The Last Lecture

On September 18, 2007, Carnegie Mellon professor and alumnus Randy Pausch delivered a one-of-a-kind last lecture that made the world stop and pay attention. [CMU.edu]

I listened to the lecture once upon a time. Because my friend Kelly is amazing, I recently had the opportunity to listen to the audio version of the book. It was impossible to get through without crying. The following quotes are courtesy of goodreads.com.

“We cannot change the cards we are dealt, just how we play the hand.”

“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.”

“It’s important to have specific dreams. Dream Big. Dream without fear.”

“Give yourself permission to dream. Fuel your kids’ dreams too. Once in a while, that might even mean letting them stay up past their bedtimes.”

It should be noted the last quote came where he was talking about being at summer camp on July 21, 1969. The camp counselors decided it was taking too long for Neil Armstrong to step out of the Eagle, and sent the kids to bed. Randy’s father had taken a picture of that exact moment and showed it to him when he returned from camp.

It was impossible to listen to the end of this book without sobbing. I cried yesterday when it was over. There was a brief interview with Randy after the end of the book, and he said the hardest part was the ending.

If you have a chance, please read this book. Listen to it. Watch the video I’ve posted below. Randy Pausch was an incredible man, and this lecture and the book gave me some major perspective. I won’t hold my kids back from their dreams or tell them they can’t. I’ve always felt that way, but this? This made me want to tell them to dream bigger, work harder, and never give up.

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