Randy Pausch didn't lose his life... he won it

posted by Jeff | Friday, July 25, 2008, 2:11 PM | comments: 1

Randy Pausch, the CMU professor known for his "Last Lecture," died yesterday after finally losing the battle with pancreatic cancer.

If you've not watched the lecture, do it. It's a little over an hour, but totally worth it. What's inspiring is not his accomplishments as they related to him, but rather the way he influenced others and graciously accepted the impact of others. It was this general attitude at life that allowed him to fulfill his childhood dreams.

He ends the lecture with the lessons learned. I think the single biggest thing to stick with me was simply this: "If you lead your life the right way, the karma will take care of itself. The dreams will come to you."

Death is a certainty for us all. There's no way around that. But I don't believe you can lose your life when you've actually won it. Pausch won, and we should all be inspired to do the same.

EDIT: Here's his commencement speech from a couple of months ago...


phantomtails, July 26, 2008, 1:26 AM #

I had the pleasure of seeing Randy give that speech in person during my commencement, and must say that it's something that I won't forget for a long time. It's hard to see in the video, but the response that Randy got from the CMU community was absolutely deafening... the standing ovation lasted long after he walked off the stage. It's not often that I take a speech to heart, but I think about what he says almost every day. When we're on our death beds, it won't matter how much money we earned or fame we achieved; what will matter is if we regret not following our dreams. Like several other people here, I do programming professionally. While the pay is good, sitting at a desk in front of a computer for the next 40 years is not how I envisioned my life. I used to think that getting a good paying job in my field was a requirement in life, but ever since I saw Randy speak that day, I keep wondering if I should take a risk with a career that would be more fun... I'd give anything to be one of those people who actually look forward to going to work every day.

I wasn't surprised when I got an email today from the CMU alumni list announcing Randy's passing... I knew it was inevitable. Less than a year ago, he was doing push-ups during his "last lecture", in May he carried his wife off the stage during the commencement ceremony, and now he's dead. What a shame.

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