One of my most admired mentors is Randy Pausch. He was the professor at Carnegie Mellon University who found out he had pancreatic cancer. With only a limited time to live, he set out to leave a legacy of his thoughts and advice to his children. His kernels of truth has inspired millions including myself. I have the book, The Last Lecture, which contains his farewell address to students and faculty at his University.
It is a powerful presentation that contains truisms that are clear and poignant about life. I keep it on my nightstand. I reference it and use his words to inspire me to live my life. He has been one of those people who have changed me.
There was a time in my life when all seem dark. I felt completely alone. it was a time when I had a found myself in many ways but it also affected so many people in other ways . There were two things that buoyed me up. One was a clergyman of the Church I belonged to who lovingly told me, that no matter who may turn their face from me and who may shun me, that I was never far away from love and that I will always feel it. He said that love is greater than all things.
The other were my children. I found purpose in whatever capacity I could as their father to do what I could for them. Many times I did not feel what I did for them was enough. However, that desire to do better for them pulled me through places that I often walked alone in.
Things got better and life improved and I became truly happy. There were still problems and issues that come with life but I was at peace. With peace, comes joy.
So when I read Randy’s book and subsequent writings. I understood that with our actual trials, whether they be a malignant cancer or a life changing challenge, there are always ways to draw on strength, faith, the ability to endure and come out better as a human being. You are not defined by the trials , you use them to further enhance who you really are inside. You become your very best self.
One of my favorite quotes from Randy is :
“Follow your passions, believe in karma, and you won’t have to chase your dreams, they will come to you.”
― Randy Pausch
One of the things that life has taught me is that I must do what I am truly passionate about because life seems to point me back to it every time I take a detour away from it. I truly love what I do in my job right now. I actually have a couple of jobs that I contract and consult at and I love it. Different functionally but at its core, the same activity of bringing people together to achieve goals.
I am invigorated by what I do.
The other quote that I like from him is:
“When we’re connected to others, we become better people.”
― Randy Pausch, The Last Lecture
This is true on any level whether familial or in business. Our species is meant to connect. That means we are in in meaningful and active interaction. I have different chapters in my life. People from those chapters are important to me. We might be in different places in our lives now but where we are deeply connected, which is in our hearts, it is still the same.
I am a better person because of all of them. Many I have not been in active contact for a long time. That is too long.
This year, I want them all in the current chapter until my book of Life ends.
I also look forward to future connections with people I have yet to meet.
So, I guess 2013 has inspired me to go back to one of my mentor’s admonitions and to bring in the New Year with connecting to the past and the present and moving confidently into the future with the ones I have loved and cherished all the years of my life to date.
Let’s get moving.