Twice. His energy, strength and spirit have brought me out of my self-pitying slump twice. I first found out about the Carnegie Mellon computer science professor's 'Last Lecture' on YouTube when a friend (Thanks, Chih!) posted the link on FB commemorating his life. I had no idea who he was then but was curious. So I clicked.
Blown away. I was absolutely blown away, not particularly with the content of his lecture (To be honest, I think all inspirational speeches give the same or similar message.) but simply with him as a human being.
Having witnessed how cancer can torture one's soul, I believe it takes a real strong character for someone in his conditions to speak the way he did in front of an audience. There was not a single shred of doubt, hate or even pessimism. Pure positive spirit and genuine warmth were what I felt throughout the entire lecture. (LOL It did kind of made me regret not going to CMU for undergrad.) How he had achieved that was seriously beyond my imagination. Everyone has the ability to stay strong and sound optimistic under turmoil but the underlying despair would still somehow unwittingly sieve through. Not with Randy. I could not feel anything negative whatsoever, at least not during those 75 minutes. He was absolutely brilliant!
That was 2 years ago. Randy had gradually migrated to the back of my head. Earlier this year, I was going through some personal insecurities. I admit it. It's the dreaded quarter-life crisis. I don't deny that most people around my age are a bunch of spoil brats, myself included, who think that we deserve everything in the world and that the world should run the way we want it to. When the unfortunate happens, as we like to call it, we whine, complain, say the world is not fair, and feel sorry for ourselves. To be fair, it's hard for us not to think that way. We were, or at least I was, brought up having everything that we wanted in the world and having the world run the way we wanted it to.
Anyway, Randy re-emerged back to my consciousness. I decided to buy his book. I guess a good beating is what I would call the experience of reading his book was. It slapped me out of my insecurities and kicked my self-pitying butt out of the slump. Life once again was back to charging full speed forward. Until...
A brick wall. I am currently hitting a HUGE brick wall, as Randy would call it. A wall that I am not confident I can break through. A wall that, even right now, seems like a never-ending inevitablity. Remember a couple months ago when I said I was craving to feel challenged. Yesterday I would tell you I want to take that ALL back. I don't want to feel challenged anymore. It's too much stress, too many bruises to my ego. I wholeheartedly LOATHE feeling incompetent.
Randy Pausch reappeared. Boy, am I glad I watched his lecture again today. "The brick walls are not there to keep us out; the brick walls are there to give us a chance to show how badly we want something," was the central theme of his lecture. I asked myself, "How badly do I want this?" Bad. Very very BAD. "Ok. Put your retarded ego aside and go break that wall, JY!!!", I finally got the courage to say to myself.
I highly encourage everyone to either watch his lecture or read his book. (<-- Click on the links to access them.) I actually don't recommend doing both because they are practically the same thing. The book just gives a little more details about his life. I know some people, espeically men, don't believe in these gushy, self-help type of talks. But his lecture is still entertaining and fun to watch even without the emotional aspect. He is just an incredible lecturer! I wish I could have had the chance to attend one in person. RIP, Randy Pausch.