In the video “The last Lecture,” Dr. Randy Pausch sets out to describe how to achieve your childhood dreams. Ultimately, his presentation pivots to a more existential concept. As Pausch explains, “It’s about how to live your life. Because if you lead your life the right way, the karma will take care of itself—the dreams will come to you. If you live properly, the dreams will come to you” (Pausch, 2008).
Reflecting on this week’s Mastery textbook reading, there are three key concepts that underscore for me, with great power and clarity, Pausch’s recommendation on how to live my life and pursue my dream of being a successful writer. These three concepts are as follows:
The Creative Task
When selecting the creative task upon which to focus our attention Robert Greene suggests “you must have patience and faith that what you are doing will yield something important. You could have the most brilliant mind, teeming with knowledge and ideas, but if you choose the wrong subject or problem to attack, you can run out of energy and interest. In such a case all of your intellectual brilliance will lead to nothing.” He continues to explain “the task you choose to work on must have an obsessive element. Like the Life’s Task, it must connect to something deep within you” (Greene, 2012, p. 179).
According to Greene “the mind must be able to feel doubt and uncertainty for as long as possible. As it remains in this state and probes deeply into the mysteries of the universe, ideas will come that are more dimensional and real than if we had jumped to conclusion and formed judgements early on.” Greene explains that all Masters possess this Negative Capability and this quality “allows them to entertain a broader range of ideas and experiment with them, which in turn makes their work richer and more inventive” (Greene, 2012, p. 182).
The Authentic Voice
Greene advices creatives and artists in the apprentice phase to take time and invest effort in learning structure, developing technique, and absorbing every possible style of their art form. He explains that “the greatest impediment to creativity is your impatience, the almost inevitable desire to hurry up the process, express something and make a splash. What happens in such a case is that you do not master the basics; you have no real vocabulary at your disposal. What you mistake for being creative and distinctive is more likely an imitation of other people’s style, or personal rantings that do not really express anything. Audiences however, are hard to fool” (Greene, 2012, P. 2009).
This week’s video and reading assignments provided powerful inspiration and actionable steps that I intend to leverage fully to guide and propel forward my Mastery Journey. Dr. Randy Pausch’s message is profoundly lucid, heartfelt, and inspirational. Robert Greene’s recommendations are extraordinarily insightful, effective, and actionable. Together, their sage advice provides purpose and structure for an apprentice’s life and mastery journey.
Greene, R. (2012). Mastery. New York, NY: Penguin.
Randy Pausch – The Last Lecture reprised. (2008, May 26). Retrieved August 12, 2019, from https://youtu.be/BODHsU3hDo4
Unsplash. (n.d.). George Pagan III (@gpthree): Unsplash Photo Community. Retrieved from
Source for Week 2 Discussion Board illustration.