I’ve read some great books lately (“Water For Elephants”: book club selection, incredible, couldn’t put it down) as well as some good books (“From This Moment On” by Shania Twain: sad, from her upbringing to her split, but still inspiring) yet I’ve chosen a relatively old (2008) title to share with you today.

I’m sure you’ve heard of “The Last Lecture”: facing a diagnosis of terminal cancer, computer science professor, husband and father Randy Pausch gave his “last lecture”, full of the final thoughts he wanted to impart onto the world. The lecture become a phenomenon (it even made Oprah!) and a best-selling book followed. Here, I steal one of my favourite sections to share with you.

The Friday Night Solution

     I got tenure a year earlier than people usually do. That seemed to impress other junior faculty members.
     “Wow, you got tenure early,” they’d say to me. “What was your secret?”
     I said, “It’s pretty simple. Call me any Friday night in my office at ten o’clock and I’ll tell you.” (Of course, this was before I had a family.)
     A lot of people want a shortcut. I find the best shortcut is the long way, which is basically two words: work hard.
     As I see it, if you work more hours than somebody else, during those hours you learn more about your craft. That can make you more efficient, more able, even happier. Hard work is like compounded interest in the bank. The rewards build faster.
     The same is true in your life outside of your job. All my adult life I’ve felt drawn to ask long-married couples how they were able to stay together. All of them said the same thing: “We worked hard at it.”

Randy lost his battle against pancreatic cancer on July 25th, 2008. Visit the website at http://www.thelastlecture.com/.

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