Monday, April 7, 2008

Pausch's Last Lecture - another look

Back in September I posted a link to the ABC News video link for Prof. Randy Pausch’s Last Lecture at Carnegie Mellon University. Since that time I have often reflected on Prof. Pausch’s assertion that the brick walls we encounter are there to see how badly we want what we’re pursuing (paraphrased). He did not say this in his own speech but many others in his wake have put the question to their listeners and readers whether they are using obstacles as challenges to be overcome or excuses to quit.

Lately I have had trouble keeping moving forward and remembering to reframe the brick walls as a measure of my motivation. I find that among the blog writers I read regularly I am not alone. The thing I find curious about this phenomenon is that we are coming into spring. Typically spring is an energizing season and all the brave new shoots bursting forth after the long harsh winter are an inspiration to kick my own productivity up a notch. This season, however, it is a daily, sometimes hourly, battle to move beyond the obstacles and stop framing them as excuses to quit. As an action item to reinforce my resolve to move forward with both writing and finding more work I was planning to watch Prof. Pausch’s lecture again this week.

However, I opened yesterday’s paper to see Professor Pausch pictured on the cover of the Parade section. It seems that tomorrow, April 8, Hyperion is releasing the book version of The Last Lecture speech. Also, in conjunction with the release of the book, Diane Sawyer of ABC News will have a special tomorrow night, April 9, at 10(9C) p.m. titled The Last Lecture: A Love Story For Your Life. For those who are not familiar with Prof. Pausch's story, he has terminal pancreatic cancer. His own insights into this disease and his process of living is updated on his own webpage.

I hope you will check out either the video, the TV special, or the book (or all three) and leave your impressions in the comments section.


Pieces of Me said...

Thank you very much for posting this as a reminder to treasuring our own lives. Thank you.

Pieces of Me said...

And yes, I do agree the saying 'when the going gets tough, the tough gets going' can be rigid in a situation that requires sensitivity, but the human spirit is strong and unexacting. I believe he is a role for others to follow in his path of thinking. Thanks for sharing

7sky said...

I saw the lecture via the internet some time ago; it was a great example of what college instructors -- of all ranks, from lecturer to PhD -- should strive for.


Anonymous said...

How inspiring Randy Pausch is! If you liked "The Last Lecture", another fantastic memoir I just read and highly recommend is "My Stroke of Insight" by Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor. Her TEDTalk video ( has been seen as many times as The Last Lecture I think, and Oprah did 4 shows on her book, so there are a lot of similarities. In My Stroke of Insight, there's a happy ending though. It's an incredible story! I hear they're making it into a movie.