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Randy Pausch – The Last Lecture

Teachers who are passionate, enthusiastic and inspire others not just to learn, but to want to learn have always garnered my highest respect. The late Randy Pausch, pioneer of virtual reality technologies, was a Professor at Carnegie Mellon university. Upon being diagnosed with terminal pancreatic cancer he decided to use his remaining time to foster a message of hope and to influence others to live well – and in doing so not only follow their dreams, but to facilitate the dreams of others – the mark of a true teacher.

His famous ‘Last Lecture‘ is a treatise on how positive thinking and positive action will lead to success. Many of the key elements of his message resonated with me.

  • Pausch used the concept of a brick wall as something that you have to get over in order to demonstrate just how badly you want something – those things that are hardest to attain are those that are worth fighting for the most
  • That what goes around comes around – loyalty is a two way street, and believing in others, supporting them and nurturing them is in itself a reward
  • That collaboration is fostered and facilitated by environments that support inter-disciplinary approaches – that bend rules and blur boundaries so that those with interests and passions – albeit in different fields can come together to create something positive.

His lecture on Time Management, also delivered after a terminal diagnosis is equally inspiring.

In a way it’s almost paradoxical that in losing Randy Pausch the world has lost someone so inspirational, so intelligent and so passionate, however without having a terminal illness his message of continually aspiring to achieve your goals would have reached a far smaller audience.