April 6, 2008

Last Lecture

Posted in hope at 10:48 pm by jimazing

“What would you do if you knew you only had 6 months to live?” This is one of the classic questions we ask ourselves to help find what is truly most important to us is. The cover story in this morning’s Parade Magazine in our newpaper caught my eye like none other in recent memory. normally, I read the headline, look at the photos and keep going on my quest to find Ask Marilyn. However, this morning, I read every word. The story, My Last Lecture, told about a talk given by Randy Pausch, a professor at Carnegie Mellon University, last September after he learned that he had terminal cancer. Reading it merely whet my appetite for more so I spent the next 75 minutes or so watching the lecture (below) on youtube. It’s hard to get me to sit still for a 3 minute video, so watching for over an hour is saying something! I invite you to watch it when you have time. It’s only a little longer than a TV show and a lot more valuable than most. Randy is scheduled to be on a show called Primetime: Last Lecture this Wednesday night, which I also plan to watch.

I was moved by what Randy considered most important for him to communicate to his children and incidentally to me. Helping others and receiving help; how reaching our dreams is important and helping others reach their dreams is even more important. One real kicker to me was what Randy said about allowing others to be an influence in our lives. He said we need to have “feedback loops” in our lives to tell us where we need to improve. As uncomfortable as it is, I want to welcome tough feedback! When someone takes the effort and risk to tell me their view of what I can do to make myself better, it means that they believe I am worth it. Conversely, if I am executing poorly and yet no one is telling me about it, it means they have given up on me. As my friend Curtis said recently, “If feedback is the breakfast of champions, I want to be fed like a champion!” There’s another great story in the lecture about how to give constructive feedback well, but I’ll let Randy tell his own story. Now get comfortable, sit back and enjoy…


  1. Paul said,

    Thanks for sharing that, Jim. Randy definitely shares a lot of wisdom!

  2. mjh said,

    In addition, if no one is giving you feedback and you’re screwing up it means that what you’re doing doesn’t matter.

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