"We cannot change the cards we are dealt, just how we play the hand." So speaks Carnegie-Mellon computer science professor Randy Pausch, who delivered his final lecture in anticipation of dying next month from pancreatic cancer. "I'm in excellent health right now -- It's the greatest thing of cognitive dissonance that we will ever see...I'm in better shape than most of you." Prof. Pausch, who is the 46-year-old director of the Alice Software Project, co-founder of the Entertainment Technology Center, a husband, and a father of three, has lived life both richly and well.
I don't normally make emotional posts, but what Prof. Pausch had to say in his plainspoken, compelling final lecture is profoundly resonant for those of us drawn to technology, the arts, or any sort of Making. ABC World News has an excellent summary mix edit, though you may get a preroll ad. (Sorry - couldn't find it freely posted.)
Serial excerpts from the lecture are on YouTube, though if you want to see his introduction (inexplicably omitted) then go back to ABC for it. If you're a fan of this interface design and virtual reality pioneer, you can also stream the full lecture or request a DVD from Carnegie-Mellon.
Here's an excerpt in which Prof. Pausch speaks on achieving his childhood dreams:
"I'll take an earnest person over a hip person every day. Hip is short-term. Earnest is long-term."
"I have experienced a deathbed conversion. I just bought a Macintosh (laughter)...I knew I'd get 9% of the audience with that."
"Remember: The brick walls are there for a reason. The brick walls are not there to keep us out, the brick walls are there to give us a chance to show how badly we want something."