Sunday, July 27, 2008

Don't Take It All Too Seriously

A year or so ago, my sister-in-law turned me on to the individual above -- Randy Pausch -- and his now-famous Last Lecture.

Noting Pausch's departure here is appropriate, since he was a computer science guy who worked (briefly) for Disney and Electronic Arts, and sent many other computer scientists out into the entertainment world. I had learned the lesson that Randy Pausch taught two or three times before in my life, but it's always good to have the important lessons repeated. Because we tend to forget them when they're not ...

Randy Pausch died on Friday at age forty-seven. He wrestled pancreatic cancer for a long time by most measures; the cancer, as expected, won the last match. But in the meanwhile, Dr. Paush dispensed bits of wisdom he had picked up in his his forty-seven years, among them:

1) Enjoy your life and have a good time.

2) Don't bog yourself down with jobs and activities you hate.

3) Being successful doesn't make you manage yur time well; managing your time well makes you successful.

4) Don't do things right; do the right things.

5) Become more organized and efficient with work time to gain a better work-life balance ("Going home at 5:00 and being with the people that you love.")

6) Do the ugliest task first.

7) Do the unimportant things last ... or not at all.

8) Learn the art of saying "no."

9) Use speaker phones to counter stress.

10) Use two (maybe three) computer screens to increase efficiency.

There's more, but no point in making this post too horribly long. You've got enough to get the idea. (I've attempted to prioritize the list, with the more important items toward the top).

What Dr. Pausch showed me is, wear your time on the planet lightly; be joyous rather than dour; have a sense of humor. (When I think of the idiotic things I believed to be Really Big Deals at age twenty-eight, I want to vomit).

And don't sweat the small stuff. Because the older you get, the more you realize that 95.4% of it's small stuff.

(Find Dr. Pausch's L.A. Times/Chicago Trib obituary here).


Floyd Norman said...

Wise words.

I still know friends today who are frantically trying to achieve things that are ultimately worthless.

Anonymous said...

Great post - thanks.

Don't sweat the petty stuff, and don't pet the sweaty stuff... :0)

Anonymous said...

Great post. Though not the same list, this reminded me of another list put together by one of the founding fathers:

"TEMPERANCE. Eat not to dullness; drink not to elevation."
"SILENCE. Speak not but what may benefit others or yourself; avoid trifling conversation."
"ORDER. Let all your things have their places; let each part of your business have its time."
"RESOLUTION. Resolve to perform what you ought; perform without fail what you resolve."
"FRUGALITY. Make no expense but to do good to others or yourself; i.e., waste nothing."
"INDUSTRY. Lose no time; be always employ'd in something useful; cut off all unnecessary actions."
"SINCERITY. Use no hurtful deceit; think innocently and justly, and, if you speak, speak accordingly."
"JUSTICE. Wrong none by doing injuries, or omitting the benefits that are your duty."
"MODERATION. Avoid extremes; forbear resenting injuries so much as you think they deserve."
"CLEANLINESS. Tolerate no uncleanliness in body, cloaths, or habitation."
"TRANQUILLITY. Be not disturbed at trifles, or at accidents common or unavoidable."
"CHASTITY. Rarely use venery but for health or offspring, never to dullness, weakness, or the injury of your own or another's peace or reputation."
"HUMILITY. Imitate Jesus and Socrates."

This list , of course, was by Benjamin Franklin.


Steve Hulett said...

Old Ben was fat and gouty at the end, and estranged from his out-of-wedlock son -- who sided with the Brits during the revolution.

Even the makers of good lists don't always follow them.

OTOH, Ben lived to a ripe old age, so he did SOMETHING rigt.

Anonymous said...

I'd like to see the source of your comment about Ben siding with the brits. I'm very surprised about this. His political career was by no means spotless it seems, but I can't find much on what you mentioned.

And the list above he wrote when he was 20.

"Yes, we must, indeed, all hang together, or most assuredly we shall all hang separately." BF

Kevin Koch said...

I think Steve meant that the son (William) sided with the Brits during the revolution.

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