Remembering Randy Pausch

July 25, 2010 20 Comments TAGS: Career, Kids, Marriage, Money, Stress

What if you found out you were going to die… shortly? What would you do? How would you live your remaining days? Would you crawl under a hole and wait? Would you bungee jump or sail around the world? It’s a deep and introspective question.

Two years ago today, July 25, 2008, at the age of 47, a man that captivated the hearts of millions of people around the world (and mine), lost his battle to pancreatic cancer. Randy Pausch, Carnegie Mellon professor and alumnus, husband, and father to three beautiful children.  What is an academic tradition, to give students a “last lecture,”  the notion that: if you knew you were going to die, what would you tell your students… actually became his own last lecture. He called it “Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams,” and he delivered this inspirational speech at Carnegie Mellon University on September 18, 2007 to an immensely captive audience, including Randy’s family, friends, students, and colleagues. When he gave the lecture, he had just been given 3-6 months to live.


And why I would like to honor his life today, on the anniversary of his death, is because Randy Pausch was certainly not sitting on any fences when it came to how he was going to live the remainder of his days. He maximized every waking minute, and made every one count. I don’t want to give too much away. I urge you to watch his lecture, as I did in its entirety almost three years ago, and then I would love your feedback and thoughts below.  Randy said that he gave the lecture for only three people in this world (the answer is in the video).

To sum up the highlights and lessons we can learn from Randy Pausch:

  • It is an easy time to dream when we are young (and happy) and we should never lose that spirit.
  • Experience is what you get if you don’t get what you wanted.
  • When people drive you hard, they care about you.  They want you to be better.  When you are doing a bad job and no one points it out to you, that is when they have given up on you.
  • Brick walls are there for a reason: they let us prove how badly we want things.
  • Good parents are instrumental for us to achieve our childhood dreams.
  • The importance of people versus things (people come first, always)!
  • Never ever underestimate the importance of having fun.  Choose to have fun today, tomorrow, and every day thereafter.
  • Work and play well with others: (1) tell the truth, (2) apologize (properly), (3) wait, and people will show their good sides.
  • Tell the truth – integrity.
  • A good apology has three parts.  (a) I am sorry, (b) it was my fault, (c) how do I make it right.  Most people neglect the third part and fail to demonstrate sincerity.
  • Be patience.  No one is pure evil.
  • Show gratitude.
  • Don’t complain, just work harder.
  • If you lead your life the right way, if you live properly, the dreams will come to you.

the last lecture

In The Last Lecture, Randy Pausch said, “We cannot change the cards we are dealt, just how we play the hand.” And while Randy may be gone, and not here to keep encouraging us to live a better life, his video will never stop inspiring millions of people around the world to keep chasing their dreams, no matter what hand they are dealt, or how much time they have left. The lessons he gave the world are invaluable. He truly taught us how to live our lives.

Today, to honor his life, I encourage you to watch his video (even if you already have). I have attached a few versions depending on how much time you have.

The Last Lecture

Summary on Oprah

Summary on Diane Sawyer

Last Lecture

His legacy will never die.

Rest in Peace, Randy Pausch.

Please share your thoughts on the video with our readers, and tell us… if you found out you had 3-6 months to live, how would you live out those remaining days?



    1. seo services says:

      Hi there, You have done a great job. I’ll certainly digg it and personally recommend
      to my friends. I’m sure they’ll be benefited from this site.

    2. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is touted as one of the most cost-effective and lucrative methods of attracting
      relevant and meaningful traffic for websites. SEO services have evolved as well, providing keyword, link
      analysis, and other services for localized geographical areas.
      Online marketing nowadays have been made easier thanks to
      modern technological innovations.

    3. Hello! I know this is kinda off topic however I’d figured I’d ask.
      Would you be interested in exchanging links or maybe guest writing a blog post
      or vice-versa? My website discusses a lot of the same subjects as yours and I
      feel we could greatly benefit from each other.
      If you’re interested feel free to shoot me an e-mail. I look forward to hearing from you! Awesome blog by the way!

    4. Alisha Hillman says:

      i want my brother and my dad who raised us to be at peace

      my dad raised four children alone is 45 and has no friends and no family
      that cares about him.

      its hard life is hard watching him knowing his life is almost over.

      he worked and gave all of himself to four children single parents work
      hard they have to be both parents work full time help at home
      do the work and laundry and cooking etc.

      I am Alisha I know my dad is tired if i was going to die I want to know
      he has a home and can be with my brother and his son

      thats all that would matter to me.

    5. support says:

      great post keep up the great work.

    6. wallpapers says:


      […]Remembering Randy Pausch |[…]…

    7. backlink tool…

      […]Remembering Randy Pausch |[…]…

    8. Hyacinth says:

      I am not certain the place you’re getting your info, but great topic. I must spend some time learning more or working out more. Thank you for magnificent info I was looking for this information for my mission.

    9. This is a great blog and you should seriously think about building up this blog into a serious authority in this field, I’m sure you could definitely make a dollar or two from some ads. I would look into following recent news and raising the number of posts you make and I bet you’d start receiving some easy traffic soon. Just a thought, good luck regardless!

    10. […] Remembering Randy Pausch | […]

    11. This is such a great resource that you are providing and you give it away for free. I enjoy seeing websites that understand the value of providing a prime resource for free. I truly loved reading your post. Thanks!

    12. Luigi Fulk says:

      Sorry for the huge review, but I’m really loving the new Zune, and hope this, as well as the excellent reviews some other people have written, will help you decide if it’s the right choice for you.

    13. Cristie says:

      Thanks for bringing these important ideas from a well-loved person back to life.

    14. […] Remembering Randy Pausch by Erica Diamond Image via Wikipedia […]

    15. Julie says:

      Amazing. It’s incredible that you knew to honor his legacy today. I haven’t seen it anywhere on the news today.

    16. Teri says:

      He was a true hero to people around the world. It’s a sad day thinking that the world lost such a positive and inspirational man. I feel for his children and wife.

    17. Karen G says:

      I too have followed his story and seen the last lecture. What an icredibly inspiring man. I watched the Oprah version. He teaches us much about how to live life the “right” way. Thanks for remembering his life today.

    18. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Erica Diamond, Erica Diamond, Erica Diamond, Erica Diamond, Erica Diamond and others. Erica Diamond said: New Blog Post: Remembering Randy Pausch. Please read and spread this message of hope… […]

    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *