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Inspirational Quotes from The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch

  • If we can’t change it, and we just have to decide how we’re going to respond to that. We cannot change the cards we are dealt, just how we play the hand.
  • You’ve got to get the fundamentals down because otherwise the fancy stuff isn’t going to work.
  • When you’re screwing up and nobody’s saying anything to you anymore, that means they gave up.
  • But remember, the brick walls are there for a reason. 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. Because the brick walls are there to stop the people who don’t want it badly enough. They’re there to stop the other people.
  • When you’re pissed off at somebody and you’re angry at them, you just haven’t given them enough time. Just give them a little more time and they’ll almost always impress you.
  • That’s one of the best things you can give somebody – the chance to show them what it feels like to make other people get excited and happy.
  • The best gift an educator can give is to get somebody to become self reflective.
  • How do you get people to help you? You can’t get there alone. People have to help you and I do believe in karma. I believe in paybacks. You get people to help you by telling the truth. Being earnest. I’ll take an earnest person over a hip person every day, because hip is short term. Earnest is long term.
  • Apologize when you screw up and focus on other people, not on yourself.
  • Get a feedback loop and listen to it. Your feedback loop can be this dorky spreadsheet thing I did, or it can just be one great man who tells you what you need to hear. The hard part is the listening to it. Anybody can get chewed out. It’s the rare person who says, oh my god, you were right. As opposed to, no wait, the real reason is… We’ve all heard that. When people give you feedback, cherish it and use it.
  • Show gratitude. When I got tenure I took all of my research team down to Disneyworld for a week. And one of the other professors at Virginia said, how can you do that? I said these people just busted their ass and got me the best job in the world for life. How could I not do that?
  • Don’t complain. Just work harder. Be good at something, it makes you valuable.
  • Work hard. I got tenure a year early as Steve mentioned. Junior faculty members used to say to me, wow, you got tenure early. What’s your secret? I said, it’s pretty simple. Call my any Friday night in my office at ten o’clock and I’ll tell you.
  • Find the best in everybody. One of the things that Jon Snoddy as I said told me, is that you might have to wait a long time, sometimes years, but people will show you their good side. Just keep waiting no matter how long it takes. No one is all evil. Everybody has a good side, just keep waiting, it will come out.
  • Be prepared. Luck is truly where preparation meets opportunity.
  • It’s not about how to achieve your dreams. It’s about how to lead your life. If you lead your life the right way, the karma will take care of itself. The dreams will come to you.
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