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Not everybody can face a terminal diagnosis with humor and wisdom – but Randy Pausch wasn't just anybody. The computer science professor had a rare gift for inspiring others, as the world learned when he delivered his "Last Lecture." The renowned speech, delivered a month after he had learned that his pancreatic cancer had advanced and he had less than a year to live, encouraged listeners to follow their dreams. Delivered by this inspirational man, the advice was impossible to ignore.
Randy Pausch died five years ago today. But when he wrote and gave his famous speech, his inspiring words ensured that he'd never be forgotten:
“The key question to keep asking is, Are you spending your time on the right things? Because time is all you have.”
“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.”
“Experience is what you get when you didn't get what you wanted. And experience is often the most valuable thing you have to offer.”
“We cannot change the cards we are dealt, just how we play the hand.”
When Pausch died, the hundreds of messages left in his obituary guest book demonstrated just how important his words were to those who heard them:
Randy was the voice for all of those fighting pancreatic cancer and those who loved them. He was able to 'introduce the elephant in the room" and made it easier for all of us to talk to someone with a life limiting illness. He was an incredible man - his messages and legacy will live on.
It's amazing how one person's presence on this Earth can completely change so many stranger's lives. I have never met Randy, but I am grieving over his passing as though he were part of my family. Randy has been such a huge inspiration in my life. He truly helped me believe there is no obstacle I cannot overcome, no brick wall I cannot knock down.
Here was a man who not only lived well, but died well. He was a teacher to the end of his life and beyond. Dr. Pausch's book will continue to teach those who take the opportunity to read it, and more importantly,to inspire and effect personal and spiritual growth in those who hear his message. Dr. Pausch lives on through his words.
You changed my life Randy Pausch.... you changed my life.
As new readers find their way to his words, Randy Pausch will continue to change lives for years to come.
Written by Linnea Crowther