This entry is for my friend, Debbie.  For over 30 years I have loved her because, like Randy, with every fiber of her being she is every bit the optimist, every bit the fighter, and every bit the loving human being.  Now engaged in the battle of her life, Debbie can use our thoughts and prayers.

Randy Pausch, the 48 year old professor from Carnegie Mellon University, became an overnight sensation when his “Last Lecture” was posted on  Carnegie Mellon has a tradition to give outgoing professors an opportunity to address what they want to talk about in a last lecture to any on campus who care to attend.  Pausch, who was retiring to give all his remaining time, attention and energy to his wife Jae and their three children (6,3 and 1 ½), spoke about his life and some of the lessons he learned in  a bit more than four and a half decades.

After Randy’s “Last Lecture” many interviewers did stories on Randy and his family.  Most notable was that done by Diane Sawyer.  It delved more into the man, his past, his family, and his dreams.  Throughout the lecture and the interviews (which I have watched several times) there were priceless nuggets from Randy and from those whom he respected.  I heard and saved these for myself with the idea that I would return to them periodically, to remind me … and to “check-in” on how I’m doing.

This morning I came back to them.  They are too good to keep to myself and so now … I share them with you.

On which path to choose

“It’s better to fail spectacularly than to go down in mediocrity”

On taking risks

“You can always tell the pioneers by the arrows in their backs”

On Love

“I knew I had to wait until I found that one person whose happiness was more important to me than my own.”

On Child rearing

“When things really get tough … put on your own oxygen mask first.”

On one’s outlook on life

“You must decide where you stand … are you a Tigger or an Eyore?”

A lesson for girls everywhere about men

“When it comes to men that are romantically interested in you … just ignore everything they say and watch how they behave and what they do.”

On playing it safe

“Sometimes the only safe thing is to take a chance.”

On who to seek help from

“I’ll take an earnest person over a hip person any day of the week.”

 On lecturing

“Don’t tell people how to live their lives … just tell them stories.  They’ll figure out how it applies to them.”

 On living

“Time is all you have … and one day you may have less time than you think.”

If you appreciate these “Randy Pausch nuggets,” then you will certainly appreciate the Last Lecture and the Diane Sawyer interview/story.  The context and the way Randy tells ihis own story enrich the meaning and the impact. 

Here are links to both:

Last Lecture:

Diane Sawyer Interview:

Part 1:

Part 2:

Part 3:

Part 4:

Part 5:

It makes me feel good to share this.  Thanks for reading.  —  Michael

Mike Stockwell writes this blog for his clients, friends and frankly, for his own entertainment.  Mike is the Founder of The Pacific Group – Business Advisory Services and works with owners and executives of small and mid-size businesses in California and Hawaii, helping them to take their business to the next level.  Find out more about Mike and his practice at: and contact him at