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I’ve always known that life should not be taken for granted. Unfortunately, that was something I learned from a very young age. But I’ve always struggled with knowing how to balance the fear of dying/losing people in my life, with actually living.
I think there is a very fine line between the depression and the optimism that comes with knowing life is short. Would you agree?
The book starts as Randy finds out that his pancreatic cancer has progressed and his doctors have given him only months to live. Knowing he’s about to leave behind a wife with three young children, Randy decides to bid farewell to his life in academia by giving one final lecture to his students and colleagues at Carnegie Mellon; while simultaneously documenting bits of advice for his young children.
His message is inspiring. Throughout the book, I found myself on the verge of tears, and simultaneously amazed at his grace during such a tumultuous time.
At this point in my life, this book is exactly what I needed to read. I was already focusing so much positive energy into my vision board for 2012, and Mr. Pausch just reaffirmed my notions of what I need to make most important for myself.
My favorite takeaways:
1. “Put on your own oxygen mask before assisting others.” — Basically, what good are you in your life/relationships if you’re not first and foremost taking care of yourself. True. Story.
2. “Proper apologies have three parts: 1) What I did was wrong. 2) I feel badly that I hurt you. 3) How do I make this better?” — Apologies seem like they’re easy. But they can be complicated. And when we should say we’re sorry, it should definitely be like this.
3. Material possessions are just that: material. Nothing of significant value is material. Everything important holds no material value.
4. “It’s not helpful if we spend every day dreading tomorrow.” — As someone who is often in fear of something bad happening, I really need to make a conscious effort to remember this.
5. “Ask yourself: Are you spending your time on the right things?”and to go along with that, “We all have finite time and energy. Any time we spend whining is unlikely to help us achieve our goals. And it won’t make us happier.” — Lesson learned? Make priorities. And make the important people a priority. Always.
6. “This is what it is. We can’t change it. We just have to decide how we’ll respond. We cannot change he cards we are dealt, just how we play the hand.” — Lately I’ve been having a number of ‘woe is me’ moments. But really? What does it all matter. Focusing on the negative won’t change the circumstances. But I can certainly focus on how I react to situations and the ‘hands I’m dealt.’
which leads to…
7. “If you lead your life the right way, the karma will take care of itself. The dreams will come to you.”
So please take a few moments to read this book and to hear Randy’s inspiring story. Who knows — maybe it will be life-changing for you, too!