Randy Pausch’s Last Lecture Reply

Randy Pausch

Randy Pausch
CMU Computer Science Professor

““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.” Randy Pausch

“The brick walls are there for a reason. The brick walls are not there to keep us out. The brick walls are there to give us a chance to show how badly we want something. Because the brick walls are there to stop the people who don’t want it badly enough. They’re there to stop the other people.
― Randy Pausch, The Last Lecture

On September 18, 2007, Carnegie Mellon Computer Science and Human-Computer interaction professor and alumnus Randy Pausch delivered a one-of-a-kind last lecture that made the world stop and pay attention. Randy Pausch was an excellent academician. He co-founded the Entertainment Technology Center and led researchers who created Alice, a revolutionary way to teach computer programming. He was widely respected in academic circles for a unique interdisciplinary approach, bringing together artists, dramatists and designers to break new ground by working in collaboration with computer scientists.

randyPausch_236x236

Passionate and Joyful

His lecture became an Internet sensation viewed by millions, an international media story, and a best-selling book called The Last Lecture , co-written with the Wall Street Journal journalist Jeff Zaslow (who also passed away in 2012), that has been published in more than 35 languages. He gave this lecture before a packed McConomy Auditorium. In his moving presentation, “Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams,” Pausch talked about his lessons learned and gave advice to students on how to achieve their own career and personal goals. (pauschlastlecturetranscript) We can also admire his upbeat and enthusiastic presentation techniques.

randy

A Sense of Humor

A Final Farewell: Professor Pausch sits down with Jeff Zaslow and discusses his turmoil with death and how he’s leaving his family.

More quotes from The Last Lecture:

“We cannot change the cards we are dealt, just how we play the hand.”

“Experience is what you get when you didn’t get what you wanted. And experience is often the most valuable thing you have to offer.”

“The key question to keep asking is, Are you spending your time on the right things? Because time is all you have. ”

“No matter how bad things are, you can always make things worse.”

“Look, I’m going to find a way to be happy, and I’d really love to be happy with you, but if I can’t be happy with you, then I’ll find a way to be happy without you.”

“Showing gratitude is one of the simplest yet most powerful things humans can do for each other.”

“Luck is where preparation meets opportunity. ” “It’s not how hard you hit. It’s how hard you get hit…and keep moving forward.” “A lot of people want a shortcut. I find the best shortcut is the long way, which is basically two words: work hard.” “Too many people go through life complaining about their problems. I’ve always believed that if you took one tenth the energy you put into complaining and applied it to solving the problem, you’d be surprised by how well things can work out.”

“Wait long enough and people will surprise and impress. When you’re pissed off at someone and you’re angry at them, you just haven’t given them enough time. Just give them a little more time and they almost always will impress you.”

“When we’re connected to others, we become better people.”

“Another way to be prepared is to think negatively. Yes, I’m a great optimist. but, when trying to make a decision, I often think of the worst case scenario. I call it ‘the eaten by wolves factor.’ If I do something, what’s the most terrible thing that could happen? Would I be eaten by wolves? One thing that makes it possible to be an optimist, is if you have a contingency plan for when all hell breaks loose. There are a lot of things I don’t worry about, because I have a plan in place if they do.”

“Find the best in everybody. Just keep waiting no matter how long it takes. No one is all evil. Everybody has a good side, just keep waiting, it will come out.”

“Complaining does not work as a strategy. We all have finite time and energy. Any time we spend whining is unlikely to help us achieve our goals. And it won’t make us happier.”

“You may not want to hear it, but your critics are often the ones telling you they still love you and care about you, and want to make you better. ”

“The questions are always more important than the answers.”

“Believe nothing a man tells you and everything he shows you”….(Taken from a farewell video from a dying father to his infant daughter on dating)”

“Its important to have specific dreams. Dream Big. Dream without fear.”

“A good apology is like antibiotic, a bad apology is like rubbing salt in the wound.”

“People are more important than things.”

“Don’t complain; just work harder.”

You can always change you plan, but only if you have one.”

“Find the best in everybody. Wait long enough, and people will surprise and impress you. It might even take years, but people will show you their good side. Just keep waiting.”

“When there’s an elephant in the room introduce him.”

“There’s a lot of talk these days about giving children self-esteem. It’s not something you can give; it’s something they have to build. Coach Graham worked in a no-coddling zone. Self-esteem? He knew there was really only one way to teach kids how to develop it: You give them something they can’t do, they work hard until they find they can do it, and you just keep repeating the process.”

“No job is beneath you. You ought to be thrilled you got a job in the mailroom And when you get there, here’s what you do: Be really great at sorting mail. ”

“My colleague told me: “It took a long time, but I finally figured it out. When it comes to men who are romantically interested in you, it’s really simple. Just ignore everything they say and only pay attention to what they do.”

“All my adult life I’ve felt drawn to ask long-married couples how they were able to stay together. All of them said the same thing: “We worked hard at it.”

“The person who failed often knows how to avoid future failures. The person who knows only success can be more oblivious to all the pitfalls.”

“Be good at something. It makes you valuable. Have something to bring to the table, because that will make you more welcome.”

“Give yourself permission to dream. Fuel your kids’ dreams too. Once in a while, that might even mean letting them stay up past their bedtimes.”

“One thing that makes it possible to be an optimist is if you have a contingency plan for when all hell breaks loose.”

“I’ve never understood pity and self-pity as an emotion. We have a finite amount of time. Whether short or long, it doesn’t matter. Life is to be lived.”

“I know you’re smart. But everyone here is smart. Smart isn’t enough. The kind of people I want on my research team are those who will help everyone feel happy to be here. ”

“On time management: Here’s what I know:

Time must be explicitly managed, like money.

You can always change your plan, but only if you have one.

Ask yourself: Are you spending your time on the right things?

Develop a good filing system.

Rethink the telephone.

Delegate.

Take a time out.

Time is all you have. And you may find one day that you have less than you think.”

“I’m sorry. It’s my fault. How do I make it right?”

“Go out and do for others what somebody did for you.”

“Want to have a short phone call with someone? Call them at 11:55 a.m., right before lunch. They’ll talk!”

“Never make a decision until you have to”. He’d also warn me that even if I was in a position of strength, whether at work or in a relationship, I had to play fair. “Just because you’re in the driver’s seat, doesn’t mean you have to run people over.”

“Never lose the child-like wonder. It’s just too important. It’s what drives us. Help others.”

“We’ve placed a lot of emphasis in this country on the idea of people’s rights. That’s how it should be, but it makes no sense to talk about rights without also talking about responsibilities.”

“Fundamentals, fundamentals, fundamentals. You’ve got to get the fundamentals down because otherwise the fancy stuff isn’t going to work.”

“Have something to bring to the table, because that will make you more welcome.”

“If I work hard enough, there will be things I can do tomorrow that I can’t do today.”

“Put on your own oxygen mask before assisting others.”

“Never make a decision until you have to.”

“Throughout my academic career, I’d given some pretty good talks. But being considered the best speaker in the computer science department is like being known as the tallest of the Seven Dwarfs.”

“I was hugely impressed… was the ultimate example of a man who knew what he didn’t know, was perfectly willing to admit it, and didn’t want to leave until he understood. That’s heroic to me. I wish every grad student had that attitude.”

“My coach knew there was only one way to develop (self esteem): You give children something they can’t do, they work hard until they find they can do it, and you just keep repeating the process.”

“there should be some lessons learned and how you can use the stuff you hear today to achieve your dreams or enable the dreams of others. And as you get older, you may find that “enabling the dreams of others” thing is even more fun.”

“I’ve always admired people who are over-prepared.”

“It took a long time, but I’ve finally figured it out. When it comes to men who are romantically interested in you, it’s really simple. Just ignore everything they say and only pay attention to what they do.”

“If you took one-tenth the energy you put into complaining and applied it to solving the problem, you’d be surprised by how well things can work out… Complaining does not work as a strategy. We all have finite time and energy. Any time we spend whining is unlikely to help us achieve our goals. And it won’t make us happier.”

“If you’re going to have childhood dreams you should have great parents who let you pursue them and express your creativity”

“Brick walls are there for a reason. They give us a chance to show how badly we want”

“We cannot change the cards we are dealt, just how we play the hand. If I don’t
seem as depressed or morose as I should be, sorry to disappoint you.”

“Engineering isn’t about perfect solutions; it’s about doing the best you can with limited resources.”

“Coach Graham rode you pretty hard, didn’t he?” he said. I could barely muster a “yeah.” That’s a good thing,” the assistant told me. When you’re screwing up and nobody says anything to you anymore, it means they’ve given up on you.”

“Complaining does not work as a strategy. ”

“When you’re screwing up and nobody says anything to you anymore that means they’ve given up on you…you may not want to hear it but your critics are often the ones telling you they still love you and care about you and want to make you better.”

“No job should, be beneath us. And if you can’t(or won’t) sort mail, Where is the proof that you can do anything?”

“There are more ways than one to measure profits and losses.”

“You’ve got to get the fundamentals down, because otherwise the fancy stuff is not going to work.”

“Not everything needs to be fixed.”

“Focus on other people, not on yourself.”

“Experience is what you get when you didn’t get what you wanted .”

“Kids need to know their parents love them. Their parents don’t need to be alive for that to happen.”

“He had high hopes for society, and though his hopes were too often dashed, he remained a raging optimist.”

“Sometimes all you have to do is ask, and it can lead to all your dreams coming true.”

“Anybody out there who is a parent, if your kids want to paint their bedrooms,as a favor to me, let them do it. It’ll be OK.”

“It’s not helpful if we spend every day dreading tomorrow .”

“If you can find an opening, you can probably find a way to float through it.”

“Do not tell people how to live their lives. Just tell them stories and they will figure out how those stories apply to them.”

“But I want her to grow up knowing that I was the first man ever to fall in love with her. I’d always thought the father/daughter thing was overstated. But I can tell you, sometimes, she looks at me and I just become a puddle.”

“What is the most appropriate thing to say to a friend who was about to die. He answered:”tell your friend that in his death, a part of you dies and goes with him. Whenever he goes, you also go. He will not be alone”.”

“Just because you’re in the driver’s seat, doesn’t mean you have to run people over.”

“An injured lion wants to know if he can still roar.”

“If nobody ever worried about what was in other people’s heads, we’d all be 33 percent more effective in our lives and our jobs.”

“People lie for lots of reasons, often because it seems like a way to get what they want with less effort.”

“We have a finite amount of time. Whether short or long, it doesn’t matter. Life is to be lived”

“Please don’t die.”
“Your critics are the ones telling you they still love you and care. Worry when you do something badly and nobody bothers to tell you.”

“No matter how bad things are, you can always make things worse. At the same time, it is often within your power to make them better”

“Apologies are not pass/fail.”

“Look for the best in everybody”

“Your patience will be both appreciated and rewarded”

“And even though I did not reach the NFL, I sometimes think I got more from persuing that dream, and not accomplishing it, then I did from many of the ones I did accomplish.”

“If you can find your footing between two cultures, sometimes you can have the best of both worlds.”

“It’s a thrill to fulfill your own childhood dreams, but as you get older, you may find that enabling the dreams of others is even more fun.”

“If you have a question, then find the answer.”

“Walls aren’t put in our life to stop us, they are there to test how much we really want somthing.”

“You don’t beat the grim reaper by living longer; you beat the grim reaper by living better.”

“Most people who have told a lie think they got away with it … when in fact, they didn’t”

“Not everything needs to be fixed”

“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.”

“I’m dying and I’m having fun.”

“The person who failed often knows how to avoid future failures.”

“if you offer wisdom from a third party, it seems less arrogant and more acceptable.”

“There’s a lot of talk these days about giving children self-esteem. It’s not something you can give; it’s something they have to build.”

“It’s not about the cards you’re dealt, but how you play the hand.”

“If you want something bad enough, never give up (and take a boost when offered).”

“Throughout my academic career, I’d given some pretty good talks. But being considered the best speaker in the computer science department is like being known as the tallest of the Seven Dwarfs. And right then, I had the feeling that I had more in me, that if I gave it my all, I might be able to offer people something special. “Wisdom” is a strong word, but maybe that was it.”

“I don’t suffer from an abundance of politeness.”

“Take Time Out. It’s not a real vacation if you’re reading email or calling in for messages.”

“Experience is what you get when you didn’t get what you wanted.”

“When you see yourself doing something badly and nobody’s bothering to tell you anymore, that’s a bad place to be. You may not want to hear it, but your critics are often the ones telling you they still love you and care about you, and want to make you better.”

“I don’t believe in the no-win scenario”

“I’d compare college tuition to paying for a personal trainer at an athletic club. We professors play the roles of trainers, giving people access to the equipment (books, labs, our expertise) and after that, it is our job to be demanding.”

“If we had to vanish tomorrow, what would we want as our legacy?”

“Well, you can’t have just some of me,” I told her. “You appreciate the part of me that didn’t get angry because two ‘things’ we own got hurt. But the flip side of that is my belief that you don’t repair things if they still do what they’re supposed to do. The cars still work. Let’s just drive ’em.”

“educators best serve students by helping them be more self-reflective. The only way any of us can improve—as Coach Graham taught me—is if we develop a real ability to assess ourselves. If we can’t accurately do that, how can we tell if we’re getting better or worse?”

“I understand the arguments about how the billions of dollars spent to put men on the moon could have been used to fight poverty and hunger on Earth. But, look, I’m a scientist who sees inspiration as the ultimate tool for doing good. When you use money to fight poverty, it can be of great value, but too often, you’re working at the margins. When you’re putting people on the moon, you’re inspiring all of us to achieve the maximum of human potential, which is how our greatest problems will eventually be solved. Give yourself permission to dream.”

“The fact that fashion goes out of fashion and then comes back into fashion based solely on what a few people somewhere think they can sell, well to me, that’s insanity.”

“When you’re frustrated with people, when they’ve made you angry, it just may be because you haven’t given them enough time.”

“I’ll take an earnest person over a hip person every time, because hip is short term. Earnest is long term.”

“If she doesn’t really love you, then it’s over. And if she does love you, then love will win out.”

“until you got ice cream spilled on you, you’re not doing field work”

“Complaining doesn’t work as a strategy. We all have finite time and energy. Any time we spend whining is unlikely to help us achieve our goals. And it won’t make us happier.”

“We can’t change it. We have to decide how we’ll respond.”

“Because you’re such a good salesman, and if you go work for a company, they’re going to use you as a salesman. If you’re going to be a salesman, you might as well be selling something worthwhile, like education”

“Luck is indeed where preparation meets opportunity.”

“Whatever news we get about the scans, I’m not going to die when we hear it. I

won’t die the next day, or the day after that, or the day after that. So

today, right now, well this is a wonderful day. And I want you to know

how much I’m enjoying it.”

I thought about that, and about Jai’s smile.

I knew then. That’s the way the rest of my life would need to be lived.”

“Anybody can get chewed out. It’s the rare person who says, oh my god, you were right. As opposed to, no wait, the reason is… We’ve all heard that”

“Proper apologies have three parts:

1) What I did was wrong.

2) I feel badly that I hurt you.

3) How do I make this better?”

“You’ve got to get the fundamentals down because otherwise the fancy stuff is not going to work.”

“Everyone has to contribute to the common good. To not do so can be described in one word: selfish.”

“it make no sense to talk about rights without also talking about responsibilities”

“The great thing about working out at a gym is that if you put in effort, you get very obvious results. The same should be true of college. A professor’s job is to teach students how to see their minds growing in the same way they can see their muscles grow when they look in a mirror.”

“somehow, with the passage of time, and the deadlines that life imposes, surrendering became the right thing to do”

“Years ago, I dated a lovely young woman who was a few thousand dollars in debt. She was completely stressed out about this. Every month, more interest would be added to her debts.To deal with her stress, she would go every Tuesday night to a meditation and yoga class. This was her one free night, and she said it seemed to be helping her. She would breathe in, imagining that she was finding ways to deal with her debts. She would breathe out, telling herself that her money problems would one day be behind her.It went on like this, Tuesday after Tuesday.Finally, one day I looked through her finances with her. I figured out that if she spent four or five months working a part-time job on Tuesday nights, she could actually pay off all the money she owed.I told her I had nothing against yoga or meditation. But I did think its always best to try to treat the disease first. Her symptoms were stress and anxiety. Her disease was the money she owed.”Why don’t you get a job on Tuesday nights and skip yoga for a while?” I suggested.This was something of a revelation to her. And she took my advice. She became a Tuesday-night waitress and soon enough paid off her debts. After that, she could go back to yoga and really breathe easier.”

“If you love her, support her.”

“Though I am not a fan of TV – it’s mankind’s greatest time-waster, the gift was completely appropriate, since I’ll be in bed so much at the end. TV will be one of my last links to the outside world.”

“A coach yells at the kid he thinks can improve but the coach will not yell at the kid who he/she knows won’t.”

“Failure is not just acceptable, it’s often essential.”

“It’s interesting, the secrets you decide to reveal at the end of your life.”

“self-steam ? He knew there was really one way to teach kids how to develop it : You give them something they can’t do, they work hard until they can do it, and you keep repeating the process.”

“He’d also warn me that even if I was in a position of strength, whether at work or in relationships, I had to play fair. “Just because you’re in the driver’s seat,” he’d say, “doesn’t mean you have to run people over.”

“Getting people to welcome feedback was the hardest thing I ever had to do as an educator.”

“The person who knows only success can be more oblivious to all the pitfalls.”

“As I see it, if you work more hours than somebody else, during those hours you learn more about your craft. That can make you more efficient, more able, even happier. Hard work is like compounded interest in the bank. The rewards build faster.”

“who come out limp often have the most trouble. But the ones who come out all pissed off and full of noise, they’re the fighters. They’re the ones who thrive.”

“It’s been well-documented that there is a growing sense of entitlement among young people. I have certainly seen that in my classrooms.So many graduating seniors have this notion that they should get hired because of their creative brilliance. Too many are unhappy with the idea of starting at the bottom. My advice has always been: ‘You ought to be thrilled you got a job in the mailroom. And when you get there, here’s what you do: Be really great at sorting mail.’No one wants to hear someone say: ‘I’m not good at sorting mail because the job is beneath me.’ No job should be beneath us. And if you can’t (or won’t) sort mail, where is the proof that you can do anything?”

“I love all three of my kids completely and differently. And I want them to know that I will love them for as long as they live. I will.”

“If you’ve done something wrong in your dealings with another person, it’s as if there’s an infection in your relationship. A good apology is like an antibiotic ; a bad apology is like rubbing salt in the wound.”

“No matter how bad things are, you can always make them worse.”

“In the fifty years my parents were married, in the thousands of conversations my dad had with me, it had just never come up. And so there I was, weeks after his death, getting another lesson from him about the meaning of sacrifice—and about the power of humility”

“Through the whole ordeal, I don’t think we ever said to each other: “This isn’t fair.” We just kept going. We recognized that there were things we could do that might help the outcome in a positive ways…and we did them. Without saying it in words, our attitude was, “Let’s saddle up and ride.”

“I’ll take an earnest person over a hip person any time, because hip is short-term. Earnest is long-term.”

“I’ve found that a substantial fraction of many people’s days is spent worrying about what others think of them. If nobody ever worried about what was in other people’s heads, we’d all be 33 percent more effective in our lives and on our jobs.”

“When we make something hard to use, people get upset. They become so angry that they want to destroy it. We don’t want to create things that people will want to destroy”

“Halfhearted or insincere apologies are often worse than not apologizing at all because recipients find them insulting. If you’ve done something wrong in your dealings with another person, it’s as if there’s an infection in your relationship. A good apology is like an antibiotic; a bad apology is like rubbing salt I the wound.”

Which statements do you agree with? Which ones do you think are not true?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s