Subtitles section Play video Print subtitles [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. Your critics are your ones telling you they still love you and care. After Coach Graham, I had another coach, Coach Setliff, And he taught me a lot about the power of enthusiasm. He did this one thing where only for one play at a time, He would put people in at, like, The most horrifically wrong position for them.