“It’s Not How Long You Live, Rather How Well You Live” – Professor Randy Pausch

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The quote above was made by the late professor Randy Pausch during his “Last Lecture” at Carnegie Mellon University after having been diagnosed with terminal cancer. Sadly, some people reading this will not live to see 2010. It’s just a fact of life. Could be you – could be me. In the Buddhist tradition, I contemplate my own death at least once a week. Probably won’t hurt you to consider this once a year or so…

Contemplating your own demise is a powerful way of clarifying what it important to you – what is meant by “how well you live” in the quote above. It may seem like a downer at first, but it can be the catalyst that frees you to live True and Good and Right.

To live a meaningful life rather than just a long, aimless, and inconsequential one.

As most of you know, I’m convinced that you come back after death. So without the fear of death, what guides me? Quite simply – Karma. I try to live a wholly conscious life, a life where I consider how my actions affect others balanced with how they affect my own inner peace. If, upon my death, I have any regrets on how I treated myself or others, I know that I’ll come back and have to “pay” for those selfish or inappropriate actions in my next life. Not because of some divine retribution, but simply because of my own feelings of guilt.

Not everyone believes this obviously, but we all know what is good for us – good deep down in our core. That Goodness that is inherent in us all – the balance of Selfishness & Selflessness – is what each of us can use to guide our lives from this moment forward.

A new year is in front of us – a time when many contemplate their lives and resolve to make positive changes. It is a time to stop making excuses and start living again. The past is gone. The future is uncertain. You could die before you finish this sentence. All that matters, all that really matters, is right now – this exact moment – and what you are going to do with it.

Think on these things and your life will open up, your soul will soar and you will find yourself appreciating the simple little things that you have long forgotten – and long taken for granted.

Peace and Happy New Year.

Wayne

December 31, 2008

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4 thoughts on ““It’s Not How Long You Live, Rather How Well You Live” – Professor Randy Pausch

  1. I don’t think it’s ever late to wish good health and peace of mind, happiness and all the other good stuff… even though I am late with my new year’s wishes. I’ve been thinking a lot about you and your little journey lately, and now (after reading a bit from your journal) I feel better knowing that you are ok.
    I had the worst end of the year of my life. Normally, I prefer solitude, but somehow finding myself completely alone on December 31 shoved me straight into massive anxiety and the last hours of 2008 literally felt like they came at me with a meat cleaver. I felt so pathetically lonely with no one to hug and kiss and smother with wishes… I wish I could laugh about it now, but I still get chills when I remember how I felt a few days ago. Last night I had a dream I got shot. I could actually feel the stinging pain in my sleep. I survived, though. So I will “read a bit too much into it” and translate it as “2009 will be much better, baby”.
    Please write.
    Love,
    Scully

    • Scully,

      2009 IS going to be much better, baby! Here’s sending you a virtual (but I mean it) hug and kiss and a smothering of wishes for a happy and healthy New Year!

      Mulder

  2. I’m convinced that life is what it seems. There is no magic. No unexplainable afterlife. No gods. Nothing but the solid, physical world we see and that the arrogant human search for something that would justify our feelings of superiority and importance is just another example of how evolution went wrong in our species. Nature will correct the error, as it has for millions of species that went before us. Death is the absence of life. I don’t know how that can be terrifying.

    “So without the fear of death, what guides me?” Maybe my version of Karma. What led me to this website was a Google search for your Randy Pausch quote. I couldn’t remember where I’d heard it and wanted to properly attribute it. All that will remain of us, after death, will be what we’ve left behind with our friends, families, and those who we have served, helped, or hurt.

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