Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Reach For Your Dreams

I'm sure most of you have already seen this or heard of it, but below is a video of a shortened version of Randy Pausch's Last Lecture as seen on Oprah. Randy Pausch was a professor at Carnegie Mellon who died on July 25, 2008 of pancreatic cancer. Earlier this year, one of my teachers showed our class this video on youtube and tonight I watched the full-length lecture given at Carnegie Mellon. I recommend watching the full-length one but it's over an hour long so if you don't have time, at least watch the shorter one (it's only about ten minutes).

A few highlights from the full-length version that really spoke to me:

"When you screw it up and no one's saying anything to you anymore - that means they gave up...your critics are the ones telling you they still love you and care."

"The brick walls are there for a reason...the brick walls are not there to keep us out...the brick walls are there to show how badly we want something...they're there to stop the people who don't want it badly enough."

"Wait long enough and people will surprise and impress you."

"Anybody can get chewed out - it's the rare person who says, 'oh my G-d, you're right'"

This one is more for the humor - "When it comes to men who are romantically interested in you...just ignore everything they say and pay attention only to what they do." :)

These all (well, except the last one which I included just because it's funny) speak to me in various different ways - those who know me better will probably understand why. I think it's important to be reminded of this sort of thing every once in a while. We all get so caught up in what life is throwing at us, it's easy to forget to take a step back and look at how much we've all been blessed with and at how much we still have going for us. Right now I'm overcoming a challenge of trying to cope with a job I really dislike (so far). I'm trying to figure out how to make it a good experience rather than a complete waste. I'm here, I'm doing it, I might as well make it worth my time and effort - right? I don't know how I'm going to do that, but I'm trying to figure it out. A month is not something to be thrown away lightly. I'm not going to spend all of August moping and feeling down. I'm just not. I won't let myself. It's an entire month of my life and it should be worth something.

The other message I really got out of this lecture was to have FUN. If you're not enjoying life, something is wrong. Even when bad or difficult things come our way, attitude is everything. The more time we spend feeling sad, the less time we spend engaging with the world in a positive way. I thought about writing a post today lamenting the way August is turning out for me. But the truth is, most of my issue is all in my attitude. Nothing horrible has happened. I just have to do really, really, really boring work. I can handle that, can't I? I'm trying. I'm trying to go about this the right way. It's hard - it's a lot harder than it may sound. Really. But that doesn't mean I'm not trying. I'm nervous to go back tomorrow and have to face another really dull day with hardly anyone to talk to. I don't like days where I watch the minute hand on the clock slowly, ever so slowly, slug its way around...five minutes, ten minutes, quarter of an hour, half an hour, an hour - and then again. All the way from nine in the morning to five in the afternoon. That's not a way to live your day - counting hours. That's not how I want to spend my days.

Anyway, this is worth watching if you haven't seen it yet, and it's worth watching again if you haven't seen it in a while.

The link to the full-length version (which I highly recommend if you have the time) is here.

I think there's always this feeling of, "everyone always has these outlandish dreams from when they were kids. But at some point you have to learn to face reality." And in some ways that's true. But in many ways, if you just hold onto those dreams you once had, you'd probably be surprised at how many of them you can make a real part of that reality you're "facing."

I don't know this from experience. It's just something I'm hoping.

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