Squinting to See the Rainbow: Randy Pausch

Update: I wrote the post below 8 months ago. Since then, Randy has been on Oprah and the cover of every magazine imaginable. You can read how he is doing on his journey here. This guy is an incredible example of a possibility thinker. I try to emulate him. As you read his story, I think you will see why.

This morning on the way to work I heard Bill Handel on 640 KFI am radio talking about The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch that took place at Carnegie Mellon University. It has become a trendy thing now for universities to have these lecture series with famous professors who “pretend” this is their last lecture, including all the wisdom they can muster. Usually these lectures draw in people from all over and they charge quite a bit for attendance.

At Carnegie Mellon a few days ago there was a “last lecture” that got the biggest turnout yet, probably because the 40-something lecturer Randy Pausch has invented an incredible software well known in the industry that teaches kids programming through 3D cartoon images. Unfortunately he won’t be able to see just how well it does because he has been given only 6 months to live with liver cancer. He amazingly still cracks joke better than a standup at the Improv.

As I listened to him lecture in a humorous “fun” way, I wiped back tears. This man, not much older than me and also with a family, is facing the biggest brick wall and limitaton to possibility thinking one can imagine, and yet he is still giving wisdom, joy, and wit to those of us who will remain. If anyone had an excuse to curl up and become a toxic person, it is this man. Still, he CHOOSES to live with an open mind toward the possibilities left in his life. Despite the storm, he is squinting to see the rainbow and I truly applaud him as a hero for that. At the KFI website this morning I was lucky to find a link to his “last lecture” (literally in his case). If you are interested in RAW words of inspiration from an in incredible guy you can watch this wmv video of the speech and hear this AMAZING thinker speak at length about possibility thinking. If you have the time, it is worth it. I am dedicating this post of the series to Randy Pausch and his family.

Video of the Speech:

Visit Randy Pausch’s Website: http://www.cs.cmu.edu/~pausch/


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Damien Riley

I was born in 1969 and I write about all I have seen. Not quite a hippie but I share some of their cultural sensitivities, like peace. I'm a married teacher with 3 kids. This blog is a free flow sharing of blog posts, hand-picked statuses, and photos. I also post to Twitter as Cre8nNov8. Thanks for reading.

11 thoughts on “Squinting to See the Rainbow: Randy Pausch”

  1. Hey Damien,

    I haven’t seen the video yet. I’ll have to get on one of the kids computers to see it. I only use Macs—

    I’m sure this won’t surprise you, but I’m a living in the here and now believer. After losing my father and my brother at terribly young ages, you really have to make the most of each day you have here.

    Not that M*A*S*H* is probably a great source for quoting this kind of stuff, but I remember one episode where everybody was moaning about being in Korea and they all wanted to be at home. Colonel Potter said you have to be where you are right now. If your head isn’t where you are right now, then you are no place….or something like that…but it’s true.

    I’ll be sure to check out the video!


  2. When I first read a report about Randy Pausch’s Last Lecture, I cried my eyes out (it was more about the his illness than the content of his speech). I was therefore very hesitant to watch this video. I’m glad I did though, because his lecture is so full of humour and positivity — I had a good chuckle throughout and passed this page to some of my friends (with note of the length of the video : It is more than an hour long, but it’s really worth watching). He’s such an inspirational character, strong and with a generous heart.

    Ginger Ms last blog post..Is It Time to Quit?

  3. Hi Ginger, thanks for that comment. He is a real example to me that’s for sure. I’m glad you passed the video along, it has basic principles that can reall help us see life in a better, new way.

  4. Pingback: Imagineer I Know

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