Randy Pausch was 47 years old when he died from pancreatic cancer. He was, as the Independent of London put it, “the dying man who taught America how to live.” His book, The Last Lecture, is an international best-seller and it offers many wonderful lessons about life.Randy Pausch’s “last lecture” was delivered in September, 2007, at Carnegie Mellon University, where he taught computer science. The lecture began with him standing before a screen beaming down chilling CT images of tumors in his liver, under the title…The Elephant in the Room. He then said to a stunned audience, “I have about 6 months to live.” He said, “I’m really in good shape, probably better shape than most of you,” … dropping to the floor to do push-ups.
He went on to say, “I’m dying and I’m having fun, and I’m going to keep having fun every day I have left.” He talked about his childhood dreams and what they had taught him about life. He said, “If you live your life the right way, the karma will take care of itself…your dreams will come to you.”
He died on July 25, 2008, but his wisdom, his passion, and his attitude are lasting sources of inspiration for all of us.
If anything is sure and certain in the world it is “death,” for you and me. All the religions teach that death is not the end, but the beginning of another life – a much, much better life in every way. Yet in the whole wide world there is nothing else as dreaded as death. That fear keeps us away from living fully the gift of life that we have – what folly! We need to die, but we don’t have to endure a living death.
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