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  • [applause]

  • Pausch: Make me earn it.

  • It's a--

  • men: You did.

  • Pausch: It's wonderful to be here.

  • What Indira didn't tell you is that this lecture series

  • used to be called "The last lecture"

  • If you had one last lecture to give before you died,

  • What would it be?

  • I thought, "Damn, I finally nailed the venue,

  • and they renamed it."

  • So, you know, in case there's anybody who wandered in

  • and doesn't know the backstory

  • My dad always taught me,

  • When there's an elephant in the room, introduce them.

  • If you look at my cat scans,

  • There are approximately ten tumors in my liver,

  • And the doctors told me

  • Three to six months of good health left.

  • That was a month ago, so you can do the math.

  • I have some of the best doctors in the world.

  • So that is what it is.

  • We can't change it, and we just have to decide

  • how we're going to respond to that.

  • We cannot change the cards we are dealt,

  • Just how we play the hand.

  • If I don't seem as depressed or morose as I should be,

  • Sorry to disappoint you.

  • [laughter]

  • And I assure you, I am not in denial.

  • It's not like I'm not aware of what's going on.

  • My family, my three kids, my wife, we just decamped.

  • We bought a lovely house in Chesapeake, Vigrinia

  • near norfolk, and we're doing that

  • because that's a better place

  • for the family to be, down the road.

  • And the other thing is

  • I am in phenomenally good health right now.

  • I mean, it's the greatest thing

  • of cognitive dissonance you will ever see

  • is the fact that I am in really good shape.

  • In fact, I'm in better shape than most of you.

  • [applause]

  • So anybody who wants to cry or pity me

  • can come down and do a few of those,

  • and then you may pity me.

  • [laughter]

  • All right, so what we're not talking about today,

  • We're not talking about cancer,

  • Because I spent a lot of time talking about that,

  • and I'm really not interested.

  • If you have any herbal supplements or remedies,

  • Please stay away from me.

  • [laughter]

  • And we're not going to talk about things

  • that are even more important

  • than achieving your childhood dreams.

  • We're not going to talk about my wife.

  • W're not talking about my kids, because I'm good,

  • But I'm not good enough

  • to talk about that without tearing up.

  • So we're just going to take that off the table.

  • That's much more important.

  • And we're not going to talk about spirituality and religion.

  • Although I will tell you that I have experienced

  • a deathbed conversion.

  • I just bought a Macintosh.

  • [applause]

  • Now, I knew I'd get 9% of the audience with that.

  • All right, so what is today's talk about then?

  • It's about my childhood dreams and how I have achieved them--

  • I've been very fortunate that way--

  • How I believe I've been able to enable the dreams--

  • I've been able to enable the dreams of others,

  • and to some degree, lessons learned--

  • I'm a professor;

  • There should be some lessons learned--

  • And how you can use the stuff you hear today

  • to achieve your dreams or enable the dreams of others.

  • And as you get older, you may find

  • that "enabling the dreams of others" thing

  • is even more fun.

  • So what were my childhood dreams?

  • Well, you know, I had a really good childhood,

  • I mean, no kidding around.

  • I was going back through the family archives,

  • and what was really amazing was,

  • I couldn't find any pictures of me as a kid

  • where I wasn't smiling, all right?

  • And that was just a very gratifying thing.

  • There was our dog, right?

  • Aw, Thank you.

  • And there I actually have a picture of me dreaming.

  • [laughter]

  • And I did a lot of that.

  • You know, there was a lot of " wake ups ", you know?

  • And it was an easy time to dream.

  • I was born in 1960, all right?

  • When you're eight or nine years old

  • and you look at the TV set and men are landing on the moon,

  • Anything is possible.

  • And that's something we should not lose sight of,

  • Is that the inspiration

  • And the permission to dream is huge.

  • So what were my childhood dreams?

  • You may not agree with this list, but I was there.

  • [laughter]

  • Being in zero gravity,

  • Playing in the national football league,

  • Authoring an article in the "WORLD BOOK" encyclopedia--

  • I guess you can tell the nerds early--

  • [laughter]

  • Being Captain Kirk

  • Anybody here have that childhood dream?

  • Not at CMU, NO.

  • I wanted to become one of the guys

  • Who won the big stuffed animals in the amusement park,

  • And I wanted to be an imagineer with disney.

  • There are not sorted in any particular order,

  • Although I think they do get harder,

  • Except for maybe the first one.

  • Okay so being in zero gravity.

  • Now, It's important to have specific dreams.

  • I did not dream of being an astronaut,

  • Because when I was a little kid, I wore glasses,

  • And they told me "Oh, astronauts can't have glasses."

  • And I was like, "MM, I didn't really want

  • The whole astronaut gig; I just wanted the floating"

  • So--And as a child--

  • [laughter]

  • Prototype 0.0.

  • But that didn't work so well, and it turns out that NASA

  • Has something called "The Vomit Comet"

  • That they use to train the astronauts,

  • And this thing does parabolic arcs,

  • And at the top of each arc,

  • You get about 25 seconds where you're ballistic

  • And you get about a rough equivalent of weightlessness

  • for about 25 seconds.

  • And there is a program where college students

  • can submit proposals,

  • And if they win the competition, they get to fly.

  • And I thought that was really cool.

  • And we had a team, and we put a team together,

  • And they won, and they got to fly,

  • And I was all excited because I was going to go with them...

  • And then I hit the first brick wall,

  • Because they made it very clear

  • That under no circumstances were faculty members

  • Allowed to fly with the teams.

  • I know. I was heartbroken, right.

  • I was like, "But I worked so hard."

  • And so I read the literature very carefully,

  • And it turns out that NASA--

  • It's part of their outreach and publicity program,

  • And it turns out that the students were allowed

  • To bring a local media journalist from their hometown.

  • [laughter]

  • Randy Pausch, web journalist.

  • It's really easy to get a press pass.

  • So I called up the guys at NASA, and I said,

  • "I need to know where to fax some documents."

  • And they said, "What documents are you going to fax us?"

  • I said, "My resignation as the faculty advisor

  • and my application as the journalist."

  • And he said, "That's a little transparent, don't you think?"

  • And I said, "Yeah, but our project is virtual reality,

  • and we're going to bring down a whole bunch of VR headsets,

  • and all the students from all the teams

  • are going to experience it.

  • And all those other real journalists

  • are going to get to film it."

  • Jim Foley's going, "Oh, you bastard, yes."

  • And the guy said, "Here's the fax number."

  • So--And indeed, we kept our end of the bargain,

  • And that's one of the themes that you'll hear

  • later on in the talk

  • is have something to bring to the table, right,

  • because that wall make you more welcomed.

  • And if you're curious about what zero gravity looks like.

  • Hopefully the sound will be working here.

  • man: It's on.

  • woman: All right, go get 'em, Mazi

  • This is fantastic.

  • It's just amazing.

  • It's nothing like I expected.

  • Pausch: There I am.

  • [laughter]

  • woman: This is awesome.

  • [laughs]

  • You got one, Mazi

  • That's good.

  • man: Got a ball for you, Mazi

  • [laughter]

  • Pausch: You do pay the piper at the bottom.

  • So childhood dream number one, check.

  • All right, let's talk about football.

  • My dream was to play in the national football league,

  • and most of you don't know that I actually played--no.

  • [laughter]

  • NO, I DID NOT MAKE IT TO THE NATIONAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE,

  • but I probably got more from that dream

  • and not accomplishing it

  • than I got from any of the ones that I did accomplish.

  • I had a coach.

  • I signed up when I was nine years old.

  • I was the smallest kid in the league by far,

  • And I had a coach, Jim Graham, who was 6'4''.

  • He had played linebacker at Penn State.

  • He was just this hulk of a guy,

  • And he was old school, I mean, really old school.

  • Like, he thought the forward pass was a trick play.

  • [laughter]

  • And he showed up for practice the first day,

  • And you know, he's this big hulking guy.

  • We were all scared to death of him,

  • And he hadn't brought any footballs.

  • How are we going to have practice without any footballs?

  • And one of the other kids said,

  • "Excuse me, coach, but there's no football."

  • And Coach Graham said, "Right, How many men

  • are on a football field at a time?"

  • "11 on a team, 22."

  • And Coach Graham said,

  • "All right, and how many people

  • are touching the football at any given time?"

  • "One of them."

  • And he said, "Right, so we're going to work

  • on what those other 21 guys are doing."

  • And that's a really good story,

  • Because it's all about fundamentals, fundamentals,

  • fundamentals, fundamental.

  • You've got to get the fundamentals down,

  • Because otherwise the fancy stuff isn't going to work.

  • And the other Jim Graham story I have is,

  • There was one practice

  • where he just rode me all practice.

  • Just, "You're doing this wrong. You're doing this wrong."

  • "Go back and do it again. You owe me."

  • "You're doing push-ups after practice."

  • And when it was all over,

  • One of the other assistant coaches came over and said,

  • "Yeah, Coach Graham rode you pretty hard, didn't he?"

  • I said, "Yeah."

  • He said, "That's a good thing."

  • He said, "When you're screwing up,

  • and nobody's saying anything to you anymore,

  • that means they gave up."

  • And that's a lesson that stuck with me my whole life

  • is that when you see yourself doing something badly

  • And nobody's bothering to tell you anymore,

  • That's a very bad place to be.