Life Changing Lessons from a Dying man

Randy Pausch, a professor at Carnegie Mellon University, expected his students to pay attention to his lectures. But he would never expect that the rest of the world would listen to it too. As of today, more than 17 million people have tuned in Randy Pausch’s last lecture.

So what is the last lecture?

It was a tradition for professors in Carnegie Mellon University that are dying to give one last lecture before they died.

The 47 year old professor contracted pancreatic cancer, a disease that kills 95% of its victims, typically within months of finding.

The last lecture encompasses lessons on life and achieving one’s childhood dreams.

So here are the lessons from the last lecture:

1) We cannot change the cards we are given, however we can control and change how we play the hand. 
E (Events) + R (Response) = O (Outcome). People that are successful understands that in life unpleasant events can happen. But they recognize that they can change the outcome of the events simply by changing their response to the events.

2) The brick walls are there for a reasons.
Problems are like brick walls .They let us prove how badly we want things. They will always be there, to check how badly you want something. They are like doors which can be opened by people who dares to fight back and not accept defeat.

3) Getting criticized is the best thing that can happen to you.
It means there is someone that cares to make you better. When you are doing a bad job and no one points it out to you, it means they have given up on you.

4) People are more important than things.
His parents taught him early on the importance of people over things. When he got his first convertible, he drove to his sister’s house to pick up his niece and nephew to watch them for the weekend.

While his sister explained to her kids how careful they needed to be in Randy’s new car, Randy slowly poured a can of soda on the back seat of his car, to make the point that it’s just a thing. Randy says this was a good thing because his nephew got the flu and threw up on the backseat on the way back.

The point Randy makes is that he doesn’t care how much value you get by owning a shiny thing. It doesn’t feel as good comparing to how he felt that his 8 year old nephew wasn’t guilty that he had the flu.

5) Work and play well with others. 
Tell the truth, be sincere, apologize when you screw up, and focus on others, not yourself.

6) Apologize correctly.
A good apology has 3 parts: 1) I’m sorry. 2) It was my fault. 3) How do I make it right?

7) Show Gratitude.
Gratitude is a very simple thing and powerful thing that can go a long way.

8) Sometimes you win, sometimes you learn.
Experience is what you get when you didn’t get what you wanted.

9) Stop complaining, just work harder. 
 You can choose to take your finite time, energy and effort on complaining or you can spend it playing the game hard, which is probably going to be more helpful to you in the long run.

10) Do the right thing.
When you do the right thing, good stuff has a way to happen.

11) Have Specific dreams.
Dream Big. Dream without fear. He wanted to enjoy floating without being an astronaut.When he got older, he found a way to experience zero-gravity, without having to first become an astronaut.

At the end of the lecture, Randy added why he gave this lecture:

“It is important for you know why I gave this talk, the talk isn’t only about how you achieve your childhood dreams, and it is much broader than that. It is about how to live your life, because if you lead your life the right way, the karma will take care of itself. The dreams will come to you.”

And

“The talk wasn’t for anyone but his kids. “
Randy and his family

On July 2008, 11 months after Randy gave “the last lecture”, he died of complications from pancreatic cancer. “The last lecture” has been translated into 48 languages and has sold more than 5 million copies in the United States alone. You can buy the book here.

I have a copy of “the last lecture” and I can lend it to you, just drop me an email. (Only for people in Singapore)

Book:The last lecture

Please recommend it, so others can enjoy it too.


Show your support

Clapping shows how much you appreciated Ian Tang’s story.