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There’s a lot of self help stuff out there, motivating people to slough through their natural indulgences and lethargy to achieve the most out of life.  But I haven’t seen much more inspiring than this talk.   It’s by Randy Pausch, a Carnegie Mellon University computer-science professor, who has led an amazing life, and at age 47, faces terminal cancer, with 3-5 months to live.  It’s a LONG talk, almost 2 hours, but really worth it to see the whole thing if you have the time.  A Wall Street Journal article on Randy and his lecture can be read here, with a 5 minute abbreviated video of the lecture, if you don’t want to watch the whole 2 hours.

It’s surreal to watch a man who is dying be so inspiring, all with such a wonderful sense of humor.  What is so inspiring about it?  Well, it’s basically a story of his life framed around his childhood goals, and how he tried to achieve them in his life.   What really struck me while I was watching it was that I don’t think I’ve ever really written down what I want to achieve before I die.  Seems silly that I haven’t, I mean, this is my only life, but how many of us are that focused and driven?  I’ve always had a vague direction I’ve pointed myself in, but concrete, written down goals that I want to see checked off before I die?  No.  But after watching this, I definitely will be drafting something.  Because as Randy has found, life can take unexpected turns at any moment.

I also loved a few quotes from his lecture.  First, that “experience is what you get when you didn’t get what you wanted.”  And, “…brick walls are here for a reason. The brick walls are not there to keep us out. The brick walls are there to give us  chance to show how badly we want something. Because the brick walls are there to stop the people who don’t want it badly enough. They’re there to stop the other people.”

A full written transcript can be found here.

  • Sandy

    I’ve not heard this guy (I’ll definitely check it out), but I did get the opportunity to hear a talk from a guy that told the story of how he and a group of his friends scaled K2 in the Himalayas. It was awe inspiring to hear the stories of what his group had to go through. I have to say I don’t have a focused list of things I want to do before I die. But I have a couple things I know I want to do… just not all of the things.

  • Paxx

    “experience is what you get when you didn’t get what you wanted.” Excellent quote. I’ll have to check it out, thanks in advance.

  • /target Randy Pausch
    /salute

    /target Felicia
    /applaud

  • Jen

    I saw a piece on this lecture a week or so ago on the news. Incredible.

    Rating: 5 handkerchiefs.

  • Thanks for this inspiring post. I too will be working on my list. The brick wall analogy is so simple yet so true!

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