Randy Pausch was a professor of computer science at Carnegie Mellon University. In September, 2006 he learned that he had terminal pancreatic cancer and a year later he delivered a speech commonly referred to as a “Last Lecture” titled “Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams”. A video of this speech was posted on the internet and was watched by millions of people. Randy states that while this lecture was given to students and faculty at Carnegie Mellon using his life’s dreams and ambitions to inspire the next generation, his real intent was to leave behind a legacy for his children.
We learn that while Randy did everything in his power to achieve all of his childhood dreams, not everything was accomplished. We learn the power of failing and how that can also help achieve your dreams. We learn that sometimes your dreams do not come true but may lead you to something you may not have realized you wanted in the first place. The theme of his lecture was about how having childhood dreams and the road to achieve these dreams may be blocked by “brick walls” (cmu.edu) but teaches that “brick walls are there for a reason, they let us prove how badly we want things”. (cmu.edu) That is one of many inspirational quotes given by Randy in his 75 minute lecture.
During his lecture he describes six childhood dreams he had and what he did to achieve those dreams. While the lecture alone was powerful and thought provoking, knowing this was coming from a man with terminal cancer and the positive attitude in which he presents his life is truly inspiring to both students and teachers alike.
His lecture was then turned into a New York Times bestselling book. Dotted with personal stories and pictures, the book put a more human face on an already motivating speech.
One day as I was finishing the book (for the second time!) a teacher friend called me on the phone. We got into a discussion on how Randy was a...