Start With Refining Words
Aside from the sheer guts of Randy Pausch as he faced death due to pancreatic cancer, I admire his ability to redefine the meaning of words like brick wall and experience. Pausch sees and understands words beyond their conventional definitions. His intellectual process allows us to comprehend a deeper level of common words.
In his Last Lecture given at Carnegie Mellon University several months prior to his death due to pancreatic cancer, he mentions two head fakes during his lecture. I already addressed one of his head fakes. This essay deals with the other one. Pausch redefines how we reach our dreams. "It's not about how to achieve your dreams. It is 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."
If we follow Pausch's instructions by living a good life, then we will achieve our dreams. Pausch pushes us to see the sequence of events in life. Then Pausch says, "The dreams will come to you." That theory runs counter to all of our mindsets about working hard to reach our dreams. Essentially, Pausch tells us that we will get what we sow. Therefore, sow wisely by living a good life. If we do, our dreams will come to us without us chasing them.
Pausch provides a number of suggestions to living a good life. For him, a good life is devoid of complaining. He said, "Too many people go through life complaining about their problems. I've always believed that if you took one tenth the energy you put into complaining and applied it to solving the problem, you'd be surprised by how well things can work out."
Many people like me want to live a long life. My dream is to outlive George Burns, because we were both born on January 20. Pausch's critique of my dream is what is important. He said, "You don't beat the grim reaper by living longer; you beat the grim reaper by living better." Therefore, living a long life is not an achievement per se. A long life is worthless unless it is living in a better manner than mere living. Pausch is telling me, "Campbell, live a good life, and the karma will follow."
Pausch also warns us, "Do not tell people how to live their lives. Just tell them stories and they will figure out how those stories apply to them." We often have the tendency to instruct others in the way they should go. I resist people who get in my face with their suggestions about how I should act or think. However, I listen to people who are like Pausch who present present-day parables, which allow me to respond correctly.
One of my mentors in life was Bobby Kennedy, who paraphrased George Bernard Shaw's sentence, "Some men see things as they are and say, why; I dream things that never were and say, why not." Kennedy and Pausch are on the same page about doing what is correct. Kennedy's concern for others brought a much better life for millions both here and abroad.
Visit the The Last Lecture page to read more about this topic.
Visit the Dancing with Death page to read more about this topic.
Visit The Mentors and Me page to read more about this topic.