With reference to Late Dr. Randy Pausch’s last lecture:

Really Achieving Your Childhood Dream

Given at Carnegie Melon University

Tuesday, September 18 2007

   “An Injured Lion Still Wants To Roar”

  The ‘Last Lecture’ of Dr. Randy Pausch was very untimely and literally last minute arrangement after he was diagnosed of terminal pancreatic cancer. He delivered this lecture on “Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams” in front of his students, family and friends.

       What Life Can Be” versus “What Life Is”


Almost all of us get into the flow of life when we grow. We forget chasing life, life starts chasing us. Deadlines, targets, extensions, duration.. take a toll over us. In this Dr. Randy reflects the importance of childhood dreams and how to go about achieving them as one ages. And as you get older, you may find that “enabling the dreams of others” thing is even more fun.

This document emphasizes on a specific point of virtue, self-actualization.

While defining self-actualization we should take a look at Chapter 11 of the book “Motivation and Personality” by Abraham Harold Maslow, according to which self-actualization could be seen as collection of certain set of virtues like:

  • Acceptance of self, others and nature
  • More efficient perception of reality and more comfortable relations with it
  • Spontaneity, simplicity and maturalness
  • Detachment: the need for privacy
  • Autonomy: independence of culture and environment, will and active agents
  • Good interpersonal relations
  • Ability to discriminate between means and ens, good and evil..
  • Philosophical and unhostile sense of humor

And coming back to the lecture delivered by Dr. Randy Pauch, some of the principles he mentioned in his lecture were:

  • You’ve got to get the fundamentals down because otherwise the fancy stuff isn’t going to work.
  • Critics: when you’re screwing up and nobody’s saying anything to you anymore, that means they gave up. And that’s a lesson that stuck with me my whole life. Is that when you see yourself doing something badly and nobody’s bothering to tell you anymore, that’s a very bad place to be. Your critics are your ones telling you they still love you and care.
  • But we send our kids out to learn much more important things. Teamwork, sportsmanship, perseverance, etcetera, etcetera. And these kinds of head fake learning are absolutely important. And you should keep your eye out for them because they’re everywhere.
  • People used to say, you know, what’s going to make for a good world? I said, I can’t tell you beforehand, but right before they present it I can tell you if the world’s good just by the body language. If they’re standing close to each other, the world is good.
  • When you’ve had something for ten years that you hold so precious, it’s the toughest thing in the world to hand it over. And the only advice I can give you is, find somebody better than you to hand it to.
  • Be good at something, it makes you valuable.

    Being good at something creates a feeling of oneness and part of society. You are able to give back to the society. And being good at something you set an example for others to create something better in their own life. Our every step motivates some people somehow, it creates subconscious awareness to do what is rightful to do.

  • Get a feedback loop and listen to it. Feedback is important in the sense that we are quite unable to look out vices and our lack of growth. A critic or a coach is for the same reason to guide us, motivate us even when we are on our worst day.
  • Show gratitude. Showing gratitude is one of the rare qualities which makes a man appreciable and presentable. And it also has great role in persuasing. Art of showing gratitude is like a mastercraft sewn into every great man who walked upon the earth.
  • Don’t complain. Just work harder. Work hard. We are told from childhood that there is no replacement of hard work. And it has to be done in order to be successful. Hard work is like the most important base of a building where you build your life. Nothing was ever achieved without hard work. What we see is achievements of great people daily but we overlook the struggle and their hardwork in achieving that.
  • Find the best in everybody. Succesful people find and appreciate the best out of every one. Often so they do being non-judgemental. And this is one major setback seen in normal people who blame each and everything on the next person. There are many perspectives to everything. Finding best in everyone connects you with the person and you learn some part of the knowledge from the person which is crucial sometimes.
  • And be prepared. Luck is truly where preparation meets opportunity. A good sailor is not made on silent shores. Try out things you want to do. Losing is not bad, not learning from that is definately losing. Being prepared is just mindset which has to be implied so that one can see what outcomes are possible and what are the steps to be taken.

Dr. Randy Pausch’s “Last Lecture” was more or less the entire steps one individual need to accept as his/her responsibility to achieve self-actualization. Rather coming to next level, his points not only guide us for self- actualization, but they are life enriching principles in every phase of life in which we need to stand up for the work. Perform our duties and be successful and satisfied.

And no wonder his lecture has been converted to a book titled “The last lecture” and he was also invited to deliver same lecture on The oprah winfrey show. Millions of successful people follow his principles in day to day life to remain focussed and keep living life of purpose.

We cannot change the cards we are dealt, just how we play the hand.