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Thursday, December 30, 2010

Are You An Eeyore?

This week, I replayed Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams again. This might be the fourth time I've watched it now, but the message is one that requires constant reinforcement--at least for me.

For those of you who are unaware of this video, Dr. Randy Pausch, a professor at Carnegie Mellon University, gave a "Last Lecture." It became a YouTube sensation, and before he died, Dr. Pausch was interviewed and did a book. (He was diagnosed with terminal cancer and gave this lecture not that long after getting the news. He doesn't talk much about his cancer, so it's not a downer.)

There are a couple of pieces of his lecture that completely resonate for me. The first is that it's up to each one of us whether we're going to be a Tigger or an Eeyore. That we can't change the hand we're dealt in life, we can only change how we play it.

I admit it, I tend to be more on the Eeyore side of things. It's not that I want to be, but I head that direction before I realize it. Every time I play this video, it reminds me to try harder.

The other message I really love is the idea that we shouldn't give up just because things get tough. "The brick walls are there for a reason. They're there to stop the people who don't want it badly enough. They're there to stop the other people." I might not have the quote exactly right, but this is close.

Too many writers give up too easily or are unwilling to do the work it takes to become strong writers and storytellers (It takes both skills). I think this reminder of the brick walls being there for a reason. If someone doesn't want it badly enough to stick with it in the face of adversity, then they honestly don't want it badly enough. Hanging in when it's easier to give up? That's worth a lot.

This whole lecture is worth watching. Some parts will undoubtedly resonate more with some people that with others, but I can't imagine someone getting nothing out of the talk. I hope you agree.