1960 – 2008
Late last year, someone sent me an email encouraging me to watch an extraordinary lecture by a professor at Carnegie Mellon University, Randy Pausch, who had been recently diagnosed with terminal pancreatic cancer. His lecture, titled The Last Lecture, centered on truly realizing your childhood dreams and wound up becoming a viral sensation. Ultimately, the lecture was modified into a best-selling book (a $6 million deal for Randy & his family).
Although the lecture was designed as a legacy for his three young children, it ended up being an inspiration to millions. Randy’s contention was that if you live your life right, karma will take care of the rest. I think that his last year, just like the rest of his life, proved that theory out.
If you haven’t experienced the lecture or even if you already have, I strongly encourage you to view it:
While he explains that he totally understands exactly where his situation stood, he was humorous, engaging and thoroughly sincere in making people see a path to their dreams. In the Spring, Oprah invited him to give an abridged version of his original 75 minute lecture on her show. Interestingly, his mood is much more serious and emotional. The difference in six months showed the psychological wear and tear of living with the fact that you are dying and seeing the affects on your friends and family.
Abbreviated lecture on Oprah
Randy lost his battle with cancer on Friday, passing on at the age of 47. However, his positive message of constant pursuit of happiness and dreams has been viewed by over four million viewers. This lecture will stand as a testament to someone who truly influenced and impacted people lives with a simple example of living a good life — a life of purpose and pursuit. In the end, Randy provided the perfect legacy for his children…and for many, many others — through his enthusiasm, humor and tenacity.
In a recent TIME interview, a reader asked a musical question of Randy: “What music do you turn to these days to help you get through?” His answer was that he and his kids are particularly fond of Sgt. Pepper’s….a particluarly fitting piece.
Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band/With a Little Help From My Friends