1. What did Randy Pausch mean by "Enabling The Dreams of Others?"  2.  What did Randy Pausch mean by "It's about How to Live your Life?"

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

For Pausch, the titles of sections in his speech point to elements that he deems as fundamentally important in the way in which one lives their lives.  If there is an acceptance of the formula behind the conceit of "the last lecture," then the ideas of "Enabling the Dreams of Others" and "It's About How to Live Your Life" are both reflective of how individuals are able to view the trajectory of their lives as they prepare to deliver their own last lecture.

In the notion of "Enabling the Dreams of Others," Pausch points to specific events in his own life that were designed to maintain an eye to maintaining the social order.  Pausch suggests that one cannot live their lives in isolation. Rather, they have to find ways in which they are able to substantiate the dreams of other people, just as people were able to facilitate their own dreams. In this construction in which it becomes evident that human beings stand on the shoulders of giants, Pausch suggests that individuals have an obligation to give back to others so that their dreams can be envisioned.  For example, Pausch speaks to how he became a university professor so that he could "enable childhood dreams" that other people have.  When Pausch works with Tommy Bennett, it becomes clear that the need to enable the dreams of others operates as a critical aspect in his own life and should be one that individuals should appropriate in their own space of being.  For Pausch, human happiness lies in the merging of both individual aspiration and supporting the hopes of others.

The effectiveness of Pausch's lecture is seen in its closing thought.  For Pausch, the paradigm with which to measure a meaningful life is evident in the way in which one lives their life:  “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.”   This idea stresses that the manner in which individuals life a life is as important, if not more, than the successes measured in it.  For Pausch, how individuals live their lives in terms of recognizing their own hopes and aspirations as well as how they have supported others in their own pursuit for theirs is where success lies.  In the section of the lecture entitled "Lessons Learned," Pausch wishes to make a statement that will last longer than he will.  In this regard, being able to develop the framework in which individuals understand how to live their lives is critical.  For Pausch, the accomplishment and end results of an individual's dreams are important.  Yet, they are secondary to the means by which an individual has accomplished them.  Pausch is emphatic that how is as important as what.  The worry and anxiety that might be focused on results is something that he feels will "take care of itself" if individuals have pursued a worthwhile means of accomplishing their dreams.  Issues such as money, status, and external success will "take care of itself" if individuals have made a firm commitment that the way in which they live their lives is in accordance to keeping an eye on the maintenance of the social order.