Saturday, August 16, 2008

Lessons from The Last Lecture

Dedicated to all my friends who want to live their dreams....

The Last Lecture is a slim book that can be read in just a few sittings. It is full of stories and aphorisms, many of which are familiar from its video progenitor. We revisit Randy Pausch's fulfillment of his childhood dreams and the principles he learned along the way.

I've learnt some good lessons on life from Pausch. (At the moment, I'm still waiting for the video to download) One of the many I learnt was about brick walls - that they are there for three reasons:
1) to see how much you want to achieve that goal
2) to keep other people who don't want it bad enough
3) to prove how badly you want something

So when faced with a brick wall (or walls), never ever give up! Breaking through or climbing over (whichever way you prefer) that brick wall would only make you a tougher, stronger person ;)

Also, learn to be an open book. By this, I didn't mean being easily 'read' by others. I meant, leave your book opened with pages to be filled with the input of others. You'd never know how much you could learn from other people's experiences...

Speaking of experience, in his book he said, 'Experience is what you get when you didn't get what you wanted.' I couldn't agree more. How many times have you ended up getting what you didn't want and often complained about it? Well, I have. One of which I could relate to, was my job as a telephone operator. You know, those 24hour hotline services telco companies provide? I was one of the telephone operators in one of the telco companies in Singapore. I just graduated then, and I didn't know what I really wanted to do, but I was pretty sure that a 'telephone operator' wasn't one of them. But because my mom thought I was wasting my time away doing nothing, she asked me to 'earn some good money and have some spending power.' So I thought, yeah, why not. I wanna buy those books without having to ask money from her!

And my job as a telephone operator is one of the jobs that I'm most proud of till today. Although the job could get pretty taxing at times, I had alot of fun. Most of all, this job taught me many skills. If not because of it, I wouldn't be who I am or where I am today. I think this is one of the best 'head fakes' (indirect learning) I had ever gotten.

Another lesson that I loved, was the quotation from the Roman philosopher Seneca who said that "luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity." Are you nodding to this? I'm sure you and I have experienced it one way or another. Moral of the story? Always put on Prepare, so whenever Luck knocks, you'd be ready to meet Opportunity! ;)

I know many of you would enjoy reading this book as much as I did (I got pretty emotional towards the end, knowing that we had lost this great man). Grab a copy of it if you can, borrow it from me if you want, or just download the video :) Till then, enjoy life and live it like there's no tomorrow!

In case you don't know who Randy Pausch is:
Randy Pausch, the computer science professor who rose to fame after giving a quirky last lecture about celebrating life in the face of his terminal cancer, died Friday, 25th July 2008. The 47-year-old died at his home in Chesapeake, Va., according to Wall Street Journal columnist Jeffrey Zaslow, who helped launch Pausch to fame after writing about the speech.

A pioneer in the field of virtual reality who became a professor at his alma mater, Carnegie Mellon University, Pausch also co-founded the school's Entertainment Technology Center and developed programs to make teaching computer science and animation more fun for high school and post-secondary students.

He also helped develop the Alice 3D-animation software and had stints at Walt Disney and Electronic Arts.

He was diagnosed with incurable pancreatic cancer in September 2006.

A year later, Pausch took part in a lecture series at the university that saw professors give hypothetical final talks and speak about what mattered most to them.

The popular and flamboyant Pausch drew a packed crowd for his light-hearted session, dedicated to his children.

He joked about his realized and unrealized childhood dreams and urged people to have more fun and live life to the fullest.

Pausch is survived by his wife, three children, his mother and his sister.
(For more, go to: http://www.cbc.ca/health/story/2008/07/25/obit-pausch-randy.html?)ref=rss)

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