June 30, 2010

The Last Lecture

In reading The Last Lecture, I was immediately struck by author Randy Pausch’s positivity as well as his strength and determination in the face of his terminal diagnosis.

A reoccurring theme in this book about making your childhood dreams come true is overcoming obstacles along your path. Pausch notes, “Brick walls are there for a reason. They give us a chance to show how badly we want something.” His advice rings true because he lived it.

Knowing his own time left on this earth was limited by his illness, he advises the reader that time must be explicitly managed, just like one manages money. It’s important to ask yourself: Am I spending my time on the right things?

Considering today’s economy and the challenges countless people are facing in finding employment in their chosen fields, Pausch’s observation that “experience is what you get when you didn’t get what you wanted” is particularly poignant. Though difficult, every obstacle we face can be an opportunity to learn and grow and has the potential to lead us to something even better than we could have planned for ourselves.

Having a positive attitude along the way will also help. As Pausch writes, “Each of us must decide: Am I a fun-loving Tigger or am I a sad-sack Eeyore?” Being a “Tigger” – choosing optimism and maintaining an enthusiasm and curiosity for life – will give you a sense of joy and wonder.

Let’s face it: it’s not easy to stay positive when it seems everything is going wrong. But being receptive to the good things around you (and even the Awesome Things), counting your blessings, and being grateful for what you have instead of focusing on what you don’t have, will ultimately bring more joy to your life.

To view the inspiring “Last Lecture” Pausch gave at Carnegie Mellon University (where he was a professor of computer science), which is the basis for the book, you can visit this link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ji5_MqicxSo.

[Photo from here]

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