Oprah had Randy Pausch on her show to give his last lecture. I get choked up every time I watch it. To see somebody with only a short amount of time left with their family deliver a message to help other people achieve their dreams is heart-wrenching... and it's equally inspiring. His lessons are powerful and universal. I showed the lecture to my staff at our annual kickoff event, grateful for all we've accomplished and motivated to break new barriers in 2017. Here are some of my favorite messages from Randy Pausch's last lecture.
"When somebody is going to ride you for two hours, they're doing that because they care to make you better."
As Pausch says, if you're not doing as well as you can and no one points it out, it's because they've given up on you. If you find your boss demanding more out of you at work--don't take the victim approach. See it from the perspective that they're doing it because they care. They see potential in you, and they're hard on you because they want to unlock it. See criticism as a sign that someone wants you to be the best you can be.
"Brick walls are there not to keep us out, but to show us how much we want it."
It took Pausch 15 years of hard work, and trial and error to achieve his dream of working with Disney as an 'Imagineer.' He saved all of his rejection letters. He never quit. Falling down is inevitable. It's a matter of how you respond when you get knocked down that speaks to your character. It's about grit. It's about work ethic. How bad do you want to get promoted? How much are you willing to sacrifice to be great? The best things in life are worth fighting for. Your goals deserve your best effort. The brick walls are big and scary, but our drive to be our best has to be bigger.
"Are you a Tigger or an Eeyore?"
Tiggers smile; Eeyores frown. Tiggers are curious, positive and excited for new challenges; Eeyores sit in the corner, sulk, and focus on the negative. Be a Tigger. Positivity pays off when things get hard. It's what gets you through the rainy days. A lot of people in Pausch's position might have become an object of self-pity, but he didn't. He chose to live all his days as a Tigger. If he did, we can too.
"You can choose to take your finite time and energy and spend it complaining, or you can spend it playing the game hard."
Pausch talked about the part of Jackie Robinson's contract that said he couldn't complain when fans spit at him. People didn't want to see an African-American player on the field, let alone be a star. But he played his heart out every game for 10 years and created a legacy as one of the all-time greats. If Jackie Robinson didn't complain, we shouldn't either. It doesn't help anybody. What helps is playing hard and helping each other. It's raising your hand when you need help, and saying "I'm here to help you" when someone else needs it.