know whats in store for us and when... Life is finite time period offer, thus living it with honesty - satisfaction, blissfulness and rejoice can justify our visit to this beautiful planet.

  9. If you lead your life the right way, your dreams will come to you- “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.” When you pursue your dreams with honesty, faith, belief and fairness towards others around, the universe becomes instrumental to bring your dreams into reality. The faith in itself is part of the realisation process.

Would love to know THE WISDOM -LEGACY you would share if it was the last chance to do so...

Below is link to Randy's video, which is one of the most inspiring lectures I have ever witnessed...RIP

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