A few years ago, I watched a touching and inspiring lecture by Randy Pausch. A last lecture is an opportunity for a professor to share knowledge from a lifetime of learning. Randy Pausch was diagnosed with an aggressive form of cancer and given 3-6 months of good health. He decided to use some of his time to prepare a last lecture, summarizing his greatest accomplishments along with the lessons he had learned along the way.
This lecture had a profound affect on my life, especially Randy’s view of brick walls (really just an opportunity to show how badly you want something). I didn’t realize that he had also written a book to go into further depth about preparing for his last lecture. I was casually browsing the library and happened across it.
The book, “The Last Lecture,” goes into further depth about Randy’s life experiences. It is a collection of stories, peppered with advice. Because of its format, the book can seem rather jarring, with little or no connection from one story to the next.
Never the less, it is an intriguing book written by a brilliant man. I enjoyed learning more about his story and his unique way of looking at the world.
Some of my favorite tidbits:
- “Failure is not just acceptable; it’s often essential.”
- “Time must be explicitly managed, like money.”
- “You can always change your plan but only if you have one.”
I, for one, am guilty of failure to commit to a plan. I worry that I’ll lose interest or that the plan won’t turn out the way I hoped. But by not making a plan, I’m failing to progress, to grow. It’s better to make a plan and change it later on down the line than to never make a plan at all. You can’t dock a boat just by aimlessly drifting. You have to aim for a specific target.
If you haven’t seen the last lecture, I encourage you to go watch it now (https://youtu.be/ji5_MqicxSo). It’s a little over an hour and well worth the time.