Archive | December, 2017

Randy Pausch Last Lecture 10 Years Later

The “Last Lecture” was uploaded to YouTube ten years ago to this very day. What is not surprising is how revelent his lessons were and still are. “It’s not about how to achieve your dreams. It’s about how to lead your life. If you lead your life the right way, the karma will take care of itself. The dreams will come to you.”


  1. Have specific dreams
  2. It’s all about the fundamentals
  3. The brickwalls are there for a reason.
    • The brickwalls are there not to keep us out. The brickwalls
      are there to give us a chance to show how badly we want something. The brickwalls are there to stop the people who do not want it badly enough. They are there to stop other people. Brickwalls let us show our real dedication.
  4. Have fun.
  5. Help others.
  6. How to get people to help you?
    • Tell the truth
    • Be earnest
    • Apologize when you screw up
    • Focus on others, not yourself
  7. Don’t bail; the best gold is at the bottom of barrels of crap.
  8. Don’t complain; just work harder.
  9. Be good at something; it makes you valuable.
  10. Be prepared: “luck” is where preparation meets opportunity.

  • When Nobody’s Saying Anything to You Anymore, That Means They Give Up
    • Randy tells the story of one of his most grueling football practices. When it was all over, one of the assistant coaches came over and said, “Coach Graham rode you pretty hard, didn’t he?” Randy replied, “yeah.” The assistant responded, “That’s a good thing … When you’re screwing up, and nobody’s saying anything to you anymore, that means they gave up.”
    • Randy’s take away was … when you see yourself doing something badly and nobody’s bothering to tell you anymore, that’s a very bad place to be. Your critics are your ones telling you they still love you and care.
  • Brick Walls are there for a Reason
    • They let us prove how badly we want things. Brick walls let us show our dedication. “They are there to separate us from the people who don’t really want to achieve their childhood dreams.”
  • People vs. Things
    • Randy shares a lesson about the importance of people vs. things. His parents taught him early on the importance of people over things. When he got his first convertible, he drove to his sister’s house to pickup his niece and nephew to watch them for the weekend. While his sister explained to her kids how careful they needed to be in Randy’s new car, Randy slowly poured a can of soda on the back seat of his car, to make the point that it’s just a thing. Randy says this was a good thing because his nephew got the flu and threw up on the backseat on the way back.
    • The point Randy makes is that he doesn’t care how much value you get by owning a shiny thing.  It doesn’t feel as good as he felt that his 8 year old nephew wasn’t embarrassed that he had the flu.
  • Leadership Skills from Captain Kirk
    • Randy shares how he learned the value of leadership from Captain Kirk. “What I learned that carried me forward in leadership later is that he wasn’t the smartest guy on the ship. I mean, Spock was pretty smart, and McCoy was the doctor, and Scotty was the engineer … and, you sort of go, and what skill set did he have to get on this damn thing and run it? … and clearly there is this skill set called leadership, and whether or not you liked the series, there’s no doubt that there was a lot to be learned about leading people by watching this kind of action.”
  • Have Specific Dreams
    • Randy didn’t want to be an astronaut, he wanted the floating. When he got older, he found a way to experience zero-gravity, without having to first become an astronaut.
  • Be Good at Something
    • It makes you valuable. Have something to bring to the table, because that will make you more welcomed.
  • Most of What We Learn, We Learn Indirectly or by a “Head Fake”
    • Randy teaches us that we actually don’t want our kids to learn football … but we send our kids out to learn much more important things: teamwork, sportsmanship, perseverance.  “These kind of head fake learnings are absolutely important and you should keep your eye out for them because they are everywhere.”
  • It’s all About the Fundamentals
    • You’ve got to get the fundamentals down, because otherwise the fancy stuff isn’t going to work.
  • Have Fun
    • Never underestimate the importance of fun. Choose to have fun. Have fun while learning something hard. Randy says, “I don’t know how to not have fun. I’m dying and I’m having fun. And, I’m going to keep having fun, everyday I have left, because there’s no other way to play it.”
  • It’s Not What You say, but How You say It
    • Randy shares an example, where two people say the same thing, but they say it in different ways: “I don’t know” is different than, “Well, I don’t have much information but one of my star faculty members is here and he’s all excited so I want to learn more.”
  • Work and Play Well with Others
    • What goes around comes around. You can’t get there alone. Tell the truth, be earnest, apologize when you screw up, and focus on others, not yourself.
  • Apologize Properly
    • Apologize (properly).  A good apology has 3 parts: 1) I’m sorry.  2) It was my fault. 3) How do I make it right?
  • Never Give Up
    • “Don’t bail; the best gold is at the bottom of the barrels of crap.”
  • Do the Right Thing
    • When you do the right thing, good stuff has a way to happen.
  • Get a Feedback Loop and Listen to It
    • When people give you feedback, cherish it and use it. “It can be a spreadsheet of data or it can be one great person that tells you what you need to hear. The hard part is listening to it.”
  • Show Gratitude
    • “Please” and “Thank you” go a long way.
  • Don’t complain. Just work harder.
    • Jackie Robinson had it in his contract not to complain, even when the fans spit on him.  You can choose to take your finite time, energy and effort complaining or you can spend it playing the game hard, which is probably going to be more helpful to you in the long run.
  • Find the Best in Everybody
    • Find the best in everybody, no matter how you have to wait for them to show it. “You might have to wait a long time, sometimes years, but People will show you their good side. Just keep waiting no matter how long it takes. No one is all evil. Everybody has a good side. Just keep waiting, it will come out.”
  • Be Prepared
    • “Luck” is where preparation meets opportunity.
  • When you don’t get what you want, you get experience.
    • Randy says it so well, “Experience is what you get when you didn’t get what you wanted.”
  • If you lead your life the right way, your dreams will come to you.
    • “It’s not about how to achieve your dreams, but how to lead your life. If you lead your life the right way, the Karma will take care of itself. The dreams will come to you.”
  • Decide If You’re Tigger or Eeyore
    • You just have to decide if you’re Tigger who finds fun in every situation or Eeyore and want to wallow in self-misery.
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