Randy Pausch Last Lecture: Achieving Your Childhood Dreams

26 07 2008

For people just looking for video’s, powerpoints or transcripts of Randy’s presentation(s), the most important links are these:

http://download.srv.cs.cmu.edu/~pausch/ Randy Pausch’s Web Site on Carnegie Mellon University, i.e. with links to transcripts and powerpoint-presentation (low resolution, used in this post) of his lectures.

http://www.cs.virginia.edu/~robins/Randy/ ” The Legacy of Randy Pausch” Dr. Gabriel Robins, colleague Professor, mentor and friend. With additional interesting links
http://www.cmu.edu/randyslecture/ about Randy Pausch’s Last Lecture
link to Alice
the video’s are shown below,


The other day I wrote about Twitter as an alternative and sometimes breaking news source.

That same day this news reached me via twitterer @Mndoci (Deepak Singh):

Randy Pausch. I didn’t know who that was, so I googled him.

There is a full record in Wikipedia, which is VERY up to date: Randolph Frederick Pausch (October 23, 1960 – July 25, 2008) was an American professor of computer science, human computer interaction and design at Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) in Pittsburgh..and a bestselling author who achieved worldwide fame for his The Last Lecture” speech on September 18, 2007 at Carnegie Mellon.

His “Last Lecture” was viewed online by over six million people and has been recently been published as a book (see Librarything description).

When he held the speech, he knew he had just a few months to live: the pancreatic cancer he was diagnosed with a year before had spread to other organs. He decided not to play it very emotional, but to go for dark humor.

This is how he starts his Last Lecture (which ironically had recently been renamed as ‘Journeys’). It sets the tone for the rest of the presentation:

What Indira didn’t tell you is that this lecture series used to be called the Last Lecture. If you had one last lecture to give before you died, what would it be? I thought, damn, I finally nailed the venue and they renamed it. [laughter] So, you know, in case there’s anybody who wandered in and doesn’t know the back story, my dad always taught me that when there’s an elephant in the room, introduce them. If you look at my CAT scans, there are approximately 10 tumors in my liver, and the doctors told me 3-6 months of good health left. That was a month ago, so you can do the math. … We can’t change it, and we just have to decide how we’re going to respond to that. We cannot change the cards we are dealt, just how we play the hand. If I don’t seem as depressed or morose as I should be, sorry to disappoint you. [laughter] And I assure you I am not in denial. It’s not like I’m not aware of what’s going on….”

He ends the lecture entitled “Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams” like this:

So today’s talk was about my childhood dreams, enabling the dreams of others, and some lessons learned. But did you figure out the head fake? [dramatic pause] 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. Have you figured out the second head fake? The talk’s not for you, it’s for my kids. Thank you all,good night

I found his speech very inspiring. A mixture of amusing stories and wise life lessons. Not just theories but real examples illustrating his points. Very clear and recognizable. His main theme: Brick walls are there for a reason: they let us prove how badly we want things. He showed how most of his dreams were realized (or dealt with or ‘adapted’: ‘Being Captain Kirk’ was changed in ‘Meeting Captain Kirk’), the magic word being perseverance: “never give up!”. Other one-liners: “Loyalty is a two way street”. “Give people enough time and they will always impress you”.

He learned a lot from other people. This is what he learned from his football coach when he was 9 years old:

“And he showed up for practice the first day, and you know, there’s big hulking guy, we were all scared to death of him. And he hadn’t brought any footballs. How are we going to have practice without any footballs? And one of the other kids said, excuse me coach, but there’s no football. And Coach Graham said, right, how many men are on a football field at a time? Eleven on a team, twenty-two. Coach Graham said, all right, and how many people are touching the football at any given time? One of them. And he said, right, so we’re going to work on what those other twenty-one guys are doing. And that’s a really good story because it’s all about fundamentals. Fundamentals, fundamentals, fundamentals. You’ve got to get the fundamentals down because otherwise the fancy stuff isn’t going to work.”

He also stresses that it’s not what you say but how you say it (“c’est le ton qui fait la musique”). Here he tells a story about how his dutch uncle and first boss Andy ‘beats him up’.

“He Dutch-uncled me. And he put his arm around my shoulders and we went for a little walk and he said, Randy, it’s such a shame that people perceive you as so arrogant. Because it’s going to limit what you’re going to be able to accomplish in life. What a hell of a way to word “you’re being a jerk.” [laughter] Right? He doesn’t say you’re a jerk…”

The same uncle stimulated him to do his PhD instead of taking a job:

“It wasn’t the kind of thing people from my family did. We got, say, what do you call them? …. jobs. And Andy said, no, don’t go do that. Go get a Ph.D. Become a professor. And I said, why? And he said, because you’re such a good salesman that any company that gets you is going to use you as a salesman. And you might as well be selling something worthwhile like education.[long pause, looks directly at Andy van Dam] Thanks.”

He did do his PhD and became a charming professor, a brilliant researcher ànd a gifted teacher. His specialty was virtual reality. He was able to mix theorie and practice in a very fruitful way. For instance he combined his work as a professor of Computer Science, Human-Computer Interaction, and Design at Carnegie Mellon with Sabbaticals at Walt Disney Imagineering and Electronic Arts (EA) (one of his childhood dreams) and he became co-founder of Carnegie Mellon’s Entertainment Technology Center (ETC). He also was the director of the Alice (www.alice.org), a software project ‘learning’ children to program while they just think they’re making movies and video games. The good stuff is coming in the next version, where we will teach them Java language while they think they are writing moviescripts using Sims characters, Randy said.

“I, like Moses, get to see the promised land, but I won’t getto set foot in it. And that’s OK, because I can see it. And the vision is clear. Millions of kids having fun while learning something hard. That’s pretty cool. I can deal with that as a legacy.”

And what a legacy this is. Randy’s wife, Jai, put out a statement the day he died thanking “the millions of people who have offered their love, prayers and support. Randy was so happy and proud that the lecture and book inspired parents to revisit their priorities, particularly their relationships with their children,” she said. “The outpouring of cards and e-mails really sustained him.” (Foxnews, July 28th)

Please enjoy the videos and/or go to links below where you can find more information.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

more about “Randy Pausch Last Lecture: Achieving …“, posted with vodpod

Apart from his last lecture I also include his lecture on time management. This was something Randy also was an expert in. I’m sure it will be very inspiring as well.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Miscelanous Sources (other than referred to above)

NL flag NL vlag

Eerder schreef ik dat Twitter soms een heel goede en snelle nieuwsbron kan zijn.

Diezelfde dag las ik de volgende twitter van @Mndoci:

Randy Pausch. Ik had eerlijk gezegd geen idee wie het was, dus heb even gegoogled.

Er is een volledige pagina in Wikipedia, over Pausch, die nogal erg up to date was: Randolph Frederick Pausch (October 23, 1960 – July 25, 2008) was an American professor of computer science, human computer interaction and design at Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) in Pittsburgh..and a bestselling author who achieved worldwide fame for his The Last Lecture” speech on September 18, 2007 at Carnegie Mellon.

Zijn “Laatste Lezing” werd zeker door meer dan 6 miljoen mensen bekeken en is recent als boek uitgebracht (zie Librarything).

Toen hij de toespraak hield had hij net te horen gekregen dat hij nog maar enkele maanden te leven had. De pancreaskanker (het jaar daarvoor bij hem vastgesteld) was uitgezaaid en niet meer behandelbaar. Hij had er heel emotioneel over kunnen doen, maar het lag meer in zijn aard om het met wat galgenhumor te brengen.

Ironisch genoeg was de naam ‘Last Lecture’ net gewijzigd in ‘Journeys’. De lezing heette de last lecture omdat je aan de studenten levenswijsheden zou onderwijzen alsof het de laatste mogelijkheid was: wat geef je mensen mee als je weet dat je nog maar kort te leven hebt? Maar nu was het letterlijk zo. Randy grapte meteen: nu ben ik eindelijk zover dat ik de lezing mag geven, veranderen ze de naam.

Zijn lezing heet “Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams”. Hij vertelt hoe hij zijn kinderdromen heeft gerealiseerd of omgevormd (Captain Kirk zijn werd Captain Kirk ontmoeten, dat is gelukt). Sommige dromen die hij niet gerealiseerd heeft (premier league football player), hebben toch hun nut gehad omdat hij belangrijke zaken leerde, die hem later in zijn leven goed van pas zouden komen. Hij leerde bijvoorbeeld van zijn rugby-trainers hoe belangrijk het was te volharden: eerst de basis leggen, dan de vruchten plukken.

Zijn lezing gaat niet alleen erom hoe je je eigen dromen kunt verwezenlijken (of eigenlijk hoe je moet leven), maar ook hoe je die van anderen kunt verwezenlijken. Dat was zijn sterke punt.

Hij was van plan gewoon een baantje te nemen, zoals iedereen in zijn familie, maar op aanraden van een nederlandse oom ging hij studeren (computerwetenschappen), promoveerde hij en werd hij professor en nog belangrijker: een charmante persoonlijkheid, een briljante onderzoeker en een begenadigd leraar. Hij was gespecialiseerd in “virtual reality” en zag een van zijn kinderdromen (disney-imagineer) in vervulling gaan toen hij op vernuftige wijze zijn professoraat in Carnegie Mellon wist te combineren met (meerdere) Sabbaticals bij Walt Disney Imagineering and Electronic Arts (EA). Later zette hij zelf het Carnegie Mellon’s Entertainment Technology Center (ETC) op. Ook was hij directeur van Alice (www.alice.org), een software project dat kinderen ‘leert’ te programmeren, terwijl ze denken dat ze films en video’s maken. In de komende versie wordt kinderen geleerd met Java te werken terwijl ze denken dat ze scripts voor een film met Sims-figuren schrijven.

Het is een mooie nalatenschap, die Randy ons achterliet

“I, like Moses, get to see the promised land, but I won’t getto set foot in it. And that’s OK, because I can see it. And the vision is clear. Millions of kids having fun while learning something hard. That’s pretty cool. I can deal with that as a legacy.”

Voor details van zijn lezing verwijs ik verder graag naar de video’s, engelse citaten en verdere literatuurverwijzingen hierboven.



One response

21 10 2008
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