Ask Yourself If You’re Spending Time On the Right Stuff

The title of this post is one of the suggestions Randy Pausch listed as advice for anyone who might be running out of time.

I am sure most of you are now familiar with the story of Randy Pausch, a computer science professor from Carnegie Mellon University, whose Last Lecture literally riveted the world.

Robert Genn, one of my favorite online authors, wrote a tribute to Randy Pausch, and I decided to put the information on my own blog so that I could access it any time I needed heavy duty inspiration and a reality check on my problems.

Carnegie Mellon University still maintains Randy Pausch’s “presence” on their website. His humility (or lack of ego) was so ingrained, that even after an incredible degree of attention (even adulation), the attention did not go to his head:

I am flattered and embarassed by all the recent attention to my “Last Lecture.” I am told that, including abridged versions, over six million people have viewed the lecture online. The lecture really was for my kids, but if others are finding value in it, that is wonderful. But rest assured; I’m hardly unique. Send your kids to Carnegie Mellon and the other professors here will teach them valuable life lessons long after I’m gone.  [That number is now well over 10 million views.]

I found a very surprising fact about this man, who gained the respect and love of millions for his bravery in the face of death and his wisdom concerning how to live life to the fullest. It is well known that he had a PhD in computer science. However, Randy also sewed. You read that right. There is a connection between his PhD and the needle arts. Those PhD years were ” . . . the height of [his] sewing activity. Nothing like a dissertation to drive you to do anything else.”

While that does not sound like a glowing commendation for the art of sewing, and no art quilts were mentioned, Randy Pausch‘s dexterity with the needle is just one more reason to celebrate an exemplary human life. As he advised in his last lecture:

Never ever underestimate the importance of having fun. I am dying soon, and I am choosing to have fun today, tomorrow and every other day I have left.

Some people are dying to have fun, some act as if they would rather die than have fun, and others have fun despite the fact that they know they are dying ~ imminently. Randy Pausch was one of those enlightened beings who knew that having fun was spending time on the right stuff. How else would he be able to grin and say, as a 47 year old man dying of pancreatic cancer, “If I don’t seem as depressed or morose as I should be, I’m sorry to disappoint you.”

(If you crave more illumination about Pausch‘s methods for celebrating life, watch this ABC special. He was famous for helping his students believe in themselves long before The Last Lecture that launched him onto the global stage. Viewing this may well awaken ~or reinforce ~ that belief in your consciousness as well.)


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About CarolWiebe

Art entices, inspires, and delights me. Art is a vehicle for laughter, tears, wonder, enlightenment--taking me on a constant path of discovery. You can't say that about housework (except, perhaps, for the crying part).
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4 Responses to Ask Yourself If You’re Spending Time On the Right Stuff

  1. Cory says:

    WOW! Thank you so much for sharing this wonderful video, I know I will be seeing it again and again.

  2. He is (was) truly one of the most inspiring human beings I’ve ever come across…thank you for reminding me of his incredible spirit. The day I learned he had passed away, I knew that the world had lost a beautiful, shining light. He sure does remind me not to get caught up in my VERY small problems.

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