Read the book “The Last Lecture” by Randy Pausch today. The book is more or less about his childhood dreams, how he realized them, his family & kids and how they were trying to get things in proper shape before his time would come. But most of the points that he talks about apply to everyone in general. I found quite a few interesting things in it. Though we know most of the stuff that he mentions, its a good read.
For those of you who don’t have any clue about who this Randy Pausch is and what is this last lecture about, here is a brief introduction about him and the background of the book…………..Randy Pausch was a professor in CS department of Carnegie Mellon University. At the age of 47, he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and had few months to live. That’s when he had delivered his last lecture in CMU titled “Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams” and then he came out with this book. He says all this was for his children so that when they grow up and he would not be with them then, the lecture and the book would tell them who his dad was, what he wanted to tell them when they grew up, etc.
Now coming to what I liked in the book, it goes like this – The first point that I liked the most was when he says “When you’re screwing up and nobody says anything to you anymore, that means they’ve given up on you“. The moment I read this it reminded me of my good old friend Jayant 🙂 . The book says – Critics are often the ones telling you they still love you and care about you and want to make you better. I think that’s 100% true and its only your good friends who would take time and the pains to tell you that you are not doing the right thing.
Then I liked his concept of head fake 🙂 . Not the literal meaning of a head fake in football but the one that he defines as – the one that teaches people things they don’t realize they’re learning until well into the process. And the best example of head fake that he mentions of is the Alice software developed in Carnegie Mellon. Another interesting one was when he mentions about the attitude of Shatner a.k.a Captain Kirk of Star Trek. He was a man who knew what he didn’t know, was willing to admit it and would not leave until he understood that. I strongly feel that this is the kind of attitude that everyone should have. Have the courage to admit what you don’t know.
Then I liked the attitude of Disney World workers. Ask them “What time does the park close?” and they would answer: “The park is open until 8 p.m.” And then when he talks about brick walls (hurdles) that come in our life, he mentions that they actually give us a chance to show how badly we want something. And then he says don’t ever obsess over what people think about us. That would save a substantial amount of time in our life. Just carry on with your work not bothering about what others might be thinking about it. That said I don’t mean we need not care about others….it just means that dont worry about what people might be thinking about our capabilities.
Another point that appealed to me the most was – Experience is what you get when you didn’t get what you wanted. At every failure that we might encounter in life, its worth considering the above phrase. I would say, failures are also definitely essential in life. A person who had failed would definitely know how to avoid future failures.
There are many other good points mentioned in the book….but I won’t be writing about all those here now……..just a few other points worth mentioning before I would end this post are – Always be prepared for the worst-case scenario……..have a contingency plan for when everything goes wrong. And lastly he mentions, sometimes all you have to do is ask and it can lead to all your dreams coming true. Just ask and more often than we would suspect, the answer we will get would be positive. Particularly this last point that I mentioned now and the point about brick walls definitely have got relevance to what is currently going on with me 🙂 . I think atleast some of the people who might read this post will definitely agree to it 😀 . Lets see how am I going to tackle the brick wall that’s infront of me right now 🙂 .