Friday, December 28, 2007

The Last Lecture of a Lifetime: Confronting Brick Walls

The Last Lecture of a Lifetime: Confronting Brick Walls

At times during the Holiday Season, and certainly at other times as well, we can benefit from looking beyond ourselves and personal circumstances. I stumbled upon something that I think is truly fascinating. If you have ever confronted a brick wall, or even if you have not, this is a must see!

Please review Jeff Zaslow's moving account in the “Wall Street Journal” of 46-year-old Carnegie-Mellon professor Randy Pausch's "Last Lecture". I will not spoil it by making additional comments. I leave that to you! Professor Pausch gives a fascinating lecture, filled with humor and psychological wisdom, about what he has learned from life. Trust me; this is no ordinary lecture, and this is no ordinary professor. If this doesn’t stimulate your thinking, have someone check your pulse!

I enthusiastically recommend watching the complete video of his presentation. The link to the Google video is:

If like me, you find yourself wanting to learn more about this Professor Pausch after watching the video, view his home page at:

All comments welcome....


Anonymous said...

This is unbelievable. Am at a loss for other words about how it affected me. I hope others will see this. I will start the new year in a different light!

kr said...

Thanks for the link to this lecture. I thought what Randy Pausch had to say was quite inspiring.
Hope others will take time to watch the lecture.

Anonymous said...

Great Lecture!! Excellent lesson to be learned. Gave the insight that all dreams can be conquered. I loved his final remarks.

Joseph A. Banken, MA, PhD said...

Dear Bloggers,

Thanks to those already responding to the "Lecture of a Lifetime".

I hope others will provide some comments and personal stories about how to confront and overcome struggles.

Randy Pausch gives some excellent ideas. The very comment that YOU make may be just the one to help someone else. This will be a great way to start the New Year!

Happy New Year to All!

Anonymous said...

This was great! Randy Pausch gave a phenomenal lecture. It was almost like a eulogy that he delivered himself.

We have all had dreams and encountered brick walls. He gave us some great insight as to how to pursue our goals with great tenacity and persist until we have accomplised them.

Most of us have had unfilfilled dreams because we did not try hard enough to break through those brick walls.

I wanted a college degree, but got married young and started a family instead. I had to climb that brick wall more slowly, but later in life I did get that degree, just not as I had imagined it. I had to figure out how to scale that wall while I was rearing 3 children and working full time. I did it but just not as I had originally planned.

Sometimes we have to postpone those dreams and just work on getting over that wall one brick at a time.

I am sending this link to all my dearest friends in hopes they might find some inspiration from Randy Pausch's accomplisments and
his wonderful, positive attitude.

Thanks for sharing.

Joseph A. Banken, MA, PhD said...

Dear Readers,

I think this is a great time of year to really look through our lives and perhaps re-determine our priorities. Call it Resolutions for the New Year, if you wish. Personally, I am not a bit fan of most New Year's Resolutions.

How many of us might be missing what is really important in our lives and not even realize it? Dr. Pausch’s lecture really hits the home-run here! Thanks for the posts, and please keep more posts coming. I read each and every post myself, and hope that others will do the same.

We never quite know how what we say, or what we do, and how it might really help someone in need. Your posts are a great tribute to Randy Pausch, and even more important, such a wonderful tribute to the human spirit!

Anonymous said...

I am not a big fan of most New Year's Resolutions either but I thought what Randy had to say was great.

rkm said...

I think we all have trials and adversity through out our lives. It seems to me that it is not solely that we have difficult times with which to deal but how we learn to regroup and adapt to these challenges after we experience them. Flexibility and adaption to life's trials, I think, is one way to develop resilience and how we continue grow in a positive manner.

Anonymous said...

This is an impressive lesson. I am l moved by his complete passion for his work and his total zest for all aspects of his life even in, or perhaps most importantly in, challenging circumstances. What an extraordinarily meaningfully last lesson this is for a teacher to deliver -- Unforgettable!

KD(B)C said...

Many times, life deals us with unexpected hardship & undeserving turmoil.

But just because we are faced with difficult times, doesn’t mean we should give up.

Rather, it allows us the opportunity to grow from our experiences and become stronger, better people.

Many times it is those difficult times that give us the courage & understanding to help others.

It is then that even those hardships become another valuable part of our life’s journey.

I, personally, have experienced a very difficult life, but I wouldn’t change one thing.

It is all my experiences, both good and bad, that have made me become the person that I am today.

With many of my adversities, I can now look back and say, “What once made me cry now makes me laugh”.

I lived through it, got over it, and learned from it. And I love the person I have become because of it.

BTK said...

The time invested in listening to this lecture of a lifetime could not have been better spent. The take-away message, "brick walls are there to let us prove how badly we want things" circumvents the adage one says to oneself when they don't succeed in something..."it just wasn't meant to be"...says WHO??! Another meaningful message is having someone you trust in your life to tell you when you are screwing up...and listening. I laughed out loud when a student challenged his academic savvy with "Professor Boy". A truly inspiring and gifted man. Thanks for the recommendation, Dr. Banken.
Brenda K. Pick

Joseph A. Banken, MA, PhD said...

Dear Readers,

Thanks to everyone for making a post here. I have even had some nice folks email me, as posting on the blog seemed a little intimidating. Hey, that is just another "Brick Wall" isn't it? Each post and comment has been wonderful. Please, let's keep this moving forward!

Here is a little more from Mr. Jeff Zaslow’s site from September 20, 2007 in the Wall Street Journal site.

You can read his great article at: Note the great picture of Dr. Pausch and his family. Have you ever seen a happier man who is likely at death’s door?

It is important to know that, as stated by Mr. Zaslow, that Dr. Pausch's speech was taped so his children, ages 5, 2 and 1, can watch it when they are older and can understand what their dad and his life were about. Of course right now they are too young now to know. As Zaslow states, Dr. Paunch‘s last words in his lecture were simple: "This was for my kids."

Dear Readers, please make a post and share, as if YOU were giving your own last, speech, or whatever. You might include what advice would you share, who would you thank, what stories would you tell, who would be on your mind and most importantly, how would you want to be remembered? Or even just give a funny “toast”. Do it NOW!

I am not asking anyone to strain themselves here, but here might be one opportunity to think through some important thoughts and help you spend a little time about what is really important to you and perhaps important to those you care about most. You may be surprised about how this will influence you and those around you. We all then, can share a little of Randy Pausch’s wonderful life and love for what is really important in this life. What better way to start this New Year?

Thanks again to Mr. Zaslow for permission to use information from the Wall Street Journal here.

Please share your wonderful ideas and thoughts with us right here on this blog!

I look forward to reading each blog and comment!

Joseph A. Banken, MA, PhD said...

Dear Readers and Bloggers,

Hot off the press here is the latest: Today I have directly communicated with Mr. Jeff Zaslow. Jeff and Randy are writing a book together, which will come out in April 2008. Simply Google "Hyperion" (the publisher) and Randy for details. Information about Randy’s website and other information are in earlier posts.

You must know that Randy Pausch along with Jeff Zaslow are on my short list of people for me to be a little more like! Yes, I know that I have a several “Brick Walls” standing in the way.

Anonymous said...

I loved Randy's attitude. Awesone! Really made me stop and think. With a little dreaming, anything can happen.

Anonymous said...

What an amazing guy! Listening to his lecture helped me realize that some brick walls are put there for a reason. This man is such an inspiration to me!

Anonymous said...

I hope that I can be remembered as a person who helped others succeed in what has been important in their life. Just as many others have helped me. At this point, I really don’t have a specific “bucket list”. Perhaps I might develop one.

I want to think that I have at least done what I could, with my physical and certainly limited cognitive abilities, and have lived a life of value over that of selfish success and fortune. So far, I don’t have much success or fortune to be selfish about, so I am good on that end!

Randy Pausch, and those thoughtful persons daring to make comments here, more than anyone in a long time, have helped me think about this in a more reflective way.

Thanks to everyone. I hope I am not alone here.

Charles Smith, MD said...


Interesting post. Obviously generated a lot of interest!

Anonymous said...

wow, this guy randy is amazing.

Anonymous said...

Here is something the video lecture of Randy Pausch started me to consider more carefully:

"Do you think that death will somehow fail to catch us all, no matter what we are doing? . . . What do you want to be doing when it catches you? . . . If you have anything you believe is more important to have done or be doing when death comes, get to work on that."

Anonymous said...

thanks for the thought.

Joseph A. Banken, MA, PhD said...

Epictetus, centuries ago, may have had this right all along....long before the advent of computers and the like.

I believe even more now, that we need to revisit some of this issues in Randy's presentaiton. I am not saying he has any of the answers, but he helps each of us ask important questions.

I am not sure exactly where I want to be when death catches me, but it will certainly NOT be at a computer keyboard.

Perhaps it is NOT "to be or not to be", as attributed so Shakespeare(1564-1616)...but rather "where to be or where not to be"...which may be the more important question for all of us!

Where do you want to be?

mkr said...

Dr. Banken,
Your comment: "Perhaps it is NOT "to be or not to be", as attributed so Shakespeare(1564-1616)...but rather "where to be or where not to be"...which may be the more important question for all of us!

Where do you want to be?"

I have and will continue to consider your comment and question. Interesting and also a serious question to add here.

lh said...

I heard about Randy Pausch on tv on a news program about his speech. I have since listened to it and watched his website following his health.

The only word I can use is "inspiration". When I have a day when my cup is half empty and I'm having my own pity party it brings me back to reality to think of Randy.

I can only hope that some way I can be like him.

Joseph A. Banken, MA, PhD said...

Dear Readers,

Randy has some excellent guidelines on "time management". Imagine that! I will consider him an expert in this area! I really like his concept that “time management" is really “life management”. I could use some help there too!

If there is interest, please chime-in and I can include links to his most recent time management talk. It is both inspirational and very good, with many practical tips. I have already found many of his tips very do-able and helpful.

One of his quips is if you will not "get fired" for NOT doing it, then consider NOT doing it! If I am looking for a new job next week, I will let you know this strategy did now work for me.

Best of blogging,

Photo Gal Jan said...

Thank you for sharing this on your blog. This Last Letcure is a must see and I will share it with others. I have been inspired and my outlook on life has been changed, I am living and working on my dream every day. The set backs are there and they need to be, for they will make the journey more interesting. Life without a few brick walls here and there would be not life!