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The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch

Date: Jul 18, 2022

The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch

The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch is a book that inspired me to look back and wonder about my childhood dreams. It really made me curious about the choices that led me towards and away from successful outcomes…

From the very first page it becomes apparent that the author (then in his mid-40s), was diagnosed with an aggressive form of cancer. Having realised that he only had a few months to live, Randy Pausch decided to make the most of his remaining time by giving a lecture on achieving one of his childhood dreams – working for Disney Imagineering.

The lecture was not about dying. It was about living and overcoming obstacles by turning them into opportunities. The book itself can be seen as Randy’s testimony to his children who were simply too young to understand all the things that he wanted to share with them at that time. Instead of spending his final days with family and friends, Randy decided to use the time he had left to give his last lecture. Pausch wanted to make sure that he left his children with something that would help them remember him. In the book, he talks about his childhood stories, adult life experiences and some of the greatest lessons that he learned later in his life.

Starting with his early years, Randy provides a deep insight into his life and why childhood dreams are so important to him… The author explains that he was able to live out his childhood because he was born with a winning ticket. He won the “parent lottery” as his parents did a great job raising him. In his book, Randy recalls a situation where his dad taught him that if there is “an elephant in the room”, he should introduce it. This metaphor illustrates the idea of talking about our problems rather than keeping them to ourselves and pretending that nothing has happened. Randy accepted the fact that he had about ten tumours in his liver, and he moved on with a smile, making plans for his kids and wife so they could live in a better place once he was gone.

Through his book, Pausch also encourages parents to allow their children to be creative so they can express their true emotions from an early age. To back up this belief, Randy illustrates a situation where his parents allowed him to paint his bedroom walls when he was in high school. Although, they weren’t thrilled, they never painted over the walls. This shows that as parents, we should always support our children’s creativity and encourage their imagination…

Moving on to his adult life, Randy speaks about “brick walls” – failures which are meant to slow you down but not stop your goals. There were many instances throughout Randy’s life where a brick wall has come up, but he never gave up. One of the obstacles that he turned into an opportunity was getting rejected when he applied to be an Imagineer with Disney. He worked really hard until another opportunity arose to meet with a person who offered him a full-time job at Disney. After reading this, I came to realise that failures are there for a reason and sometimes it all needs to go wrong in order for us to come back stronger!

It is inspiring to know that Randy fulfilled his childhood dreams. This book shows that no matter how hard it is, your dreams will come to you if you work hard. Brick walls are there to show you how badly you want something, and they can make you even more determined to achieve your goals. What I’ve learned is that I am responsible for making my life choices and I can choose how to respond to every situation.

The morale of this story is to live your childhood dreams and never forget to have fun along the way! Time is all you have, and you may find one day that you have less time than you think! Although the author is no longer with us, he lived his life to the fullest and appreciated all the little things. I loved reading “The Last Lecture” and I’m sure it will stay with me for a long time.