[Outlook]Alive until the endMeteorologist Edward Larenz has died. He formulated the “butterfly effect,” a theory that the flap of a butterfly’s wings could set off a tornado in a distant country. The butterfly effect can occur not only in natural phenomena but also in people’s hearts. This can be called the emotional butterfly effect.
A book called “The Last Lecture” was released a week ago and is coming into the spotlight in the United States. The book is about the last lecture that Professor Randy Pausch gave at Carnegie Mellon University. The professor, who is in his late 40s, was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in September last year. His lecture has already been viewed on the Internet and has moved tens of millions of people around the world. This is a case of an emotional butterfly effect.
Pausch’s last lecture delivers important, valuable messages. First, never give up. If you hit a wall, don’t forget that the wall is a test to see how desperately you want to overcome it. Second, enjoy life. The more you enjoy your life, the more control you have over it. Third, be honest. It will help you to accomplish your dream in your life. Fourth, the most precious gold lies at the bottom of a trash bin. Search for it until you find it. Fifth, if you ruined something, make an apology. An apology is not an end but a new beginning. Sixth, be generous to people around you. Your life will become richer the more you share with others. Seventh, express your gratitude. The more you are grateful, the greater your life becomes. Eighth, be prepared. Good luck comes your way when preparation meets opportunity. Ninth, there is no one who is absolute, pure evil. Try to discover something good in everyone. Tenth, the most difficult thing to do is to listen to others. When other people listen to you and give feedback, be thankful for the response and pay careful attention. Your life’s direction and solutions to problems may lie therein.
If we can’t change the cards that we’re holding in our hands, it is better to think about the best possible things we can get from the cards, rather than to be disappointed and frustrated. Pausch was not frustrated over the fact that the end of his life was nearing. After all, the last day of life is nearing us all. We just don’t know when.
If you visit Pausch’s Web site (www.cs.cmu.edu/~pausch/), you can look into his daily life. He bikes every day for an hour and plays with his three kids. Sometimes he goes on a trip with his wife, just the two of them. He ran across a field throwing and catching a ball with Hines Ward, an American football player with the Pittsburgh Steelers and a Super Bowl MVP. He wore a shirt with the number 86, the same as Ward’s. Pausch doesn’t allow pancreatic cancer to swallow his life as a whole and ruin it.
We all hit a wall every now and then. But there is only one reason why a wall stands in the way. It tests how desperately we want to overcome it. The same is true with death. Everybody dies. The reason why we die is to make us realize how precious our lives are.
Pausch doesn’t have grudges. He doesn’t blame anything for his fate. He never thinks that it is unfair that he got cancer. Just as he accepted his life as his own, he accepts his looming death as his own. He no longer feels sorry for what he wanted to have but can’t. He has long abandoned regrets or frustration. He is well aware of how precious and valuable what he has now is. He has been struggling to do his best and to give love until the last day of his life.
Nobody knows when the last day of his life will come. It could be today or tomorrow, but Randy Pausch is alive by any means. He is dying in the healthiest possible way.
*The writer is an editorial writer of the JoongAng Ilbo.
by Chung Jin-hong
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