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When Randy Pausch was diagnosed with Stage IV pancreatic cancer, he did what he always did—he kept living his life. A man with passions ranging from education to science to local fairs, he decided to give one final lecture at Carnegie Mellon University to provide his family, friends, students, and co-workers with some meaningful tips about how to really live life. The lecture was titled "Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams" and has been viewed millions of times.

In this lecture, Pausch provides words of wisdom on many subjects, which are below.

Brick walls are there for a reason. Pausch relates that everyone runs into difficulties in pursuit of their dreams. But instead of letting these walls stop them, he encourages his listeners to consider the walls as a challenge and as a source of motivation. "The brick walls aren't there to keep you out. They are there to keep the other people out. The people who don't want it badly enough."

Apologize properly. Pausch says that it's not enough to throw casual words at someone as an apology. A sincere and acceptable apology has three parts: the actual words of apology, a verbal acknowledgement of being at fault, and an offer to somehow make things better.

Are you a Tigger or an Eeyore? Pausch says that everyone goes through life as one of these two characters. He stands firmly in the Tigger camp. (He even says that everyone should make an effort to have fun and follows with "I'm dying and I'm having fun!")

Pay attention when people who care about you aren't saying anything. Pausch says that your closest family and friends will steer you when you need to go in another direction. And when they stop, this is actually not a good thing. It means that they have given up on you. He urges that you need to pay attention to the advice and wisdom of people who love you.

Pausch relates lessons about living with humor and intelligence. His speech is both passionate and meaningful, filled with life lessons that are important and easy to apply—eliciting tears from both laughter and sadness. His speech quickly gained popularity and went viral, extending far beyond CMU. He was invited to appear on the Oprah Winfrey Show and gave several other interviews in the months that followed. He even turned his speech into a book that soared to the top of best-seller lists. Pausch's lecture is one that can quite literally change lives. Link included below.

Unfortunately, Pausch lost his battle to pancreatic cancer in July 2008.

"We cannot change the cards we are dealt, just how we play the hand."

~Randy Pausch

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One of the most compelling aspects of Pausch's work is how he renders a transformative vision of one's abilities. In a context in which so many struggle with the direction of their lives, Pausch manages to transcend such debate through his focus on what life can be. Pausch's envisions a world in which individuals are able to live out their dreams but do so in a way that recognizes the needs and aspirations of others. For Pausch, inspiration lies in being able to connect with others. In the line, “we cannot change the cards we are dealt, just how we play the hand," Pausch presents individuals as agents of change and self-improvement. We all need to look to what can be achieved as opposed to merely existing for what is. Ultimately, Pausch's The Last Lecture acts as a blueprint for how to live one's life meaningfully.

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