Saturday, July 26, 2008

Musings on "The Last Lecture" guy's death

Mark Goulston is one of my most respected colleagues. His columns and other writings are full of uncommon sense. But he emailed me his response to the death of Randy Pausch (the "Last Lecture" guy) and I disagreed with much of it.

Here is his email with my responses embedded in blue.

Touched By An Angel - 12 Heavenly Lessons

Randy Pausch, the Carnegie Mellon professor who inspired millions with "The Last Lecture," died today at age 47.

I didn't know him but his death deeply affected me. And having done house calls to dying people for most of my 30 years as a psychiatrist, his passing caused me to pause and reflect on the collective wisdom that he and they have taught me.

1. "No dying man wishes he'd spent more time at the office."

Not true. Some of the most self-actualized people I know have forgone balance in favor of working as much as possible, even on their deathbed, because they believe (rightly in my view) that the meaning of their lives is defined primarily not by family as is conventional wisdom, but by the contribution they've made to society.

2. While you're out trying to win the respect and admiration of the outside world who usually won't give it to you, don't make those who really do care about you feel like their love and respect isn't worth anything.

See #1 above.

3. Don't let your emotional shyness cause you to wait until it's too late to say: "I'm sorry," "Thank you," "I love you" and "I'll miss you."

Often, people don't make deathbed reconciliations because they believe it would be disingenuous to do so and/or would actually make their lives worse. Some people are better kept out of your life, even if they're family members.

4. Wealth is what you take from the world; worth is what you give back a.k.a. In the end, it's not what you have that matters, it's what you leave behind.

I completely agree. See #1.

5. Smart is about knowing what will make you money; Wisdom is about knowing what's important.

I completely agree. See #1.

6. Love means ALWAYS having to say (and show) you're sorry.

Not true. See #3.

1 comment:

Charles said...

"But he he emailed me..."


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