Tuesday, August 25, 2009

“The Last Lecture” by Randy Pausch

Randy Pausch was a 47 year old professor at Carnegie Mellon. He had an outstanding career in Computer Science. He had become a true guru in his field. He was a husband and father of 3 young children. He was diagnosed with terminal cancer and given 3-6 months to live.

The Last Lecture was Randy’s chance to relate his life experiences and pass on his wisdom to his children. His lecture was given to an audience of upwards of 400 people, but his words have touched the lives of millions. The live lecture he gave became the inspiration for the best-selling book “The Last Lecture.”

I had heard about this lecture for months. I had seen bits of interviews of Randy on news shows. I heard about how many people had viewed the lecture online. When the book hit the New York Times best sellers list, I quickly added it to my store. It wasn’t until recently that I understood what the hype was all about. I listened to the audiobook while on a road trip and now I know why so many lives have been touched by Randy Paush’s Last Lecture.

No matter what race, religion, or gender we are, we all have to face death. Whether it’s the death of a loved one or our own death sentence, we all have to look it in the eye at some point. The courage that Randy displayed in the face of death is truly something to be admired. He did not focus on his illness or his impending death. He focused on how to express gratitude to the people that had made him who he was. He used his time to let his family know how much he loved them.

In his book, he stated that he was grateful that he had been given warning of what was about to happen. Instead of being hit by a bus or dying of a massive heart attack, he had been told that he would die within a few months. Those few months gave him time to prepare his family for life without him. Most of us won’t know when we die. Are we prepared? Have we told the people that mean the most to us how we feel about them? I ask myself those questions.

This book has inspired me to live each day like there won’t be a tomorrow. I want to take every opportunity to show my loved ones just how much they mean to me. I may not have a chance to give a last lecture. Therefore, the way I live my life is my lecture and I hope you give your lecture, too.

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