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Life Is Beautiful – Randy Pausch’s Inspirational “Last Lecture” at Carnegie Mellon University

July 31, 2010

Today’s discussion is not on energy, nor is it controversial, political, technical or global. At times it becomes necessary to step back from the concerns of the modern world and take a more personal and introspective view on life. Winston Churchill once said:

“We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.”


Such is the case with Randy Pausch’s inspirational “Last Lecture,” which captivated the world and inspired millions. On one hand, Randy’s reason for giving the “Last Lecture” may seem tragic at best, but on the other hand, he left us and the world with a heartwarming and upbeat lecture that serves as a roadmap on how to live life to its fullest and what really matters. The lecture should be listened to by all. After hearings Randy’s speech, it can be said the he “made a life and gave us much.”

Randy was a virtual reality pioneer, human-computer interaction researcher, co-founder of Carnegie Mellon University ‘s Entertainment Technology Center, and a professor of computer science and human-computer interaction and design. In September 2006, Randy learned that he had pancreatic cancer and in August 2007 he was given a terminal diagnosis. He died of on July 25, 2008.

If this is not worth 11 minutes of your time, nothing will ever be. This may help you achieve your childhood dream.

Some Notable Quotes

  • Brick walls are there for a reason. The brick walls are not there to keep us out. The brick walls are there to show how badly we want something. Because the brick walls are there to stop the people who don’t want something badly enough. They are there to keep out the other people.
  • Work and play well together.
    Be willing to apologize. Proper apologies have three parts:

    • 1) What I did was wrong,
    • 2) I’m sorry that I hurt you,
    • 3) How do I make it better? 
    • It’s the third part that people tend to forget…. Apologize when you screw up and focus on other people, not on yourself.
  • Collaboration, treating others with respect.
    • How do you get people to help you? You can’t get there alone. You get people to help you by telling the truth. Being earnest. I’ll take an earnest person over a hip person any day, because hip is short term. Earnest is long term.
    • Loyalty is a two-way street.
  • Persistence and hard work.
    Experience is what you get when you didn’t get what you wanted…. I probably got more from that dream [of playing professional football] and not accomplishing it than I got from any of the ones that I did accomplish.
  • Fun, wonder, living your dream.
    Never underestimate the importance of having fun. I’m dying and I’m having fun. And I’m going to keep having fun every day, because there’s no other way to play it
  • Risk-taking.
    You can tell the pioneers by the arrows in their backs. – Better to fail spectacularly than do something mediocre.
  • Parenting and kids.
    • Importance of people instead of things.
    • He told a story of buying new convertible that he was so proud of and taking niece and nephew for a ride. Randy’s sister, the kid’s mother was telling them how important it was to keep car pristine and kids were laughing because at the same time he was pouring a can of orange soda on the back seats. His sister asked what are you doing and he said “it’s just a thing.” And nephew Chris wound up being really grateful because he had flu and wound up throwing up on way home. “And I don’t care how much joy you get out of owning a shiny new thing; it’s not as good I felt from making sure that an 8 year old didn’t have to feel guilty for having the flu.”
  • To be cliché, death is a part of life and it’s going to happen to all of us. I have the blessing of getting a little bit of advance notice and I am able to optimize my use of time down the home stretch.
3 Comments leave one →
  1. August 2, 2010 5:05 AM

    thank you for sharing this video! this is a great video full of motivation message. were you actually there taking the video yourself? i hope you don’t mind i share this video on my Facebook. thank you once again.

  2. August 2, 2010 7:11 AM

    I am flattered, by all means feel free to post this in your Facebook.
    Also, I would like you to reference by Blog:

    Thank You,
    Barry Stevens

  3. January 2, 2015 8:15 AM

    Reblogged this on BarryOnEnergy.

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