Monday, April 21, 2008

My Last Lecture

I just finished reading Randy Pauch's The Last Lecture. I my opinion, this is 2008's The Life of Pi or The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night. I got to thinking, what pearls of wisdom might my kids pass on that they have learned from me? The following is my crack at a list:

1. You can never be kind and polite to too many people. Even if you don't like somebody or if they are mean to you, simply remaining kind and polite in all your interactions will mitigate all sorts of problems.
2. Get the stuff that makes up your daily work load done first. With no work to worry about you'll enjoy the rest of your day so much more.
3. You can learn something from everyone. No matter how young, how inexperienced, or uneducated, everyone has a different perspective from yours. Listen and watch, and you'll probably figure out something you didn't know before.
4. Family should always be your number one priority. Your friends come and go, often as a function of how convenient it is to interact with them on a frequent basis. If you are lucky, your family was with you when you were born, and will be with you at the end of your life.
5. Never value objects over people. If something gets wrecked or lost, you can almost always replace or fix it. Getting angry at someone for accidentally damaging or losing something can never be undone. Your finest moments are when you rise above worrying about objects and realize value of the people in your life.
6. Take time to stop and do what you love. At the end of your life, chances are pretty good you won't wish you had spent more time at work, doing laundry, or doing your taxes.
7. Dogs and children can be very frustrating. Try very very hard to not fly off the handle at them because the guilt that follows those kinds of acts will eat you alive.
8. Don't stand aside and let someone bully or tease and friend or family member. Meanness should be faced off and dealt with.
9. Don't play practical jokes on people or poke fun at people and then make them feel badly for not taking it well. You are being a jerk. Stop, apologize, and don't do it again.
10. And speaking of apologies, keep them sincere, never make excuses for your self, own your screw up, and.... don't do it again.
11. Be considerate of the people you live with. Just because they are family doesn't mean you should treat them with less consideration than the people you work or go to school with. If you wouldn't do it to your co-workers or fellow students or even a stranger, think hard about if you should do it at home.
12. How you perceive other people reveals flaws about your personality. If you don't trust people, perhaps you need to become more trustworthy yourself. If you walk a mile out of your way to become offended by the smallest things, perhaps you are thinking offensive things about other people. Examine your responses to people and consider that maybe what bugs you most is that characteristic you most need to work on in yourself.
13. Be honest when it's truly important to do so. You never know when your integrity may be all you have to fall back on.

Funny, this was really easy. Once I started, the ideas just kept coming. Cheers and deepest respect and admiration to Randy Pausch with fervent hope that he gets the miracle that he so deserves.

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