Randy Pausch – a Commencement Address of a Lifetime

Those of you who follow my blog know that I’m a fan of Randy Pausch, like so many others. I first blogged about him last September, after watching his Lecture of a Lifetime — what he has learned in his too-short years, and the legacy he wants to leave his wife and children. As I said then, I felt his remarks were simply brilliant, and brilliantly simple.

[If you haven’t heard of this fine man, you should know that in August 2007, he was given up to six months to live. He is dying of pancreatic cancer, a swift killer with very few who survive it more than a few months once it’s diagnosed.]

Then in February I posted an update with a link to his personal blog. It has been one of the most linked-to posts I’ve ever written here.

I learned Randy appeared on Oprah today. That means that people who had not heard of Randy, and his “lecture of a lifetime” before today have certainly heard of him now.

I didn’t see Oprah, but I did decide I needed to check back in with this remarkable man. On his personal blog I found a link to the video of his address to the Carnegie-Mellon Class of 2008. (As an aside, I’m proud to say that my closest friend’s son, named Tim, was a top engineering graduate at Carnegie Tech this year — you go, Tim!)

Just like any of the other appearances of Randy’s I’ve witnessed, his graduation speech was moving; moving to the point that you just wish — just WISH — and hope and pray that his death is a loooong time coming from now. He is so generous with his words of wisdom. He needs more time to share them all.

He made two excellent points for the rest of us:

  • When we are on our deathbeds, it won’t be the things we did that we regret. It will be the things we didn’t do.
  • To live your best life, find your passion — the thing that fuels you from the inside. You won’t find it in things you buy or own. You’ll find it will be grounded in other people.

Since first discovering Dr. Pausch last year, I’ve felt a bit of a kinship. Unless you’ve ever heard that death sentence (you have only six months to live) you can’t really relate to it. But if you have heard it? You discover there is a very strong tie that binds you to that person — and I feel that tie with Randy Pausch.

Take the six minutes to watch his commencement address. It will stay with you, as I hope it will stay with those many graduates of Carnegie Mellon who were lucky enough to have known Dr. Randy Pausch, even if it was only for those few minutes at commencement.

Find an update to this post:  A July Update on Randy Pausch

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3 thoughts on “Randy Pausch – a Commencement Address of a Lifetime”

  1. Very inspiring. I completly agree with the saying that on our deathbeds we would regret the things that we didn’t do. Therefore in my opinion we should always do what we want as long as it’s not hurting anyone.

  2. I’m sorry Pausch has died, and my thoughts go to his family, but I disliked his lectures. He said little that I haven’t heard before from a plethora of “live your dreams”-type books and videos, and hearing it all in one place like this is something I not only do not find inspiring, I find it intensely depressing. I’m glad he has inspired other people, but all he did for me is make me realize that the circumstances of my life will never allow me to realize my dreams.

  3. I heard today that he died. I first watched his lecture a year ago and made others look at it too. It is a lose. He is on my short list of heros.

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Trisha Torrey
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