Friday, April 19, 2013

The Last Lecture ...by Randy Pausch

This is a very good read. The last lecture by a dying professor of computer science. Snippets from his books... paraphrased of course... He passed on in 2008.

About children living in an age where they are unrelentingly praised by parents who think that their kids are geniuses... I think it's true. We give way too much credit to our children these days... and too much sympathy too. As a result, we produce kids with far less resilience.

On your critics... People who critic you constructively are often the ones who really care. It takes effort to do that. Constructive criticisms make us think. Thinking is required to build. People who say only things we want to hear are not giving us self-esteem cos self esteem needs to be built. It can't be given. The process of building that self esteem builds self esteem.

Head fakes... very often we don't realize we are learning until well into the process. I totally agree... The process of learning provides all kinds of opportunities for us to improve.

Not everything needs to be fixed... Some of us are so preoccupied with looking good outwardly that we forget that it's okay as long as the thing still does what it's supposed to do. We live in a throwaway society these days... wasteful. We replace things at whims and fancy. We want things to look good all the time. But we forget that everything has a life span. You can't fix everything in the end.

Judging ourselves... I think many of us are unable to judge ourselves objectively. Cos if we can, most of us would have a sense of our own flaws and will be realistic about how others view us. As a teacher, I think many of us fail to teach our students to be self-reflective, to have that real ability to assess ourselves.

Being earnest or hip... Earnest is long term. Hip is just trying to impress on the surface. And I think the latter sums up most of us, regardless of age. Bigger house, nicer car, more expensive clothes... all of us try to be hip. He says hip people love parodies. And I agree with him that there is no such thing as a timeless parody. Sooner of later, we have to accept reality. I see that a lot at my work place now... being hip.

On experience as something you get when you didn't get what you wanted or it took a lot of effort to get. Very true....

On being elitist... after working for so many years, I realize that there are many elitists among us. Many of us think of certain tasks and jobs as beneath us, even though we came from very humble beginnings.  We become pompous self appreciating elitists and think of ourselves as above others.

On becoming who we should be... Many parents set their kids' paths.  So instead of helping them to develop a personal set of tools to help them along the way, to be what the kids want to be, many set their kids to be what they aspire...

Lots of snippets of wisdom... Seeing life with clarity... We begin to when we begin to live as if we are dying. Each of us should do that....

And I should start reading more too....

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