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Main | "Kids' Rules, Pa-It-Forward, and Buckets: Simplicity and Goal Setting" »

Brick Walls, Adversity and Perseverance

“Brick walls aren’t there to trip us up. They’re there so we can prove how badly we want something.”

Professor Randy Pausch

The Last Lecture

A recent team functionality workshop delivered by Ten Dot began with a short YouTube video clip featuring Professor Randy Pausch of Carnegie Mellon University.  Billed as a lecture on achieving one’s childhood dreams, the video was selected to set the overall tone of the session, and to provide inspiration post-session as attendees began to face the challenges and “brick walls” associated with the operationalization of the topics explored during the session.

This notion of brick walls being opportunities to show how much we truly want what we’re after struck a chord with the Ten Dot team.  To look at obstacles as opportunities to confirm our desire for whatever it is we’re working so hard to achieve … that’s what purposeful mindset, and mindfulness, is all about. If we’re going to go to all that effort, let’s make sure we know why.  Why?  Because it’s knowing why that helps us persevere when the going gets tough.  And when we combine mindfulness with perseverance, we’ve got the makings for success no matter where our brick walls may appear.

Ever had a brick wall that sounded like the world’s biggest critic?  That one person that never seems to have a good thing to say about anything we do?  That parent/boss/colleague that’s always riding us, looking for ways we’ve messed up so they can take a couple jabs at our self-esteem?  Professor Pausch suggests embracing our critics as individuals that still care enough to invest their time, energy and wisdom into our success … the ones that haven’t given up on us. 

Most of us have experienced disappointment … we’ve worked hard, sacrificed, asked others to sacrifice on our behalf … and we still didn’t get what we wanted.  If we saw experience as something we get when we didn’t get what we wanted, would we give up any of the experiences we’ve had?  Have any of our disappointments led to other discoveries and experiences we would never have had if we hadn’t encountered the brick walls we did? 

For sure there are painful experiences, hurtful moments when it can be difficult to find purpose and joy no matter how many brick walls we climb over.  Just ask Randy Pausch.  Ask him about pancreatic cancer, and death sentences, and feeling unlucky.  Then ask him about dreams, and choosing to spend what time he had remaining making his dreams and the dreams of others come true.  

Professor Pausch’s story about brick walls, adversity, and perseverance, is one we can all learn from. For his story is not just a story about challenge … it’s a story about triumph, and the human spirit, and how we can choose to see our difficulties as experiences that lead to even bigger and better things for ourselves and the people we touch, even if we’re not always there to share in the experience.

Our Grama always told us to keep our forks, for the best was yet to come.  If you haven’t yet heard Professor Pausch’s Last Lecture, thank Grama and grab that fork … one of the best is here.

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