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martes, 29 de abril de 2008

Randy Pausch y la última lección

Es común en las universidades norteamericanas que alguna personalidad de relevancia del campus imparta lo que se conoce como «The last lecture» (La última lección), en la que el speaker tiene que dirigirse a la audiencia como si fuese la «última oportunidad» que tiene de hacerlo y comunicar aquellos mensajes acerca de la vida que le parecen más importantes.

Sin embargo, en el caso de Randy Pausch, un profesor de la Carnegie Mellon University, eso de «última oportunidad» no era algo imaginario sino real ya que le fue diagnosticado un cáncer de páncreas en el que los médicos le dieron pocos meses de vida.

La última lección que impartió con el título «Really achieving your childhood dreams» (Alcanzado realmente los sueños de la infancia) –y pensada para sus 3 hijos– fue seguida por más de 400 personas en directo el 18 de septiembre pasado.

El video grabado de la sesión –con más de 10 millones de visitas en youtube– dio lugar a una dura puja entre varias editoriales para hacerse con sus derechos que sobrepasó los 4 millores de euros. El libro de la clase magistral de Pausch acaba de aparecer en abril con el título La última lección, y ha sido escrito por Jeffrey Zaslow, periodista del Wall Street Journal. Pronto se ha convertido en un éxito de ventas en la lista del New York Times.

¿Qué nos dice Pausch?

Destaco sólo algunas ideas:

1. La importancia de soñar. Es fundamental porque soñar nos mantiene vivos. La vida es, sobre todo, ilusión. Una persona sin ilusión no «vive» sólo «sobrevive»; está amortizada anticipadamente y es carne de depresión. Nunca debemos perder el espíritu de soñar; incluso como dice el profesor Pausch, «si no consigues tus sueños puedes todavía conseguir mucho tratando de hacerlo».

2. Jamás se permita perder el sentido del humor. Y para aplicármelo a mí mismo dejo una frase de mi admirado Groucho: «La pareja perfecta sólo puede estar formada por una mujer ciega y un hombre sordo». Y otra del cineasta Woody Allen: «Vivir en pareja se parece a un parque de atracciones: se empieza en la noria, luego se pasa a la montaña rusa y finalmente se acaba en la casa del terror».

3. Aproveche el tiempo. Cada día que pasa ya no vuelve. «Vivir es ir muriendo», nos recuerda Heiddeger. Muchas personalidades que han pasado por situaciones extremas muestran su arrepentimiento por no haber hecho muchas cosas que dejaron para más adelante y que nunca llegaron.

4. Es imprescindible pasárselo bien. Esté donde esté y haga lo que haga –en el trabajo o en su tiempo libre– disfrute. No se deje llevar por la inercia y luche por aquello que realmente le apetece hacer. Talento y placer van de la mano.

5. Diga siempre la verdad. Me gusta la frase que en cierta ocasión escuché a Jack Welch: «Dígale a sus empleados la verdad porque de todas formas ellos saben la verdad». También el CEO de General Electric decía: «Las personas que mienten son simplemente débiles».

6. Busque lo mejor que se esconde en cada persona. Hay personas que tienen su mirada educada para descubrir lo positivo que hay en cada uno de nosotros y otros que sólo saben fijarse en los defectos. Merece la pena citar a Eisenhower: «Selecciono a mis generales por sus virtudes y no por la carencia de defectos».

7. Tenga claro lo que es relevante de lo que no es. Algunos sólo son conscientes después de un infarto, un cáncer o un accidente. A veces, como dice, C. S. Lewis, «el dolor es el megáfono que utiliza Dios para despertar a un mundo de sordos». Tener claro lo que es importante ayuda a priorizar, porque nunca hay tiempo para todo pero siempre hay tiempo para lo que uno quiere que haya tiempo.

8. No se rinda fácilmente. «La constancia –decía Honoré Balzac– es el fondo de la virtud». Detrás de cualquier historia de éxito hay mucha reciedumbre y capacidad de sacrificio. Quien crea que hay retos fáciles es un ingenuo.

9. Muestre gratitud. Es una forma de reconocimiento que genera unión y afecto, ambos aspectos altamente recomendables en entornos donde necesitamos de los demás para llegar lejos. Jean de la Bruyére afirmaba: «Solo un exceso es recomendable en el mundo: el exceso de gratitud».

10. Prepárese para las sorpresas. La vida es imprevisible. Está bien planificar pero la flexibilidad es aún más importante. Uno nunca sabe lo que se va a encontrar, por eso, dice el profesor Pausch «siempre llevo 200 dólares en la cartera».

El profesor de 47 años anda mal. El cáncer se ha extendido y los tratamientos de quimio le han producido importantes efectos secundarios. La evolución de la enfermedad la cuenta el propio Pausch en su blog personal.

El video –fantástico, al estilo Steve Jobs– dura 75 minutos pero merece la pena sacar un rato para verlo. En español con subtítulos resumido (10 minutos) en el programa de Oprah Winfrey:


                                                                                                                                                 

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