Monday, August 11, 2008

The Pausch Principle vs "The Client"

The sad news came a couple of weeks ago that Dr. Randy Pausch passed away. For those of you not familiar with Pausch, he was a professor in Pennsylvania that gained fame through YouTube for his lecture series entitled, “The Last Lecture.”

I watched his lecture via ABC News and was astounded that this middle-aged man had found the meaning of life and was implementing simple ideas to his everyday life. One of his quotes or as I like to call them, “Pausch Principles” was: TELL THE TRUTH. When asked to elaborate, he simply smiled and said, ALL THE TIME. That phrase stuck with me.

You know, when each of us wake each day and try to love this life we’re given, even in the midst of chaos and confusion, sometimes our best intentions and joi di vive for the simple pleasures can be lost all too easily. It is through that chaos and confusion when we learn if our belief system works. Randy Pausch’s system WORKS. So does anyone that is able to find comfort, not become distracted or lost in pursuing our passion and dreams. Because, it is oh so easy to become complacent and careless with our lives in this area.

For example, last week, I agreed to work for a client by writing for her firm. Against my better judgment, I agreed to work for her. I kept pooh-poohing my inner voice and continued my contracting for her. I finished one assignment and she phoned me after I emailed it to her and proceeded to scream at me because the article didn’t have “pizzazz”. Hmmmm…alright, I apologized for my article, which was perfectly usable and written to the best of my ability. I emailed a second article. More yelling and screaming ensued because the article lacked, “you know…” Needless to say, I was confused, upset and angry with myself for allowing a stranger to interrupt my life in this way.

And then I thought of Randy Pausch. Tell the truth. All the time. One of the many reasons I began to freelance was because I wanted to be in a position of control when it came to my career. In one fell swoop, this client reduced me into an anxious, confused mess. I should have trusted my inner voice when I heard it calling to me in the beginning! But, I didn’t and thus I spent several days where my pursuit of my goals, dreams and passion were forgotten and put on hold. Shame on me. So, I told the truth, and I will do so all the time.

I contacted the client and told her that I was resigning as we had different goals. I told the truth, but nicely. I braced myself for the reply and was told I was a rotten writer. Ouch. She was trying to go for the jugular and succeeded by making disparaging remarks about a writer’s talent. I remembered Pausch’s comment after he said to tell the truth.People don’t want to hear the truth.” And, he was painfully correct. I didn’t want to hear the truth that perhaps I felt like I needed this client when I really didn’t. That perhaps I felt like I was losing control over my own destiny. Oh, you thought I was going to remark about the client not wanting to hear the truth? She didn’t. But, to learn from this opportunity that was given to me, I must face the truth myself as well.

My joy was interrupted. My pursuit of dreams was interrupted. My passion was interrupted. Shame on that client. But most of all, shame on me. It’s not always easy chasing your bliss; it takes a lot of attention, focus and hard work. But if I can look back on my life and know that I lived according to the Pausch Principle, I will be a very rich woman.

“The Last Lecture” will continue on. Cheers Dr. Pausch!

More Musings Later-

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Bravo. That's what it took for you. That's what it took for you to get the lesson. AND, that's all it meant . the lesson, nothing more.

Believe in yourself. I believe in you!