The Last Lecture, by Randy Pausch

If you had only a few days/months to live, how would you choose to lead your life? Randy Pausch, Professor of Computer Science at Carnegie Mellon University, was participating in a long-standing academic tradition of “last lecture”, but in his case, the concept of “last lecture” ended up being quite literal as 46-year-old Pausch had been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and was told he had only months to live.

In this talk on the Oprah Winfrey Shown in September, 2007, Pausch chooses not to talk about death or his struggles, but share his mantra for life. Using various anecdotes from his personal life, Randy elaborates upon the tenets and principles he had developed and followed over the years. He inspires us to seize the moment and pursue our childhood dreams. He explains how obstacles are not meant to “keep us away from our goals” but to make us realize how much they really mean to us. He dares us to value people and relationships over material possessions, as those are the things that really matter. He stresses upon the importance of integrity in living a good life and explains that if we live our life with honesty and positivity, our dreams will come to us.

In his poignant 10 –minute talk, Randy lists 10 of his cherished childhood dreams and what he did across his lifespan to fulfill them. While he was addressing a large audience, he wrote the speech specifically for his three children, who he hopes will watch it when they grow up. Randy died on July 25, 2008 but he left behind a legacy of inspiration and positivity for all of us to learn from.

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