Sunday, September 21, 2008
the end of the road
randy pausch's last lecture was a lesson for everyone. how to live life to the maximum and seize every moment as it comes.the professor of computer science at carnegie mellon university agreed to give this last lecture when he was diagnosed of terminal cancer of the pancreas.there is a tradition at carnegie mellon of inviting a faculty member to give an annual lecture in a series called 'journeys' in which the faculty member is expected to speak on what he/she has learnt from life and what wisdom he/she wishes to pass on if it was the last opportunity. in the case of randy pausch,the last lecture was really a last lecture because he had a only a few months to live.
delivered on 18th september 2007,there were 6 million people who viewed the lecture online.he spoke to an audience of about 400 students and faculty members.the entire video is available on "you tube" and I would urge everyone to see it. it is absolutely absorbing.the title of the lecture was "really achieving your childhood dreams". randy pausch has a great sense of humour and he is also a great showman.he starts of with his ct scan slides and shows how his pancreas have been invaded by the deadly tumours.and then he starts a series of press-ups and tells the audience that apparently he is fitter than many of them. showing no signs of weakness or exertion for a man who has given up fighting the disease. his death was certain in a few months. "we cannot change the cards we are dealt. just how we play the hand". the exuberant last lecture was full of lessons like overcoming brickwalls.they are really not obstacles but they are there to make you perform better. to seize every second. time is precious and is running out.the terminally ill professor made millions of people all over the world sit up and rethink life.his lecture and the book that followed has changed innumerbale lives,touched american politics and has set off a publishing phenomenon.
his friend jeff zaslow, co-author of this book and a columnist of the 'wall street journal"(wsj) posted a 5 minute video in the wsj's website. it took off like a rocket.randy pausch even appeared on an oprah winfrey show which was watched by more than 10 million people.
the cocky and arrogant professor had a huge fan following in the campus.he had a loving wife jai and doting children-logan,chloe and dylan.a complete family man,he acknowledges his gratitude to his parents who allowed him to dream.the last lecture was actually for his kids.he wanted them to dream like him.and for them to know when they grow up as to how much he loved them.