Randy Pausch’s Last Lecture
No single adjective describes how wonderful this lecture was. Randy Pausch is brave, wise, and inspirational. Through his experiences and techniques in education, he is a guiding light for any young person trying to decide the correct path in life, both professionally and as a father and spouse. And staring death straight in face with a smile and a sense of accomplishment should teach any young person a lesson. Pausch has an obvious dedication to positively impacting students worldwide
I found his “headfake” technique interesting and familiar. I am sure everyone has had the “headfake” used on them at least once. I know that my parents used it on me often. My Mother probably used it the most. She was also a teacher, and it never occurred to me, until I watched Mr. Puasch’s lecture, that she may have developed her skill through the same dedication to educating young people. As a kid, I always had a difficult time getting motivated enough to appreciate school, and My Mother would use the same technique to get me excited about learning something. For those of you old enough to remember, the “headfake” has a classic example in the 1984 movie The Karate Kid, with the famous “wax on wax off” karate lesson.
I especially liked the “brick wall” example for achievement. He says that brick walls in life are there to test our determination. There are barriers between us and success, and the name “brick wall” is a great way to remind people that personal achievement is hard, much like a brick. If every dream was achieved with ease, then, everyone would do it; thus, dreams would lose a great deal of their special significance in our lives. People would simply take more things for granted. In fact, people already take too much for granted, and that is why “brick walls” serve as a good filter for the driven and those wanting life to be a stroll through the park.
When Mr. Pausch discussed his development of the program “Building a Virtual World” at Carnegie Mellon University, I found the method in which he allowed the students to set the tone for the class very familiar. I recently did a podcast on selections from Rafe Esquith’s book There are no Shortcuts, and while Mr. Pausch was not dealing with underprivileged middle school kids, he had a similar motto for his class. He allowed them to constantly push themselves and never become complacent with the minimum. He instilled excitement, determination, and creativity into his students without force; he “headfaked” them.
This lecture taught me a lesson in determination. It was a good reminder of the basic essentials in life that we all tend to forget from time to time. And what better person to remind us than a man that is proud and still determined in his final hour? When someone uses a “headfake” on you or reminds you of the “brick walls” you will encounter in achieving lifelong goals, they are not using tricks and gimmicks to help you learn, and they are not trying to discourage you. They are usually doing these things because they care about you. Randy Pausch’s methods are more than just methods; they are gifts.