No, Randy Pausch did not die today. He’s still alive and breathing in the hearts and minds of millions of people all over the world who suddenly stopped and took time to reconsider the purpose of their lives, after watching his ‘Last Lecture’.
He will continue to live for a long time. Maybe even more so than the average human.
I am sure you have already watched his lecture online, and read the other hundreds of articles about him, but I just want to say what these other articles/critiques fail to mention. What Randy did was not anything complex; he did not prophesize something deeply philosophical, nor did he even remotely aim at radically changing values.
Instead, through his lecture and the subsequent book, Randy actually trivialized what most leaders teach. It isn’t about working hard or making sacrifices. It’s about just doing what you enjoy, and keeping your dreams and hopes alive during the journey. Randy taught the distraught youth that it is easy and possible to get what you want. You don’t have to do anything more than just want something, really bad. There is no point in making sacrifices.
What made the ‘Last Lecture’ a phenomenon wasn’t the depth of this person’s message, rather the simplicity of it. Here was a man who admits to failing at almost everything his first time around, but never gives up hope. Almost all of us associate ourselves with these kind of experiences in life. Failure is just fate’s way of making sure that it doesn’t favor someone who doesn’t deserve it.
I read his book before I watched the lecture of his video, and it makes me sad yet happy every time I recall the video. I am happy that I still have time to pursue my goals.
Rest in peace, Randy. You compressed more than a century’s worth of wonderful experiences and achievements into a life smaller than 50 years.
See you tomorrow.