Friday, May 9, 2008

Randy Pausch's Last Lecture Part-12

And he smiled. And that was good. So. How do you get people to help you? You can't get there alone. People have to help you and I do believe in karma. I believe in paybacks. You get people to help you by telling the truth. Being earnest. I'll take an earnest person over a hip person every day, because hip is short term. Earnest is long term.

Apologize when you screw up and focus on other people, not on yourself. And I thought, how do I possibly make a concrete example of that? [Speaking to stage hand] Do we have a concrete example of focusing on somebody else over there? Could we bring it out?

[Speaking to audience] See, yesterday was my wife's birthday. If there was ever a time I might be entitled to have the focus on me, it might be the last lecture. But no, I feel very badly that my wife didn't really get a proper birthday, and I thought it would be very nice if 500 people -- [an oversized birthday cake is wheeled onto the stage] [applause] Happy...

Everyone: ...birthday to you [Randy: her name is Jai], happy birthday to you. Happy birthday dear Jai, happy birthday to you! [applause]

[Jai walks on stage, teary-eyed. She walks with Randy to the cake. Randy: You gotta blow it out. The audience goes quiet. Jai blows out the candle on the cake. Randy: All right. Massive applause.]

Randy Pausch: And now you all have an extra reason to come to the reception. [laughter] Remember brick walls let us show our dedication. They are there to separate us from the people who don't really want to achieve their childhood dreams. Don't bail. The best of the gold's at the bottom of barrels of crap.

[Shows slide of Steve Seabolt next to a picture of The Sims] [laughter] What Steve didn't tell you was the big sabbatical at EA, I had been there for 48 hours and they loved the ETC, we were the best, we were the favorites, and then somebody pulled me aside and said, oh, by the way, we're about to give eight million dollars to USC to build a program just like yours. We're hoping you can help them get it off the ground. [laughter] And then Steve came along and said, they said what? Oh god. And to quote a famous man, I will fix this. And he did. Steve has been an incredible partner. And we have a great relationship, personal and professional. And he has certainly been point man on getting a gaming asset to help teach millions of kids and that's just incredible. But, you know, it certainly would have been reasonable for me to leave 48 hours after that sabbatical, but it wouldn't have been the right thing to do, and when you do the right thing, good stuff has a way of happening.

Get a feedback loop and listen to it. Your feedback loop can be this dorky spreadsheet thing I did, or it can just be one great man who tells you what you need to hear. The hard part is the listening to it.

Anybody can get chewed out. It's the rare person who says, oh my god, you were right. As opposed to, no wait, the real reason is...We've all heard that. When people give you feedback, cherish it and use it.

Show gratitude. When I got tenure I took all of my research team down to Disneyworld for a week. And one of the other professors at Virginia said, how can you do that? I said these people just busted their ass and got me the best job in the world for life. How could I not do that?

Don't complain. Just work harder. [shows slide of Jackie Robinson, the first black major league baseball player] That's a picture of Jackie Robinson. It was in his contract not to complain, even when the fans spit on him.

Be good at something, it makes you valuable. Work hard. I got tenure a year early as Steve mentioned. Junior faculty members used to say to me, wow, you got tenure early. What's your secret? I said, it's pretty simple. Call my any Friday night in my office at ten o'clock and I'll tell you.

Find the best in everybody. One of the things that Jon Snoddy as I said told me, is that you might have to wait a long time, sometimes years, but people will show you their good side. Just keep waiting no matter how long it takes. No one is all evil. Everybody has a good side, just keep waiting, it will come out.

And be prepared. Luck is truly where preparation meets opportunity.

So today's talk was about my childhood dreams, enabling the dreams of others, and some lessons learned. But did you figure out the head fake? [dramatic pause] It's not about how to achieve your dreams. It's about how to lead your life. If you lead your life the right way, the karma will take care of itself. The dreams will come to you.

Have you figured out the second head fake? The talk's not for you, it's for my kids. Thank you all, good night.

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