The Last Lecture: Lesson In Living

The Last Lecture, a lecture given by a professor about life when he was on his death bed. Originally, he had given a lecture which was later converted into a book.

The idea of the last lecture was a hypothetical question, “If you know you are going to die and you have one last lecture to give, what would you say to your students?” though, for Mr. Pausch, it wasn’t hypothetical. He was fighting pancreatic cancer. He had only a few days in his hand, instead of spending time with his family he chose to give this lecture. This lecture was very very very important for him.

I don’t think I can do justice in explaining what this novel is all about. But I can definitely pen down some beautiful message Mr. Pausch wanted to tell the world.

  • The importance of critics in life:

When you see yourself doing something badly and nobody’s bothering to tell you anymore, that’s a bad place to be. You may not want to hear it, but your critics are often the ones telling you they still love you and care about you, and want to make you better.

  • Play fair, not every decision is a wise one:

Never make a decision until you have to. Just because you’re in the driver’s seat doesn’t mean you have to run people over.

I so wish Salman Khan knew this.

  • Sometimes the world doesn’t need to know about your perseverance. Your success says it all.

I didn’t want anyone to know just how long it took me to be successful. Tenacity is a virtue, but it’s not always crucial for everyone to observe how hard you work at something.

Mr. Pausch was good at winning soft toys.

  • Have specific dreams.

Even dreams need to be perfect and specific. Randy didn’t wanted to be an astronaut, he wanted to float specifically feel it. When he got older, he found a way to experience zero-gravity, without having to first become an astronaut.

  • It’s not what you say, but how you say it is important.

Words play an important role in our life. Sometimes a sugar coated twisted truth, can change the entire game unlike a blunt truth.

Mr. Pausch shared an incident, where two people say the same thing, but 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.”

  • There is no such thing called failure.

Mr. Pausch wrote it beautifully, “Experience is what you get when you didn’t get what you wanted.”

This line feels so good and it is so motivating. We all know this but I wonder how many actually believe it strongly.

  • 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.”

  • No problem comes without a solution.

No matter how bad things are, you can always make things worse. At the same time, it is often within your power to make them better. It’s all about what you choose to do and how you deal with life.

  • Tigger or Eeyore?

Please watch winne the Pooh to understand it better. I so knew it, every single character of that cartoon convey some real messages. You just have to decode it better.

But this one is coming from Mr. Pausch: You need to decide if you’re Tigger or Eeyore. Tigger finds the fun in every situation. Eeyore wallows in self-misery.

This is so very important, people need to understand self-pity is not going to take you anywhere. It will only drown you deeper and deeper. Learn to take responsibility of your actions because only you and you are responsible for it.

  • Time must be explicitly managed, like money.

Though we all know how valuable time is, still money is treated as the most precious thing.

  • You can always change your plan, but only if you have one.

Mr. Pausch was a big believer in to-do lists. It helps us break life into small steps. The most useful to-do list, breaks tasks into small steps. It’s very encouraging, after every step you can always take yourself on treat.

  • Ask yourself: Are you spending your time on the right things?

You may have causes, goals, interests. Are they even worth pursuing? I’ve long held on to a clipping from a newspaper in Roanoke, Virginia. It featured a photo of a pregnant woman who had lodged a protest against a local construction site. She worried that the sound of jackhammers was injuring her unborn child. But get this: In the photo, the woman is holding a cigarette. If she cared about her unborn child, the time she spent railing against jackhammers would have been better spent putting out that cigarette.

This is so so so important in today’s world. There is so freaking much to do, that we forget about the important things in race of accomplishing all unimportant things.

That’s all for now. This post was getting so long that I had to stop.


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