For those of you who don’t know who Randy Pausch was, he was a full professor and Carnegie Mellon Univeristy (CMU) in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. At CMU Randy taught computer science, human computer interaction and design. In September of 2006, Randy was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and in 2007 he was given a terminal diagnosis advising him he only three to six months left to live. Randy died on July 25, 2008 at age 47. But, before he died, he gave a positive optimistic lecture entitled The Last Lecture: Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams. The lecture, which you can view on YouTube, went viral. Then, Randy coauthored a book The Last Lecture. The book became a best seller” on the New York Times.
Why should you, the depressed guy care about Randy Pausch, and what the fuck does this have to do with brick walls? Well, something Randy said about why people run into brick walls in the first place. Randy said that the brick walls were there as obstacles for us to overcome, and to test us to see if we really wanted whatever it was that we were striving for, but because of the virtual brick wall blocking us from our desired goal, we were not being allowed to achieve it.
Randy went on to tell the story of how he always wanted to be a football player in the NFL. He never made it. But, that wasn’t the important part of the story. The important part of the story is that Randy said that although he never made the NFL, what he learned along the way trying to get into the NFL was more valuable than if he actually achieved his desire. Randy went on further to define experience as the things that you learn when you don’t get what you want. Wow! That really resonated with me. So, maybe there’s a greater victory in not getting what you strive for because you are getting something of greater value than if you had achieved your goal. I always thought of this as personal failure-not victory.
To understand what Randy was saying you should listen to the lecture on YouTube. There’s a shorter version for classroom applications, as well.
Randy Pausch is someone I want to strive to be. How could he be so upbeat when he had been dealt such a shitty hand? Randy said that the shitty hand wasn’t a choice, but that how he played it was.
This is such a powerful message for all humanity in general, not just for us depression guys, but certainly for us depression guys, too! I wrote about Randy in a past blog so if you read it already and got something out of it – great! But, if you haven’t read about Randy, do yourself a favor and listen to his lecture. Here’s the link:
I wish all my brothers (and sisters) well. Enjoy the ride. Remember, it’s a journey (the road to getting a handle on your depression).
Until next time,
Glenn Grey Wolf