Dying words are not necessarily grim. Representing a genre that has been flourishing in recent years, The Last Lecture is computer science professor Randy Pausch’s summation on the best life and the story that he wants passed on to his young children. But more than a moralizing, nostalgic look at life, The Last Lecture tells how one man dreamed big and achieved those dreams.
Pausch says he owes his success largely to his parents, who gave him the freedom and the opportunities to explore his interests, including painting his room with everything important to him.
(How I wish I could have done that. Pausch painted the quadratic formula, a silver elevator, chess pieces, Pandora’s box, and a submarine; I would paint airplanes, falcons, and the covers of all my favorite books.)
His childhood was a dream. When computers didn’t exist and books still held their universal charm. When life didn’t center around the latest technology but around relationships and literature.
But of course Pausch himself showed interest in technology, and later entered into the technological field.
He dreamed of flying in zero gravity — and he had a chance at NASA’s space center.
He dreamed of writing an article in the World Book encyclopedia — and he was asked to write one on “Virtual Reality.”
He dreamed of becoming a Disney Imagineer — and he became one during a six month sabbatical.
He dreamed — many things. And he achieved most of them.
Pausch aptly entitled his Last Lecture “Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams.” Along with tales of his success he gives advice on how each person can achieve their dreams and help others to do so. The Last Lecture is a look into the mind of a quirky science professor and the endearing words of a family man to his children — to encourage them to dream.
What are your childhood dreams? What are your dreams now?