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Archive for October 26th, 2007

FatboyI was on a Harley road trip in late September staying at a motel in Grants Pass, OR. You know the type. A double-decker ‘70’s vintage with highly “mobile” furniture which often makes it way outside during the evening to enjoy group refreshments while overlooking the chrome on the HOG.

I was getting dressed the next morning, drinking my coffee and thinking about the days ride with the TV running in the background. Some how I landed on ABC’s Good Morning America with Diane Sawyer. I’m not a morning TV person, because who needs to start their day with news of the world’s crisis?!

Anyway they had a guest speaker, Randy Pausch, a 46-year-old Carnegie Mellon computer science professor, talking about an inspirational talk he had recently given. I wasn’t sure if this was “news” worthy, but started watching several snippets of his Childhood Dreams, lecture. It got my attention! So much so that I wrote his name on my motel VISA slip, placed it in my leather jacket and vowed to revisit and do a blog post. Sort of a pay-it-forward for others if you will.Randy Pausch

The back story is that in September 2006, he was diagnosed with terminal cancer and told he only had months to live. Yet here he is out inspiring others with a lecture on living life to the fullest. I’m not sure about you, but if I had a “life” count-down meter running I’m fairly certain it wouldn’t be on the lecture circuit. Maybe a very long cross-country ride. Randy is a father of three and talks about his battle with pancreatic cancer and the grim reality of his diagnosis. He doesn’t want it or talk about self-pity; rather he talks about his childhood dreams.

“You know, life is a gift,” he told Diane Sawyer. “Again, it sounds trite, but if you wait long enough, other people will show you their good side. If there’s anything I’ve [learned] that is absolutely true. Sometimes it takes a lot longer than you might like. But the onus is on you to keep the hope and keep waiting.”

You can read more about the steps he has endured, but after a whirlwind of chemo treatment and surgery there was remission. But then in August 2007, he learned that the cancer had returned to his liver and spleen, which is a death sentence. At that time, the doctors gave him an estimate of having 3-6 months of healthy living left. Earlier this month (October 1st), he learned that the first round of palliative chemotherapy was working, and that he would likely be on the “more like the 6 than like the 3 in that estimate.”

You can watch his lecture where he shares the lessons learned that helped him turn his childhood dreams into reality on the Carnegie Mellon site.

His mantra “you can’t control the cards you’re dealt, just how you play the hand” is an inspiration for all of us riders. I don’t know if Randy owns a Harley, or ever wanted to ride one, but I wish only the best for him and his family.

His last words in his last lecture are simple: “This was for my kids.”

Thank you for the reality check and calibration about how we should be spending more of our time.

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