Saturday, November 15, 2008

My Tryst with 'The Last Lecture'

"We cannot change the cards we are dealt, just how we play the hand.” --Randy Pausch

If you haven't read
'The Last Lecture' by Randy Pausch, its time you did it now! This book is an inspiring tale of how to look at your life positively. For the uninitiated, Randy was a professor of Computer Science, Human Computer Interaction, and Design at Carnegie Mellon University. Randy had been diagnosed with terminal cancer. On September 18, 2007, he spoke to an audience of 400 people at Carnegie Mellon University to deliver a last lecture called “Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams.” The book is based on the same principles. Although Randy lost his struggle with cancer, his legacy continues with the book...

While I wasn't there in the Carnegie Mellon University Hall to listen to Randy in person, his book helped me connect with him quite easily. Here's what I have learnt from watching the video and reading the book:

1) Have a dream! Childhood or otherwise.
It's important to know what you really want to achieve in life. If you don't know where you are going, any road will take you there.

2) Believe in your dream.
We often fail to trust ourselves. We find ourselves worthless at many times. The important thing is to for us to keep believing in our dream and ourselves. Only if we think we can, we can.

3) Take help from others.
How often we want to do something but are unable to ask for help. Call it whatever - ego, self-conscious, inferiority...there are many names for this one. We need to break the shackles of our mind and extend our hand - ask for help and take the help coming along our way. We can't achieve all our dreams by ourselves. We need others' contribution including family and friends.

4) Be positive. Period.
Much has been said and written about this already that more is not required. I think being positive is contagious and infectious!

5) Plan for your future.
It's important to acknowledge and accept the reality but still spend energy on planning for the future. It's easier to give up but tough to continue the fight. But if you do, it's worth it!

6) Have fun in life.
Don't take life too seriously because life doesn't certainly take you like that. It's important to spend 'fun' time with your family, friends, and try and make the best out of every moment. Laughing at your own self is a skill. Making people happy counts more than anything else.

7) Life is too short.
There is so much to do and not enough time! Get over petty issues and start living from today. Doesn't matter if you were born yesterday or have been around for some time - every moment is precious. Live life today like there is no tomorrow!

Hope the book and the video inspire you in many ways too.