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What brick walls are good for

I hadn’t heard about this before, but stumbled on it recently and spent an hour listening to Randy Pausch’s last lecture.

Pausch is a highly respected scholar in computer engineering/virtual reality, but he has terminal cancer and was given a few months to live. Seriously, his lecture about achieving your childhood dreams and basically how to live your life is worth listening to for anyone.

Here’s a story about the lecture from earlier this fall in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

Here’s a short Wall Street Journal video story to give you a quick snynopsis of the lecture and its point:

The full video, I caught in 10-minute snippets on YouTube, but you can read the transcript, learn more about him or watch it in entirety at the Carnegie Mellon site.

There were a few lessons in particular that struck me from his lecture, but this one was my favorite:

“Brick walls aren’t there to keep us out. Brick walls are there to give us a chance to show how badly we want something. Because the brick walls are there to stop people who don’t want it bad enough. They’re there to stop the other people.”

Ponder that the next time you come upon something that seems impossible or really, really to the point of “is it even worth the effort?” hard. The next time you have an assignment or story you just can’t nail down, plug on and press harder. Prove every person who ever said you can’t, or doubted you would, do something wrong.

One Response to “What brick walls are good for”

  1. grace Says:

    I remember reading about this when I was in Pittsburgh—so horribly sad.