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Sunday, 24 July 2011

My Inspirations: Randy Pausch


When I say the name “Randy Pausch” to you, what comes to mind?


An intellectual? A family man? An inspiration?  Someone we should all look up to and aspire to be like? 


Randy Pausch was all of the above. But you have probably never heard of him.


For those who aren’t aware, Randy was a Professor at Carnegie Mellon University, he consulted with the likes of google and assisted Walt Disney in their Imagineering program. He founded the Alice software project, which helps kids learn the basics of computer programming and received the National Science Foundation Presidential Young Investigator award, as well as the Karl V. Karlstorm Outstanding educator award and the ACM special interest group on Computer science education award for his outstanding contributions to Computer Science Education. As if that wasn’t enough, he also wrote (or assisted writing) five books and over 70 articles. 


Despite all of these wonderful achievements, he was most proud of his wife Jai, and his three beautiful children. 


Sadly, Randy was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, and fearing the terrible side-effects of prolonged chemotherapy, made the decision to stop it and pursue other treatment options. As his health deteriorated he made a speech that moved not only an auditorium, but a nation, and has racked up over 13 million views on you tube since it was uploaded in the December of 2007.


If you haven’t watched it already, please do. His use of humor and relatable  
wisdom makes for an unforgettable speech. I wanted to move mountains after hearing it. I wanted to become a better person. I wanted to do it all.

The speech is called "Last lecture: Achieving your childhood dreams", and Randy discusses the achievements he has made in his life, as well as looking at the bigger picture and fearlessly telling us what was even more important than making his own dreams come true, and that is helping other's dreams come true. 

It's a wonderful lecture that combines a lifetime of experience and the knowledge that Randy accumulated over his 47 years on the planet for the good of every single viewer. It's something that stays with you.

Some quotes from Randy:
"The brick walls are there for a reason. The brick walls are not there to keep us out. The brick walls are there to give us a chance to show how badly we want something. Because the brick walls are there to stop the people who don’t want it badly enough. They’re there to stop the other people."
"When you're screwing up and nobody's saying anything to you anymore, that means they gave up."

"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." 
"Find the best in everybody. 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." 
He inspired a nation to see the good in people, to set out to become better citizens, to go out there and make their own (and others) dreams come true. Randy was an inspiration. 


Rest in peace Randy. The world is a better place for having had you in it.

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