A Professor’s Dreams

Randy Pausch is a computer science professor at CMU. While this alone would be no small feat, he has also been integral in the creation and development of virtual reality and landmark educational initiatives. He has three young children, a wife and inoperable pancreatic cancer.

While the greatest burden of sadness lies with those who know him best, I can’t help but feel moved by his story, which you can read at the PPG site. The world is most certainly a better place having had him in it.

Though I never had Dr. Pausch as a professor, I think he still has something to teach me, and maybe something that we can all learn. The guy who cuts you off on the parkway, the screaming children in Giant Eagle, the snotty people at work – these and so many other struggles are such brief, meaningless trifles. You think you have problems?

Dr. Pausch had a handful of dreams as a child; if you exclude the dreams most marked by childhood longing (being Captain Kirk and playing in the NFL), he accomplished every single one of them.

The lesson I learn, and the most valuable lesson to those of us who only know him from the news, is that life is too short to let fear of failure or the appearance of daunting obstacles prevent us from achieving our own dreams. The fear that prevents us from acting can be controlled, cast aside, ignored. Dr. Pausch may not have been able to accomplish everything he wanted to, but at least he tried.

If you knew you had only months to live, could you say the same?

Whether you say yes or no, there’s no rush – you have the rest of your life to change your answer.

(thanks go to PittGirl for writing about this first)

1 Comment so far

  1. Amanda McFadden (unregistered) on September 27th, 2007 @ 11:05 am

    Hi James! I wasn’t able to make it to CMU to see Randy, but I did watch it online. His presentation was quite inspiring and brought me to tears at times. His is a true teacher in the best sense of the word and has proved that through all those who he has touched over the years. My name is Mandy McFadden and I am the social media specialist at Ripple Effects Interactive, an interactive agency downtown Pittsburgh. One of the projects I am currently working on is a travel blog for the state of PA and I am constantly on the lookout for great ideas that I can turn into great content. I think it would be great to write a post on traveling to see different speakers who come through PA. The blog isn’t up and running but in the meantime feel free to check out http://www.rippleeffectsinteractive.com and http://www.visitpa.com. Thanks for the wonderful post about Randy, I know I will forver remember him and what he had to teach the world. I’ll keep in touch. Thanks, Mandy

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