Wednesday, April 13, 2011

The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch

Last month, my good friend, Karen, shared this book with me. It really is an inspirational book to read. I later found out that my mother has already read that book and she gives it a thumbs up!

The book is about Randy Pausch (a computer science professor at Carnegie Mellon), his life after being diagnosed with terminal cancer and how he tried to live it. He shared his insight during his last lecture entitled "Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams". It was not about dying but "the importance of overcoming obstacles, of enabling the dreams of others, of seizing every moment." A summation of everything he had come to believe. "It was about living".

I've learned a lot from this book (been enlightened, awakened, and more) and I am so lucky that my close friend was able to share it with me. Now it's my turn to pay it forward by sharing it all to you. Of course, I won't be able to write the whole book (it's better if you can get it from a book store). I am just going to share my notes on the words of advice he has given and phrases that really caught my attention.

So here it goes....

  • What makes you unique? All the dreams you had in your life.
  • We can't change things. We just have to decide how we'll respond. We cannot change the cards we are dealt, just how we play the hand.
  • Never make a decision unless you have to.
  • Just because you're in the driver's seat doesn't mean you have to run people over.
  • When you're screwing up and nobody says anything to you anymore, that means they've given up on you.
  • Your critics are often the ones telling you they still love you and care about you, and want to make you better.
  • Self-esteem. It's not something you can give. It's something they (children) have to build.
    • You can give them something they can't do, they work hard until they find they can do it, and you just keep repeating the process
  • Head fake. One that teaches people things they don't realize they're learning until well into the process.
  • The brick walls are there for a reason. They're not there to keep us out. The brick walls are there to give us a chance to show how badly we want something. (he was talking about how he pursued his wife)
  • People are more important than things.
  • Not everything needs to be fixed.
  • 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.
  • Semantics. He was talking about how people can mean the same thing but express it in 2 different ways which will have a different effect on the person receiving the message.
  • The only way any of us can improve is if we develop a real ability to assess ourselves. 
  • It's a thrill to fulfill your own childhood dreams, but as you get older, you may find that enabling the dreams of others is even more fun.
    • talking about paying it forward, passing it on
  • Don't complain, just work harder
    • If you took 1/10 the energy you put into complaining and applied it to solving the problem, you'd be surprised by how well things can work out.
  • Complaining does not work as a strategy. We all have finite time and energy. Any time we spend whining is unlikely to help us achieve our goals. And it won't make us happier.
  • Treat the disease, not the symptom.
  • Don't obsess about what people think
Tips for working successfully in a group
  • Meet people properly
    • it all starts with the introduction. Make sure you can pronounce everyone's names.
  • Find things you have in common
  • Try for for optional meeting conditions
    • Make sure no one is hungry, cold or tired
  • Let everyone talk
    • don't finish someone's sentences
    • talking louder or faster doesn't make your ideas any better
  • Check egos at the door
  • Praise each other
  • Phrase alternatives as questions

Look for the bes in everybody
  • when you're frustrated with people, when they've made you angry, it's just maybe because you haven't given them enough time
  • Almost everybody has a good side. Just keep waiting. It will come out.
Time management
  • Time must be explicitly managed, like money.
    • don't invest time on irrelevant details
  • You can always change you plan, but only if you have one.
    • the most useful to-do list breaks tasks into small steps
  • Ask yourself: Are you spending your time on the right things?
    • you may have causes, goals, interests. Are they even worth pursuing?
  • Develop a good filing system
    • alphabetical order
  • Rethink the telephone
    • always use speaker phone (when on hold) so hands are free to do something else
  • Delegate
    • it's never too early to delegate 
  • Take a time out
    • it's not a real vacation if you're reading email or calling in for messages
TIME IS ALL YOU HAVE. And you may find one day that you have less that you think.

When it comes to men who are romantically interested in you, it's really simple. Just ignore everything they say and only pay attention to what they do. I find this very true!

  • Dance with the one who brung you.
    • a reminder about loyalty and appreciation
  • Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity (Seneca, Roman philosopher)
  • Whether you think you can or can't, you're right!
  • It's not how hard you hit. It's how hard you get hit.... and keep moving forward.
Experience is what you get when you didn't get what you wanted.
  • a reminder that failure is not just acceptable, it is often essential
  • and experience is often the most valuable thing you have to offer
The person who knows success can be more oblivious to all the pitfalls.

Showing gratitude is one of the simplest yet more powerful things human can do for each other.
  • hand-written notes - just the nicest thing to do. And you never know what magic might happen after it arrives to someone's mailbox. (he was talking about a job applicant)
If you work more hours you learn more about your craft. That can make you more efficient, more able, even happier. Hard work is like compounded interest in the bank. The rewards build faster. (his answer when asked what was his secret for getting his tenure one year early)

Go out and do for others what somebody did for you. Pay it forward.

Be prepared (sharing the story of a professor who brought along a spare bulb for the projector)
  • another way to be prepared is to think negatively. But be an optimist. You have a contingency plan for when all hell breaks lose.
A good apology is like an antibiotic; a bad apology is like rubbing salt in the wound.
  • proper apology
    1. what i did was wrong
    2. i feel badly that i hurt you
    3. how do i make this better?
There is more than one way to measure profits and losses. On every level, institutions can and should have a heart. (talking about his childhood experience when he and his sister bought a salt and pepper shaker at Disneyland, which he accidentally broke on the way out of the store, and which was gladly replaced by the store attendant, no questions asked. This in turn made his father, and him, appreciate Disney more and brought back more people, probably earning Disney $100,000).

No job should be beneath us.

If you can find your footing between 2 cultures, sometimes you have the best of both worlds. 

If you want something badly enough, never give up (and take a boost when offered!) - he was talking about how he was rejected and given a referral and a little "insider push".

When we're connected to others, we become better people.
  • communitarian
  • rights and responsibilities
Sometimes all you have to do is ask.

Emotional insurance

It can be a very disruptive thing for parents to have specific dreams for their kids.
  • a parent's job is to encourage kids to develop a joy for life and a great urge to follow their own dreams. The best we could do is to help them develop personal set of tools for the task.
    • find their own way to fulfillment
    • Depending on a child's age and sense of self, an offhand comment from Mom and Dad can feel like a shove from a bulldozer.
Put on your own oxygen mask before assisting others.
  • when we become physically or emotionally rundown, we can't help anybody else, least of all small children

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.

This is just the gist of it. When I have more time I would like to share more details and stories in the book.

By the way, the head fake in his lecture is that he was actually addressing it to his kids who he will have less time to spend with during their childhood years. A way to reach out to them in their teenage and adult years.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Feel free to leave your comments, as your questions, share parenting tips and tricks, a book title or two.


milestone moments | Desenvolvido por EMPORIUM DIGITAL