Saturday, July 26, 2008

Inspiration Never Dies

Yesterday, Carnegie Mellon University professor Randy Pausch died of pancreatic cancer. I was traveling yesterday, and was notified by text message by a very thoughtful friend.

Back in March, just shortly after I started Tandem Learning and started this blog, I ran across The Last Lecture on YouTube. I had a million other things to do, but spent the 75 or so minutes listening to Randy's final address to his students, as well as his wife and kids. It was inspirational to me then, and still is. People more eloquent than I have eulogized Professor Pausch, including one of my favorite Tandem Rockstars, and I would not embarrass myself by trying. But I will try to restate what his words meant to me.

You'll never accomplish your dreams if you don't try. Failure is a learning opportunity much more effective than success, and a test of your desire to achieve your goal. Don't waste time. Listen to people's feedback, but don't listen if they tell you that you can't do something.

There are lots and lots of other things I could say about how I was inspired by listening to Randy Pausch's Last Lecture. What I will end on is this: Randy Pausch, a man who I never met, accomplished great things. He no doubt inspired the people who knew him, and he inspired countless others who did not. He provided me with emotional ammunition to believe in myself and what I am doing in going after my goals. He justified my opinion that failure is not an option if you don't let it be.

The world will miss you, Professor Pausch. Rest in peace.

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