The Importance Of Dying – Part 3

Part 1 introduced the last lecture of 47-year-old Randy Pausch who summarized the lessons he wants to pass on from his life.

Let me give you Randy’s most important lesson from his entire life…

“Find the best in everybody. You might have to wait a long time, sometimes years, but people will show you their good side.

Just keep waiting, no matter how long it takes.”

Or as he restated it in the ABC interview…

“If you wait long enough other people will show you their good side, and if there’s anything I have learned this is absolutely true, and sometimes it takes a lot longer than you might like, but the onus is on you to keep the hope and keep the waiting.”

This might be very easy to read, acknowledge, and then dismiss.

But ponder for a moment that a man who is distilling his entire life’s experience into a single, solitary idea, comes up with that.

So let me dissect Randy’s comments just a little.

At first sight it could be simply a garden-variety positive affirmation, or as a part of a PMA (Positive Mental Attitude), that just marks Randy as one of those guys who thinks the best of everyone.

But it is not.

Notice two things.

First, Randy is giving this as something he discovered during his life.

Therefore he did NOT always think this, and changing to this made the most valuable difference in his life that he wishes to pass on to others.

In other words he isn’t a ‘positive-only’ guy!

He’s tried out not thinking this way, and it wasn’t as good for him. In fact it was so much better when he changed that he is recommending this to everyone else too. He’s a raving fan for this idea!

In my own counseling, this belief about people that Randy begins assuming, also underpins my work. It is the biggest lesson that I gained from my non-medical training, and it changed forever the approach I was given as a medical student into one that I too think works much more effectively.

Second, and just as important, Randy is giving much more than a positive attitude.

He is outlining a method for HOW to start and KEEP this attitude.

So many beliefs and positive affirmations are set up in ways that just fall apart.

Saying “People Are Good” in the mirror each morning is unlikely to hold water for many of the 6 billion people on this planet, starting with the ones who don’t have access to a mirror, or even enough water to see their reflection in.

Instead of attempting to declare definitively that people have a good side, he is giving you a way to act and respond, EVEN IF IT IS A LIE!

Truth is not the issue. In fact, trying to find what’s true and what’s not just creates distracting arguments, usually inside your own head.

Randy is saying, here is how to act AS IF it was true, and that by behaving this way you will live your life more successfully.

It is only way one to do it, but if you are having difficulty believing what he says is useful, then you won’t believe my version. So start with Randy’s version.

“If you wait long enough other people will show you their good side.”

[You can find the original 1 hour 44 minute lecture, and the short ABC interview here in The Importance Of Dying – Part 1.]

-Dr Martin Russell

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