Tag Archives: Inspiring

Lessons Learned from Randy

Tribute to Randy Pausch on Google

I, like millions of people have watched Randy Pausch’s Last Lecture on YouTube. This lecture is extremely powerful, empowering and has been impactful in my life. I developed a great appreciation for Randy’s wisdom and the lessons this Carnegie Mellon professor had for us. This talk is meant to teach life’s lessons as his legacy in life.

Now that Randy has past away, how can his legacy live on in me? I am a firm believer in that everything that is put before me, there’s a lesson to be learned. So what are my, as Randy puts it, “Lessons learned…” What lessons can I get out of Randy’s life experiences, and his passing, to “achieve my dreams and enable the dreams of other.”

I thought about that a little bit more and went back to listen to the lecture. This is what I came up with – my list of 10 things I’ve learned from Randy’s lecture (in no particular order):

1. The Brick Walls are there for a Reason: Walls are there to separate those who do not want it bad enough from those with the dedication and commitment to live their lives to the fullest. It is there to allow us to climb over them and get to the other side even when we do not know what is on the other side. Reaching for what you want requires work – so work hard. Scale those walls and show that you have the desire.

Everyday life has a way of putting hurdles in our path. Some may seem insurmountable, but it is in my passion for life that I can overcome them. It is in me to excel and jump over those hurdles.

2. Disney Imagineering – The Nicest “Go to Hell Letters”: Anybody can get chewed out and rejected. It is in how you receive & accept the feedback (even just seeing it as feedback). Learning from the rejections & the failures is one of the biggest lessons in life. At the end of the lecture Randy says it is the rare person that can “cherish it and use it” to grow as a person.

3. Wait Long Enough & People Will Surprise & Impress You : Perseverance is the key. Give people the time & the space they need to find their own greatness. Guide them along their paths so they can get themselves to where they want to be. As Randy says, “Find the best in everybody; no matter how long you have to wait for them to show it.”

Give up whatever impression you may have of them. Don’t make them wrong and allow them to be themselves. You may be surprised!

4. Good Way & Bad Way of Saying ‘NO’ : It is in the attitude & in the words I use that I can influence/ get people to do what I want from them. It is a way of being that I can create for myself. I can have something worth saying but saying it to empower others (not to disempower them) is where the powers lies.

At the end of the lecture he shares something Andy Van Dam told him. “It’s such a shame that people perceive you as so arrogant, because it’s going to limit what you are going to be able to accomplish in life.” Randy continues with “What a hell of a good way to word – you’re being a jerk!” It was in the positive nature of the wording that this became a constructive conversation.

5. The Next Star Wars Film :When Tommy shared his dreams, Randy said “You know they are probably not going to make those next movies…” and Tommy said “No they are!” This shows me that no matter what people say or think, just live your dreams. Don’t let people dissuade you from living & achieving them.

6. You Obviously Don’t Know Where the Bar Should Be – You’re Only Going To Do Them a Disservice by Putting it Anywhere : Dream Big!! Randy was amazed that his students did not stop and “just kept going!!” Do not sell people short by my own limits and perceptions. Encourage people to give their best & they will surely do so. See people bigger then they see themselves and they will live into who you make them out to be. Create an energy where greatness comes from believing one is great!

7. My Favorite Moment in 10 Years is a Brilliant Ad Lib : “He pulls out his ninja sword and says – ‘I am dishonored!’ and just drops.” What I got from this moment is that the best part of life are the moments that are unplanned and are true and honest from the heart.

This is where we get to live our life to the fullest and where I can create a great bond with people. Being authentic, honest & real with myself will allow me to be just that with others.

8. The Yin and the Yang : The left and right side of the brain are essential for the success out of anything I do. The Geek and the Artist in me / the Good & the Bad are both necessary for being complete. One cannot live without sharing with the other.

9. Paint My Bedroom : Let your kids paint their bedroom. Allow them to flourish & encourage them to be self-expressed. His parents may have been reluctant, but they saw the spark in his eye and encouraged him to express his creativity. They allowed him to express himself – even if it was unconventional art.

As an architect, I know the value the environment can cause to spark the creative flame in people. And I also know the value I can create in my son by giving him the space to express his artistic flare.

10. Are You a Tigger or an Eeyore? : Are you going to live your life having FUN or not? You get to choose. Like Randy says, it is not only a choice but its a requirement. “I’m dying and I’m having fun. And I’m going to keep having fun every day I have left. Because there’s no other way to play it.” There really is no other option. We will all die and at the end of our lives, do we want to be remembered, like Randy, “as a person who had fun” or as a person who never allowed himself to enjoy his life. You choose!

OK, so getting ten powerful tenets from Randy’s lecture is incredible and an amazing contribution, on Randy’s part! And then I get to the end of his lecture and he throws out “How to get people to help you?” This hit home because it has been a big one in my life. Inspiring & enrolling others to follow me has been challenging. So what is the “lesson learned?”

You Can’t Get There Alone : Acknowledge the people in your life. Tell the truth to others & to yourself. Show gratitude & appreciation. Have an intention or purpose in your life to live for and share that with others. Live for others and they will give you your dreams.

Inspire in them their dreams & they will be inspired by your dreams.

Lastly Randy reveals the great “head fake,” the lesson we did not know we were meant to learn –

It is not about how to achieve your dreams, but 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.”


So at the end of Randy’s lecture, I realize that in our daily life, we get caught up in the circumstances, the daily challenges and the hurdles we have to jump. Constantly bumping into the proverbial “brick wall” of life and constantly staying stuck inside my head. It is about getting outside of your ‘self’ & contributing to others. Being with others and giving of yourself to others. This is where life fulfills your dreams.

I have only one choice! I cannot stay wallowing in my junk. I must allow myself to experience life and to have fun while living it. There really is no other way to play it!

Thank you Randy for
who you were. Your legacy lives on!

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My Goodbyes to Randy Pausch

On July 25th, Randy Pausch past away (See Official Google Blog: Goodbye to Randy Pausch, a great teacher). My deepest sympathies go out to his family. I personally did not know him, but his Last Lecture touched my heart & left a lasting impression on me.

What would I do if this moment was my last? How would I live my life knowing that I am going to die? Would I sit here pissed off at the world & at God; would I be feeling sorry for myself; or would I have the courage to make a difference before I go?

See that is the BIG question in life “what difference do I make in this world?”

Well I can tell you that after watching Randy’s Last Lecture I know I have the courage to make a difference now! The first time I watched his video I found myself just so amazed at how – in the face of his own inevitable death – he faced his own Goliath head on.

As his lecture states, he did this so that he can leave behind a legacy that his family can be proud of. Well Randy you did good by your family and I want to thank you for sharing yourself with me. I am forever changed by who you were. You have left behind a legacy that has touched the world.

Randy Pausch’s famous lecture at Carnegie Melon University entitled the “Last Lecture.”

This lecture was amazingly uplifting. A truly inspiring reaction to getting the news that you are dying.

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Music & Life – An Epiphany!

Today the most commonplace video allowed me to have an epiphany. I never in a million years could have imagined that Tray & Matt of South Park fame would be the cause of it. Granted it’s the words of Alan Watts that did it but it was thru Tray & Matt’s video that I was exposed to those words.

As Alan Watts explains it, naked celebrities the idea that “reaching for success is the purpose of life” is a great big hoax!

I have missed the music along the way.

Like most I have worked hard to be successful and missed what the real purpose was. Acquired the houses I’ve wanted and even created the type of business I’ve wanted. I design multi-million dollar waterfront homes where money is everything. Sure I’ve sacrificed a few birthday parties because meeting the client’s deadline was more important but hey, the family will understand. What’s the problem – there will be many more birthdays to come!

I have fallen for the peer pressure that having a nice car, a nice house & great financial Independence were the symbols of success. See I had what I thought would be my nice nest egg. Sure, I planned that I would sell it all and retire when I’m 55. But now with the economy the way it is, well that nest egg is now more like scrambled eggs.

Over the last year or so, I’ve come to realize that I’ve wasted so much time, effort, and affinity to acquire those things. I’ve realized that I’ve never sang or danced to the music. I’ve never allow myself to be free of the need to have material success.

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Pure Love Comes Home

Last night my 10yr old son came home from a 3 week vacation in Ecuador, South America. My wife & I were so excited to be at the airport and pick him up. See he’s flying back with 2 of my sister, & 6 more nieces & nephews. I was anxiously waiting in the terminal with my wife, my brother, sister, sister-in-law, brother-in-law… We were a whole troop! Everyone is in conversation passing the time, but in my head I was only focused on seeing my son.

After a while of waiting & seeing many passengers arriving, we started getting anxious & saying, “they’re next out thru those doors. No – this time really – They’re the next ones.” Another 30 minutes later I see 2 female figures with a bunch of kids coming in the distance. It had to be them. Who else is crazy enough to travel with 5 boys & 2 girls at 1 am. I see all the kids jumping around & having fun. Sure enough my son is one of those kids jumping around and carefree just goofing off.

But as soon as he saw me with my arms stretched out wide open welcoming him home, he started crying. Immediately starts running towards me and jumps in the air into my open arms – matrix-like in slow motion – almost knocking me over! I’ve never seen him run that fast! Sobbingly he says “Dad I’ve missed you!” In that moment, nobody else existed around us. We hugged for what felt like an eternity & he squeezed me with so much love and sentiment. Wow! there is nothing more powerful then a pure expression of love like this one.

I have missed him & he has missed me just as much. When I asked him why he was crying, he replied “No dad, those are tears of joy! I really didn’t realize how much I’ve missed you.”

In that instant, I realized that nothing else matters. Nothing!

No matter what the struggles of life; no matter what my family thinks of me & how we’re raising our son; No matter the tribulations of life; no matter the criticism, all that matters is that my son loves me! He loves his dad with all his heart & I love him!

Not that my wife & I were failing him, but life; the negative opinions and criticism of others; and even worse of all – my little voice in my head! All have a way of making me forget who I am for my family. All have a way of allowing me to disempower myself. I just got validation that I am a good dad. No matter what anybody says or thinks – I am – and I can again trust that what my heart says to me is genuine compared to what my mind tells me.

I will from this day forward trust my heart and know that I am doing what’s right for my family.

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Staying Positive in a Negative World

It is truly possible to be positive in a negative world. The way I see it, the world is what I see in it & what I make of it.

I find that when I start my morning routine listening to the morning rush hour report, I already start upset and rushed. This is because I find myself needing to rush out the door right now in order to ‘beat’ the traffic. Take my coffee on the run & well, I’ll read that report during the traffic jams so I don’t waste time. When I get to the office, I feel like a rat trying to find a spot up front in the parking lot. In the elevator lobby I rush to the elevator to ‘beat’ that crowd that is coming behind me. All this before 9am. So of course I am going to be upset, rushed & negative.

This negativity stays with me all day. When I get home, my son runs to sit on my lap & all I want to do is ‘veg-out’ before dinner. I have stressed myself raw and now just want to be numb to the world. Staring at the tv allows me to zone out for a while just to recover.

What I saw missing in myself was peacefulness & clarity. Everything is hurry up & wait.

So I tried an experiment. I start my day differently. I already know that the morning commute will take about 1hr plus 15 minutes for delays. In the morning I get up with time to sit at the table & talk with my wife. My son kisses me as he is leaving to school and I am listening to a soft tune in the background. I saw that during that week I got to work on time, read my report at the table & even made it to the elevator without a mad rush. The day goes by peacefully & my head stays focused. On the drive home I listen to an audio book & clear myself of the day’s troubles.

The most important thing is that when I get home my son still wants to sit on my lap. But now I find that I can actually play with him & enjoy my time with him. My head is clear & I can focus on him.

What I did differently was change my mindset. What I focus on is what shows up in my life. If I create tension, worries & rush and that is what occurs throughout the day. BUT when I created peacefulness and clarity for myself, the days became just that – peaceful & clear. Even finding a parking space was not stressful.

So the way to staying positive in a negative world, is not to focus on the negative, but on the positive. Live life like you want it to be & sure enough that is what will show up for you in this world.

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