By Lukas Eggen

It was six years ago on Sept. 18 that professor Randy Pausch gave the Last Lecture. His topic? Really achieving your childhood dreams. I’ve mentioned Pausch before. The back-story is he gave a lecture as part of a series where hypothetically speaking, if a professor had one last lecture to give, what would they say?

The catch was Pausch had terminal cancer.

That lecture is, with apologies to all the teachers and professors I’ve had, the single greatest lecture I’ve ever seen. It wasn’t about dying. It was about living.

It was about never giving up on your dreams, no matter what brick walls get in your way. About how to help others fulfill their dreams and lessons that I still think about to this day.

What I remember most was being surprised. Here was a man given mere months to live. And he was not only smiling, but laughing and doing push-ups on stage! That’s when it hit me. Life always gets tough. We each face challenges that shake us to our core. But, as Pausch would say, at some point we just have to decide whether we’re going to be a Tigger or an Eeyore when we face our problems. Some of his advice is things I’ve been hearing for years from my parents like: “I find the best short cut is the long way, which is basically two words: hard work.”

Others were things I never thought of before that lecture like:

“The key question to keep asking is, Are you spending your time on the right things? Because time is all you have. ”
But it’s not just the advice he was giving. It was the way he was giving it. Here was a man who had a wife and three young children and had every right to break down and cry or to be angry or frustrated.

And yet, he wasn’t. He was grateful for the time he had. He wasn’t bitter. Wasn’t angry. He decided to use the time that he had left in the best ways that he knew how.

Throughout life we all continually receive advice. Advice on how we should live, what we should and shouldn’t do, it can get numbing at times.

But every so often, we see someone truly special say something that stays with us long after they leave our lives. It doesn’t matter if you’re 5, 50 or 100 years old. The Last Lecture is something you should take the time to see. I promise, you won’t regret it.

The Last Lecture can still be seen on Youtube. In a world where people want only the highlights, I’d challenge you to watch the lecture in its entirety and not come away moved and with a better outlook on your future because of it.

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