The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch is an incredible memoir about living your childhood dreams and lessons learned along the way. Mr. Pausch was a professor at Carnegie Mellon University who changed his students lives with his work in virtual reality. When Randy was asked to give the prestigious "last lecture" at the end of the year, he had no idea how much this title would ring true to him. Unfortunately, he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and only given a few months to live. He decided to use this lecture to leave a legacy for his children since he wouldn't always be around to share this wisdom with them later in life. What he created in this lecture left a lasting impact not only on those that knew him well, but on anyone who was lucky enough to experience it through his book, on YouTube, or DVD. Randy was a man who lived a life of passion and that legacy will live on through his lessons.
There are many things that Randy discussed in his lecture that have stayed with me personally. One of my favorite sections was when he discussed "Brick Walls." Randy said, "Brick walls are there for a reason, not to keep you out, but to show you how badly you want something." This is a message that can be applied to so many things in life. We can't always understand things that are thrown at us, especially the tough things, but it is how we move past them that define us. The most successful people are the ones who don't hold back, who don't let anything get in the way of what they want. This kind of perseverance will allow you to live a life of purpose. I know that I don't always understand some of the things that have happened in my life, but I never let them stop me from moving forward and Randy reminds me of that often. Cancer may have been his ultimate brick wall, but he didn't let it ruin the time he had left. He was the definition of living for every moment and not letting things stop you. That is inspirational and I hope to live half the life he did.