Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Childhood Dreams

If there's one video to watch on the web today, it's this:

Dying Professor's Lecture of a Lifetime

Randy Pausch, a 46-year-old computer-science professor at Carnegie Mellon University, has terminal cancer and expects to live for just a few more months.

This week, he said goodbye to his students and the Pittsburgh college with one last lecture called "How to Live Your Childhood Dreams," on his life's journey and the lessons he's learned

The Wall Street Journal called it "the lecture of a lifetime" and those who have seen it have more than agreed.
Dr. Pausch lays everything on the line with grace, humor and wisdom. By telling his life and career story, he explains how everyone can fulfill their childhood dreams (one of which included being Captain Kirk, so Michael, you're one step ahead of the game right there).

He speaks of developing a Virtual Reality simulation with Disney Imagineers, teaching a hugely popular course in Virtual Worlds at Carnegie-Mellon, developing graduate programs in imagination building and finally completing work on a new system for teaching kids how to use computers.

He's given me a lot to think about. A whole lot.

An important point he made that I have to consider deeply involved setbacks and things that block our progress:
Though he achieved most of his childhood dreams, Pausch flashed his rejection letters on a screen and talked about career setbacks: "Brick walls are there for a reason. The brick walls aren't there to keep us out. The brick walls are there to show us how badly we want things."
We all have brick walls in our lives. Some happen naturally as a result of circumstances. Sometimes other people put them up to block our way.

Sometimes we raise them ourselves and keep building them, brick by brick, while we try and convince ourselves that they are not of our own making. These are my most challenging walls to overcome, and maybe I can find the strength to overcome them.

Anyway, if you ever had childhood dreams watch the video of someone who overcame them - and see how he deals with death, for some the biggest brick wall of them all.

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