Lessons From "The Last Lecture"

Book cover of "The Last Lecture" by Randy Pausch

Well, as the year 2020 was beyond disastrous for humankind, hence I thought, I should read a book that is solely based on humanity, luck, life, and the right lessons. So, I went to the bookstore on December 29, and bought the paperback edition of “The Last Lecture”, written by Randy Pausch. 

Pausch was a professor of Computer Science at Carnegie Mellon University, and being a sufferer of pancreatic cancer, he was given countable days to live. So, he decided to deliver his ‘last lecture’ on September 18, 2007. Sadly, in July 2008, he left all his students, colleagues, and all humans with some valuable lessons. 

Honestly, I started the book in the afternoon, and by night, it was completed. And, in the end, I was left with some valuable words from a man who in-spite of being about to die, delivered a lecture on living, love, luck, and lessons.

Therefore, some of the precious lessons taught by Randy Pausch in his last lecture were :

  1. “We cannot change the cards we are dealt, just how we play the hand.” This was the statement delivered by Pausch in the lecture when he told the crowd about how he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. And, I believe this is one of the truest sentences I’ve read in a book. 
  2. “The brick walls are there for a reason. They’re not there to keep us out. The brick walls are there to give us a chance to show how badly we want something… The brick walls are there to stop the people who don’t want it badly enough. They’re there to stop the other people.” This was another bitter truth spilled by Pausch. He said so when he was narrating before the crowd as to what a roller coaster his career was! And, after a lot of rejections and failures, he made it. 
  3. “Time is all you have. And you may find one day that you have less than you think.” Pausch mentioned this in his lecture when he was telling the heartbreaking story of how he and his wife got to know about Pausch’s pancreatic cancer. Then, he realized the value of time, and that time is all that we have, and don’t. 
  4. “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.” One of the biggest weaknesses of humans is that we complain about problems instead of searching for solutions. And, Pausch in his last lecture gave one of the most significant lessons to the youngsters– “forget complaining, work on the solution”. 
  5. “I mean, I don’t know how not to have fun. I’m dying and I’m having fun. And I’m going to keep having fun every day I have left. Because there’s no other way to play it.” In the end, Pausch stressed on “one day at a time”, because life is short, and why not have fun every day, while we deal with our respective problems? 

Lastly, Randy Pausch, a man who had just a few days to live, delivered his last lecture before his students and colleagues, and left some golden rules and lessons to live by. 

And, in the end, as Pausch said, “When we’re connected to others, we become better people.”

So, let’s start this new year by following some of the Pausch’s lessons, and making 2021 a year of hope, opportunities, love, and humanity.