Amy Rees Anderson

The Brick Walls Are There For A Reason and other great words of advice

“The brick walls are there for a reason. They’re not there to keep us out. The brick walls are there to give us a chance to show how badly we want something.”  ~ Randy Pausch

If you don’t know who Randy Pausch is, let me tell you a little about him. Randy was a professor of computer science at Carnegie Mellon University and he started the building virtual worlds course at CMU. In 2006, he learned he had pancreatic cancer.  He was in his mid 40’s.  In August of 2007 he was told that his cancer was terminal and informed he had 3-6 months to live.  Just a month later, on September 18, 2007, Randy got up and gave a lecture at Carnegie Mellon titled: “The Last Lecture: Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams.”  I had the opportunity to watch this talk that Randy gave and I have to tell you that it was incredibly touching.  Here was a man who had just found out he only a short time to live, yet the tone of his talk was upbeat and funny and incredibly sincere and touching. He made me laugh and he made me tear up as I watched his talk.  There is something so real about the words of a person who knows they only have a short time to live, and their perspective on life is so powerful to listen to because there is no pretense there of any kind.  It is as genuine as it comes. Randy died on July 25, 2008 at the age of 47. Over 17 million people have watched his talk on You Tube.

Let me share some of the great quotes that came from his talk and you will see why I was so touched by this man’s words:

“We cannot change the cards we are dealt, just how we play the hand.”

“No matter how bad things are, you can always make things worse.”

“Experience is what you get when you didn’t get what you wanted. And experience is often the most valuable thing you have to offer.”

“A lot of people want a shortcut. I find the best shortcut is the long way, which is basically two words: work hard.”

“The key question to keep asking is, Are you spending your time on the right things? Because time is all you have. ”

“Time is all you have and you may find one day that you have less than you think.”

“Complaining does not work as a strategy. We all have finite time and energy. Any time we spend whining is unlikely to help us achieve our goals. And it won’t make us happier.”

“Too many people go through life complaining about their problems. I’ve always believed that if you took one tenth the energy you put into complaining and applied it to solving the problem, you’d be surprised by how well things can work out.”

“It’s not about how to achieve your dreams, it’s about how to lead your life, … If you lead your life the right way, the karma will take care of itself, the dreams will come to you.”

“If I only had three words of advice, they would be, Tell the Truth. If got three more words, I’d add, all the time.”

“When it comes to men who are romantically interested in you, it’s really simple. Just ignore everything they say and only pay attention to what they do.”

“Look, I’m going to find a way to be happy, and I’d really love to be happy with you, but if I can’t be happy with you, then I’ll find a way to be happy without you.”

“Showing gratitude is one of the simplest yet most powerful things humans can do for each other.”

“People are more important than things.”

If any of you want to here the entire talk you can find it below (the full talk is just over an hour).  What a great man and what great words of advice to all of us. Have an amazing day everyone!

~Amy

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