The cards that we are dealt with

randypauschRecently someone sent me a video of the late Randy Pausch, who continues to inspire me through his words and his book, The Last Lecture. It is a wonderful talk and book that I recommend that everyone to everyone.

In his book, Randy Pausch talks about his own dreams and his desire to help other fulfill their dreams. ‘If you knew were going to die, and you had one last lecture, what would you say to your students?’ is the question he asked himself. That thought became the spark that turned into a book, The Last Lecture. For Randy, it wasn’t a hypothetical situation. He was fighting pancreatic cancer. This book is not about death and dying, but rather about fulfilling all your dreams before dying. Specifically, it’s about accomplishing your childhood dreams and about how you can try to achieve them.

Pausch delivered his ‘Last Lecture,’ titled Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams, at Carnegie Mellon University on 18 September 2007. He also gave an abridged version of his speech on The Oprah Winfrey Show in October 2007. The talk was modeled after an ongoing series of lectures where top academics are asked to think deeply about what matters to them, and then give a hypothetical ‘final talk’.

Pausch’s lectures have become a phenomenon, as has the book he wrote based on the same principles.

Celebrating the dreams we all strive to turn into realities. Sadly, Pausch lost his battle to pancreatic cancer on 25 July 2008, but his legacy will continue to inspire us all, for generations to come.

The fact is all do need to die one day. Everything that happens to us is not in our control. However, instead of worrying about this,  wouldn’t it be wonderful if we make our aim that of leaving the world at least a wee bit better?

As Randy himself has said, “We cannot change the cards we are dealt, just how we play the hand.”


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