Thursday, April 10, 2008

Dying Professor's Last Lecture

Many of you have probably heard of Randy Pausch, the Carnegie-Mellon professor who has terminal pancreatic cancer. He gave his “last lecture” back in September to a packed audience at the university. His words are truly inspiring.

I don’t know if anyone saw this interview with Diane Sawyer last evening but the hour long special is well worth watching. Everyone should also watch this professor’s last lecture which is available on the same page. What he says in his last lecture should inspire everyone to think differently about the way we live our lives. It’s inspiring me.
H/T to slightlysalty


At 10:43 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This was amazingly powerful. I have been thinking about Randy and his family for days now after watching this...

At 10:59 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


Like you, I found the lecture as well as the Diane Sawyer interview moving.

Along the same lines, here are the contents of an email that my wife received at work and shared.

Ready or not, someday it will all come to an end.
There will be no more sunrises, no minutes, hours or days.
All the things you collected, whether treasured or forgotten, will pass to someone else.
Your wealth, fame and temporal power will shrivel to irrelevance.
It will not matter what you owned or what you were owed.
Your grudges, resentments, frustrations, and jealousies will finally disappear.
So, too, your hopes, ambitions, plans, and to-do lists will expire.

The wins and losses that once seemed so important will fade away.
It won't matter where you came from, or on what side of the tracks you lived, at the end.
It won't matter whether you were beautiful or brilliant
Even your gender and skin color will be irrelevant.

So what will matter? How will the value of your days be measured?

What will matter is not what you bought, but what you built; not what you got, but what you gave.
What will matter is not your success, but your significance.
What will matter is not what you learned, but what you taught.

What will matter is every act of integrity, compassion, courage or sacrifice that enriched, empowered or encouraged others to emulate your example.
What will matter is not your competence, but your character.
What will matter is not how many people you knew, but how many will feel a lasting loss when you're gone.

What will matter is not your memories, but the memories that live in those who loved you.
What will matter is how long you will be remembered, by whom and for what.
Living a life that matters doesn't happen by accident. It's not a matter of circumstance but of choice.

Choose to live a life that matters.

At 11:32 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

How inspiring Randy Pausch is! If you liked "The Last Lecture", another fantastic memoir I just read and highly recommend is "My Stroke of Insight" by Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor. Her TEDTalk video ( has been seen as many times as The Last Lecture I think, and Oprah did 4 shows on her book, so there are a lot of similarities. In My Stroke of Insight, there's a happy ending though. It's an incredible story! I hear they're making it into a movie.


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