Welcome! This site is an endeavor to spread an attitude of positive thinking and optimism. By searching for joy and beauty in all things - even the mundane, perhaps a smile will spread from my computer ... to you!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

"Inspirational Reading"

I recently finished reading "The Last Lecture" - an amazing story of courage, dreaming and achieving your goals, perseverance, and just....living.

The story was that of Randy Pausch - quite a few readers may recognize the name, as he gained fame and notoriety after the academic community released his inspiring story to the public, and shows such as Good Morning America and Oprah clamored to have him appear on their programs. I remember catching his appearance on Oprah a little over a year ago, and watching segments of this taped "last lecture" on her program. It was both heart-breaking, and yet extremely inspiring.

Randy was a professor at Carnegie Mellon University, and at the age of only 46, was diagnosed with Pancreatic Cancer. Always an optimist, this young, fun-loving and inspiring professor was motivated to give his "last lecture," triggered by an age-old question - "what would you do if you had only six months to live?" His moving lecture, which focused on how to live, so exemplified the virtues of grace, hope, love and courage, that it encouraged the entire university to carry his message, and it spread to millions throughout the U.S. and eventually the world.

The lecture was video-taped, and was re-played by various news and media sources over the course of his illness...Randy had no idea that his message would go on to touch the lives of millions of people. Originally meant to be a lasting legacy to his family, students and colleagues, Randy deeply desired to share the lessons and life-experiences that he believed truly shaped and cultivated his optimistic zest for life, and achieving his dreams. While it was basically a record of virtues and attributes he came to believe were essential to achieving your greatest desires, Randy's final lecture - "Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams" - was also a lesson in having fun. Published after his famous talk, the book goes on to include how it IS possible to make your life meaningful, abundant, and worthwhile every day.

This book was so full of life, so full of optimism and hope, that I found it almost unbelievable that Randy lost his battle with cancer on July 25, 2008. I already knew (prior to purchasing the book) that he had passed away, and when I came to the final chapters of his book, I was astounded that I was feeling both grief and happiness. Even though Randy Pausch died over a year ago, and the world has lost a phenomenal spirit of Joy and Hope, his recorded thoughts and teachings will continue to be a noble example of "seizing every moment....because time is all you have....and you may find one day that you have less than you think."

The experience of reading this book was yet another poignant illustration to me that even in the face of death, in great sorrow - we can find Joy. Through the tears there can be laughter, there can be humour...there can be hope. Only a couple-hundred pages long, I sincerely recommend this small, yet totally fulfilling book to everyone....particularly young adults as they embark on choosing or beginning new careers and making significant life-choices. I'll definitely be encouraging my three sons to read it!

You may read more about Randy Pausch's amazing life and view video of his final lecture at the following website:

"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."

Picture and quotations from "The Last Lecture" by Randy Pausch.

Pay it forward - spread a smile!

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