Great Throughts Treasury

A database of quotes

Randy Pausch, fully Randolph Frederick "Randy" Pausch

Computer Science Professor and Human-Computer Interaction, gave upbeat lecture and wrote book called "The Last Lecture" when diagnosed with terminal pancreatic cancer

"If I could only give three words of advice, they would be, tell the truth. If I got three more words, I'd add: All the time."

"I'm dying and I'm having fun. And I'm going to keep having fun every day I have left."

"It took me a long time but I finally figured it out: when it comes to men that are romantically interested in you, it's really simple: just ignore everything they say, and only pay attention to what they do. It's that simple. It's that easy."

"Don't ball. The best of the gold’s at the bottom of barrels of crap."

"Failure is not just acceptable, it's often essential. "

"I'm sorry. It's my fault. How do I make it right?"

"It is not the things we do in life that we regret on our death bed. It is the things we do not. I assure you I've done a lot of really stupid things, and none of them bother me. All the mistakes, and all the dopey things, and all the times I was embarrassed — they don't matter. What matters is that I can kind of look back and say: Pretty much any time I got chance to do something cool I tried to grab for it — and that's where my solace comes from. "

"General Advice: Never break a promise, but re-negotiate them if need be. If you haven’t got time to do it right, you don’t have time to do it wrong. Recognize that most things are pass/fail. Feedback loops: ask in confidence."

"Go out and do for others what somebody did for you. "

"It's not how hard you hit. It's how hard you get hit...and keep moving forward."

"Half-hearted or insincere apologies are often worse than not apologizing at all because recipients find them insulting. If you've done something wrong in your dealings with another person, it's as if there's an infection in your relationship. A good apology is like an antibiotic; a bad apology is like rubbing salt I the wound. "

"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."

"It's not the things we do in life that we regret on our death bed, it is the things we do not."

"It's very important to know when you're in a pissing match. And it's very important to get out of it as quickly as possible."

"Junior faculty members used to come up to me and say. Wow, you got tenure early; what's your secret? I said, It's pretty simple, call me any Friday night in my office at 10 o'clock and I'll tell you."

"Luck is where preparation meets opportunity."

"My colleague told me: It took a long time, but I finally figured it out. When it comes to men who are romantically interested in you, it's really simple. Just ignore everything they say and only pay attention to what they do."

"Loyalty is a two way street."

"Look, I'm going to find a way to be happy, and I'd really love to be happy with you, but if I can't be happy with you, then I'll find a way to be happy without you."

"Never make a decision until you have to. He'd also warn me that even if I was in a position of strength, whether at work or in a relationship, I had to play fair. Just because you're in the driver's seat, doesn't mean you have to run people over."

"Never lose the child-like wonder. It's just too important. It's what drives us."

"No job is beneath you."

"Never give up: There are certain times that you think, OK, you have beaten me down to my knees. And now the challenge is, I am on my knees and you keep on beating me down. And the question is, are you going to keep beating me all the way to the ground or will I find a way to struggle my way back on to my feet."

"Read at least one book a month. This is self-serving, obviously. It's a proven fact that people who read buy more books than people who don't read. In truth, I wish you'd read ten books a month, or at least buy that many."

"No matter how bad things are, you can always make things worse."

"One thing that makes it possible to be an optimist is if you have a contingency plan for when all hell breaks loose."

"Remember brick walls let us show our dedication. They are there to separate us from the people who don't really want to achieve their childhood dreams."

"Respect authority while questioning it."

"People are more important than things."

"So what is today's talk about then? It's about my childhood dreams and how I've achieved them "

"Showing gratitude is one of the simplest yet most powerful things humans can do for each other."

"Tell the truth."

"The person who knows only success can be more oblivious to all the pitfalls. "

"Clutter is death; it leads to thrashing. Keep desk clear: focus on one thing at a time."

"The best gift an educator can give is to get someone to become self-reflective."

"The most difficult part of writing a book is not devising a plot which will captivate the reader. It's not developing characters the reader will have strong feelings for or against. It is not finding a setting which will take the reader to a place he or she as never been. It is not the research, whether in fiction or non-fiction. The most difficult task facing a writer is to find the voice in which to tell the story."

"The best way to teach somebody something is to have them think they're learning something else."

"The key question to keep asking is, Are you spending your time on the right things? Because time is all you have."

"The size of your audience doesn't matter. What's important is that your audience is listening."

"The person who failed often knows how to avoid future failures. The person who knows only success can be more oblivious to all the pitfalls."

"There's a lot of talk these days about giving children self-esteem. It's not something you can give; it's something they have to build. Coach Graham worked in a no-coddling zone. Self-esteem? He knew there was really only one way to teach kids how to develop it: You give them something they can't do, they work hard until they find they can do it, and you just keep repeating the process."

"The questions are always more important than the answers."

"Too many people go through life complaining about their problems. I've always believed that if you took one tenth the energy you put into complaining and applied it to solving the problem, you'd be surprised by how well things can work out."

"Time is all you have and you may find one day that you have less than you think."

"Even though I did not reach the NFL, I sometimes think I got more from pursuing that dream, and not accomplishing it, then I did from many of the ones I did accomplish. "

"Want to have a short phone call with someone? Call them at 11:55 a.m., right before lunch. They'll talk fast. You may think you are interesting, but you are not more interesting than lunch."

"Wait long enough and people will surprise and impress you. He said, when you are 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. And that really stuck with me. I think he's absolutely right on that one."

"We don't beat the Grim Reaper by living longer, we beat the Reaper by living well and living fully, for the Reaper will come for all of us. The question is what do we do between the time we are born and the time he shows up. It's too late to do all the things that you're gonna kinda get around to."

"We're not going to talk about spirituality and religion. Although I will tell you that I have experienced a deathbed conversion. I just bought a Macintosh."

"We all stand on the dart board and very few of us catch the darts. Do not think it is unfair. It is fair but you are unlucky."