Saturday, 26 February 2011

Scribbling Saturday: The Last Lecture

I recently discovered a book called The Last Lecture. A lot of professors give 'Last Lecture' talks about what they would pass on if this was their last lecture. When Randy Pausch gave his Last Lecture in September 2007, it really was his last, as he had terminal cancer. He chose to give the lecture, not only to pass on what he had learned to others, but as a legacy to his young children.

It became so popular that he wrote it up into a book, where he was able to say more, before he died in July 2008. I found the book very moving, and full of good advice. His lecture was entitled 'Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams.' It is all about the joy of living, and the 'blurb' promises it will change your life. Having read the book, I think it just might.

Here are some examples:
Don't Complain, Just Work Harder
Too many people go through life complaining about their problems. I've always believed that if you took one-tenth the energy you put into complaining and applied it to solving the problem, you'd be surprised by how well things can work out… 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.

Treat The Disease, Not The Symptom
Years ago, I dated a lovely young woman who was a few thousand dollars in debt. She was completely stressed out about this. Every month, more interest would be added to her debts. To deal with her stress she would go every Tuesday night to a meditation and yoga class… I told her I had nothing against yoga or meditation. But I did think it's always best to try to treat the disease first. Her symptoms were stress and anxiety. Her disease was the money she owed.
"Why don't you get a job on Tuesday nights and skip yoga for a while?" I suggested.
She became a Tuesday-night waitress and soon enough paid off her debts. After that, she could go back to yoga and really breathe easier.

Don't Obsess Over What People Think
I've found that a substantial fraction of many people's days is spent worrying about what others think of them. If nobody ever worried about what was in other people's heads, we'd all be 33 percent more effective in our lives and on our jobs… I used to tell anyone who worked in my research group: "You don't ever have to worry about what I'm thinking. Good or bad, I'll let you know what's in my head."

Be The First Penguin
Experience is what you get when you didn't get what you wanted… Failure is not just acceptable, it's often essential.

This doesn't give a true idea of the book. If you want too see it for yourself, there is a web site here, and you can purchase it on Amazon here.

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