“We cannot change the cards we are dealt, just how we play the hand.” – Randy Pausch

Randy Pausch is a husband, father and computer science professor at Carnegie Mellon, who has been given only months to live after being diagnosed with terminal cancer. You would think that such a story would be far from uplifting or optimistic, however, as Randy delivers his last lecture to a hall bursting with his students, we can’t help but feel overcome with inspiration for how he chooses to view life. This book is easy to read, comprised of short chapters that showcase some photos reflective of Randy’s life, and will tug at your heartstrings in a way that you never thought possible. Below are just a handful of the life-lessons, ranging from quirky to profound, that Randy highlights in his captivating story of living life to it’s fullest:

1 – Just because you’re in the driver’s seat, doesn’t mean you have to run people over.

2 – Don’t shy away from receiving criticism. Your critics are showing you that they care about your growth and achievement. It’s when you’re doing something incorrectly and people aren’t bothering to tell you anything–that’s a problem.

3 – Don’t work hard just to receive gold stars. As Randy puts it, tenacity is a virtue, but it’s not always crucial for everyone to observe how hard you work at something.

4 – Brick walls aren’t there to keep us out; they’re there to give us a chance to show how badly we want something.

5 – Not everything needs to be fixed.

6 – Develop a good filing system. Most of us can relate to Randy’s example of running around saying, “I know it was blue and I know I was eating something when I had it!”

7 – Inspiration is the ultimate tool for doing good.

8 – Luck is where preparation meets opportunity.

9 – When giving an apology, any performance lower than an A doesn’t really cut it.

10 – Give back. Go out and do for others what somebody did for you. Human connections make us better people.