Your Own Mortality Is A Wake Up Call

Brick walls are not there

Ever wondered about the meaning of life? Why are we here? What is our purpose?

Usually there is a point of crisis, a turning point, a crossroads where we question our purpose and our value. However, this question takes significantly more importance when we are confronted with our own mortality. This was the case for one particular individual, specifically a lecturer at Melton University in the United States.

Diagnosed With Pancreatic Cancer

Randy Pausch was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, he had months to live and the cancer had spread to his liver, his body was riddled with dozens of tumours. His departure from this world was imminent, his road map had been finalised. He could not do anything about his impending mortality, however, he did have one choice – he could decide how he chose to feel about it.

At Melton University it was an academic tradition to give a last lecture, Randy’s last speech was intended for his three young children but it was so inspiring that he presented it to his students. His lecture was not about death but life and childhood dreams. Randy was fortunate that he had great parents and a wonderful childhood, one where he was always dreaming, men landing on the moon, a time when anything was possible.

Fulfilling Your Dreams

Randy Pausch’s meaning of life was to fulfil your childhood dreams and even if you failed, there was something always to be gained from the journey. At the age of eight, Randy wanted to create things for Disney. He applied and received three rejection letters. During the course of Randy’s work, he specialised in some unique research and as it turned out, was able to be involved in the team responsible for Aladdin’s magic carpet. It may have taken 15 years to achieve it, nevertheless the dream was fulfilled.

Brick walls are not there to keep us out but to give us a way to show how much we want it

Randy Pausch

Growing up Randy’s parents emphasised the value of people and not on things. They allowed him to have his own creative expression, so drawing on the bedroom walls was unopposed. Randy painted a picture of an elevator, he was unsure where it was going but he liked the idea of having one, he scribbled a quadratic equation, he had a sense of wonder, his childhood was filled with amazing memories.

To fulfil your dreams, Randy affirms the need to tell the truth, apologise sincerely when it is necessary, to have integrity and give gratitude.

It’s about living life the right way and if you do, karma will take care of itself, if you live properly the dreams will come to you.

Randy Pausch