WOW! I have got to say, best blog post assignment yet! Although I have watched this lecture before, it never ceases to amaze me. Thank you Dr. Strange for recommending this. I plan to share and watch this lecture again. And again. So, where to start...
Some background to this lecture:
Randy Pausch was a husband, father, and professor at Carnegie Mellon University. At the time of his lecture, he had been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer with only a few months left. He dedicated this lecture to his children. Randy tells an inspirational and motivational story of achieving his childhood dreams, how he dedicated his life to helping others achieve their dreams, and meanwhile addressing lessons learned along the way. I love this reflection; and I admire Randy's self-awareness and love for fun and life.
Just some forewarning, I will be incorporating a lot of quotes for paraphrasing might be difficult when someone already says it best.
To begin, Pausch brings up many good points and valuable life lessons.
"It's not about the cards you are dealt, its how your play them." Would you like to be a Tigger or Eeyore in life? Randy stresses the importance of being honest, loyal, enthusiastic, and helpful.
Being good at something can have its perks. One of Randy's tips, "always have something to bring to the table." Having something to bring to the table will make you valuable and people will want you around more. Why would anyone want to extend an invite to you? Give them a reason. Be unique and useful.
Randy discusses all of his childhood dreams and the obstacles he went through to achieve his goals. I especially enjoyed when he mentions that he gained the most from the one dream that he did not achieve. "I got more from the dream and not accomplishing it than from all the other combined." He mentions, "experience is what you get when you didn't get what you wanted." Although he could not go to the NFL, he learned about teamwork, perseverance, and leadership. While discussing his dreams, he shows that he is resilient and flexible. He molded his dreams to be accomplished and adapted to changes as needed.
Pausch calls his setback brick walls. "Brick walls are there for a reason: to stop the people who don't want it bad enough....and an opportunity to show how badly you want it." This stood out to me. After hearing this, I realized that many times when I truly want something, I get it done regardless of the setbacks. On the other hand, it is apparent when I do not care as much, because even tiny setbacks can hinder my process. Maybe sitting down and writing out what is important to me and how to accomplish these goals can help with time management and achieving them.
"When you are screwing up, and nobody is saying anything anymore; that means they gave up....your critics are the ones telling you they still love you and care." This resonates for me. Sometimes it can be hard to to accept that what you are doing is not perfect, however being able to accept and learn from feedback is more respectable than to simply make excuses. Also, I think accepting the consequences to your actions is just as important.
Randy brings up a concept that he calls, The Head Fake. For example, when it comes to teaching, teaching students something considered hard through making them think they are learning something else. His legacy: the virtual reality world. Randy brings this concept up a few times throughout his lecture. "The best way to teach is to have them think they are learning something else." In retrospect, I can see and appreciate all of my high school teachers for instilling good values and teaching me so much while I was completely unaware. Teachers have to make decisions everyday on how to handle every situation. "If ignorance is bliss, tis foolish to be wise." I have a much deeper appreciation for all my teachers have done; especially not out of the textbook.
Randy demonstrates enthusiasm through the entire lecture. Enthusiasm for life, for his family, for education, and for his dreams. Enthusiasm, to Randy, makes the biggest difference. Sometimes a seemingly dull activity can be incredibly fun with a little bit of enthusiasm. Also, positive attitudes and high enthusiasm will make people want to be around your more and work with you.
One of Randy's mentors tells him, "when you wait long enough, people will surprise and impress you." I have found this true in my own experience over again. I always believe in giving everyone the benefit of the doubt. Additionally, although someone might make poor decisions and fall occasionally, helping them rather than turning away can make all of the difference. I heard this once before, "when you have low expectations of people, they will sink to them; but if you keep the expectations high, they will rise and surprise you." This incorporates self-fulfilling prophesy. Also, having someone believe in you is motivation in itself.
One of Randy's great stories that illustrates expectations is when his students delivered for a two week assignment that he was so impressed with, he was unsure what to do next. One of his mentors tells him to go to his class, look them straight in the eyes and say, "pretty good, but I know you can do better." This was funny, but the lesson was more important. "You don't know where the bar should be, obviously you are doing them a disservice by putting it anywhere." This is a theme that has come up many times throughout EDM310 and becoming a networked teacher. Students should be constantly challenged and curious enough to want to know more and do better. Grades and standardizing learning has seemed to benefit some while holding others back.
Wording and delivery can make a huge difference when interacting with people. Randy mentions that he spoke with two people and gave examples of the importance of diction in communication. Both people were trying to say, " I don't know." One becomes defensive, negative, and authoritative. The other replies, "I don't have very much information; all I know is that I have one of my star faculty members in my office and he's all excited. So I want to learn more." This is a lesson that can be applied to just about every situation. Also he mentions how beautifully a mentor once told him that he was arrogant that made him think about changing. "It's such a shame that people perceive you as arrogant. It's going to limit what you will accomplish." Diction is crucial and changes.
Another lesson I can apply to teaching and makes me feel better about my field of interest. Pausch brings up as professors, "you can have your cake and eat it too." This statement is true for Randy because he was enabling the dreams of others while pursuing his own. One of his mentors convinced him to go to graduate school and obtain his PhD because he could sell anything. If he worked, he would be in sales, however if he stayed in school, "you could sell something worthwhile: education." I can relate to this with my passion for helping others and education.
The power of being a good team player and creating close relationships through projects and experiences will benefit a person in the long run. Randy points out that when his students presented his projects he can tell which teams succeeded in this. "When the teams were standing close; that's when you know the world is good." Because this was for graduate school, he utilized a project curriculum instead of book learning because he figured the students had received their bachelors and read all of the textbooks already. Randy wanted his students to have fun while learning, which can be hard to do.
Feedback is a perfect way to show students how they stack up against their peers. Randy focused on people learning to work in groups as this is an essential trait in socializing, working, and learning. Randy empowers his students to be self reflective and rate their peers. This kind of feedback is hard to ignore and much can be learned in taking the time to evaluate yourself. This method will be very helpful in my teaching because although grades are posit reinforcement and comments from teachers are taken into consideration, peer and self-reflective evaluation will have much more impact.
So many lessons that Randy learned along the way are so simple, yet overlooked by so many. Randy emphasizes the role of parents, mentors, students, friends, and colleagues. I loved when Pausch brings up his parents help sponsor up to thirty students in Thailand. This is the exact kind of help that I would like to be a part. My best friend's father helps sponsor five RMI children on Ebeye, Marshall Islands get a K-12 education. This is personal to me as I am also Marshallese, and I have seen how hard it is for families in third world industrializing nations to afford school supplies, uniforms, and transportation.
"Respect authority while questioning it." Randy mentions, "know when you are in a pissing match, and get out of it as soon as possible." I could take this advice sometimes. A debate is only as good as the sources. When negative comments are thrown, respect is lost. All other information brought up is null and void to the person who is attacked without respect. Learning your boundaries will make a huge difference in communicating with authority or even as the authority. Randy also shows, "we learn from our students." He tells a story of a student simply putting the same concept into a different perspective can be motivation for an unconventional group to take interest.
Randy Pausch does not just speak of lessons that he learned to help with teaching, but all around social and life lessons. One simple piece of advice:
"Never lose your childhood wonder. Help others and care about people." He noticed that children who were raised in large families socialize better because they had to learn to get along. I can see this difference in personalities. "Loyalty is a two way-street." Enough said. This can go back to just waiting long enough for people to impress and surprise you.
One of my favorite pieces of advice that Randy brought up:
"Ignore what people say, pay attention to what they do."
Goodness, is this not true? How many times have we found ourselves thinking, "but they said they were going to change"? This reminded me of the saying, "Don't talk about it. Be about it." Actions speak louder than words. I will hold on to this piece of advice. This is what will separate those who care. "
"If its important, then you will make it happen. If it's not, then you will make excuses." -Anonymous
It is important to know the life changing moments in life. Great if you can recognize them in retrospect, but even better if you can realize them at the moment. "Leave a legacy and live on through something." Be remembered for something great. "Do the right think and don't bail-the best gold is at the bottom of a barrel of crap." As difficult as something may seem, accomplishing the task will have more satisfaction that giving up.
"Show gratitude, apologizes when you screw up, tackle the brick walls, and get your feedback loop; listen to it, cherish it, and use it." These are important guidelines to live by. "Being honest if more important than being hip." This is true because being hip is temporary while honesty is forever. Just focus on doing the right thing and other people rather than yourself.
I love that Randy instills through his words in this lecture that anything is possible. Anything can be fun and easy with a positive outlook, humor, and enthusiasm. He stresses never to give up, and illustrates through his stories that it never hurts to ask. People are empathic creatures and can relate and learn from each other. I have definitely learned from Randy Pausch.
From now on, I won't complain; I will work harder. I will also
"Find the best in everybody, and wait for people to show me their good side."
"Luck is where preparation meets opportunity. Lead life the right way and dreams will come to you."
Thank you Dr. Strange for sharing, and thank you Randy Pausch. Rest in Peace.