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Mindset Mondays with DTK – Ep #180 — Time Is Infinite. Possibilities Are Infinite.

The intentional, heartfelt words of a dying always carry more weight.

At Carnegie Mellon University, professors are invited to contemplate — and deliver — a “last lecture” … to think deeply about what matters to them, and then give a hypothetical “final talk”, i.e., “what wisdom would you try to impart to the world if you knew it was your last chance?”

Well, on September 18, 2007, Randy Pausch, then a 46-year-old, engaging, dynamic computer science, human-computer interaction, and design professor delivered his “Last Lecture” one month after being diagnosed with terminal pancreatic cancer.

Yes, it includes stories of his childhood, lessons he wants his children to learn, and things he wants his children to know about him … but for us, it’s a lesson in how to lead your life.

If anyone had the “tight” to complain, it would be this loving husband and father of three small children … yet one of the lessons learned that he shares is simply: “Don’t complain. Just work harder.”

That lesson is fleshed out more fully in the book based on his last lecture:

“Complaining does not work as a strategy. We all have finite time and energy. Any time we spend whining is unlikely to help us achieve our goals. And it won’t make us happier.”
— Randy Pausch

Of the 20+ million views of the original video, I easily count for a dozen. And I’ve shared his talk and his book hundreds and hundreds of times in the last 12 years. You see, this video was posted in December of 2007 and Randy died in July 25, 2008 … just a month before I started my journey to become a coach.

Achieving my dreams is one thing … but it’s not the most important. The most important thing I do, the most fulfilling thing I could ever do is helping other people imagine, name, achieve, and live their dreams. THAT is a lesson I learned from Dr Randy Pausch.

And when the work is hard or the obstacles unsurmountable or the fear all-encompassing, what good does it do to complain? How does that serve? WHOM does that serve?

Every single moment of our lives — every second of the finite time we are given — is an opportunity to be intentional and to be fully alive.

And as Randy said with such a twinkle in his eye: “I’m going to keep having fun every day I have left … because there’s no other way to live.”

What will you do with the time you have been given?


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