‘Brick walls let you show your dedication’

I thought I had shown this video to Suw. The link is probably in her inbox, but she hadn’t seen it. And I hadn’t watched it the whole way through. But when I saw the story that Carnegie Mellon Professor Randy Pausch had died from cancer, we sat down and watched it together. What a loss in so many ways, but his ‘Last Lecture’ is such a gift from a talented and dedicated teacher, husband and father. It’s an hour and 16 minutes long, but it’s worth every minute.

I took two things away from the video. One, I’m even more dedicated to enjoy every minute that I have with friends, family and with Suw. Condolences to Randy’s wife, children, friends and colleagues.

Two, Randy said several times that brick walls give you the opportunity to show how much you want something. Sometimes in my work as a journalist, I feel frustrated as I push against brick walls. The simple equation for calculating work is:

Work = force x distance

Sometimes, when you’re pushing against the brick walls, the equation looks like this:

Frustration = force x resistance

And sometimes it seems that frustration reaches an infinite level because the resistance increases in direct proportion to the amount of force applied. But throughout Randy’s talk, he kept coming back to the ‘head fake’, the Jedi mind to help you achieve your goals. For example, his team has worked on a programme called Alice that will ‘trick’ students into learning computer programming. They will learn programming through telling a story. I am hoping to download it myself, and Suw is planning on showing it to our niece. It sounds like a truly great professional legacy that he is leaving.

Thanks Randy for reminding me to focus on my dreams and dedication and not the obstacles. I’m taking stock of my dreams and thinking new ‘head fakes’ for the dreams that I am working on now. Bis vivit qui bene vivit

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