Thursday, 3 November 2011

Who inspires me?

Yesterday, I was asked which learning professionals inspire me. Oddly enough I didn't hesitate to answer the question, but many people might be surprised by the person I named. I aspire to be as good as the likes of Jane Hart, Nigel Paine, Colin Steed to name a few, but the person who really inspires me to keep going and keep trying new things is a man who is sadly no longer with us.

Randy Pausch was a Professor at Carnegie Mellon. He was a professor of Computer Science, Human Computer Interaction and Design. He was also an award-winning teacher and researcher and worked with Adobe, Google and with Walt Disney Imagineering and pioneered the ALICE Project for schoolchildren around the world.

When Randy discovered he was dying of Cancer he gave a farewell "Last Lecture" to Carnegie Mellon. I already knew of him and of his work when I saw the lecture but I had no idea that he had always wanted to be a Disney Imagineer. The amazing thing was he got his wish and he told the story about becoming an Imagineer and others from his life in his "Last Lecture".

On my desk is a small quote:

"Around here, we don't look backwards for very long. We keep moving forward, opening up new doors, and doing new things, because we are curious ... and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths."

This quote comes from Mr Walt Disney and embodies my views on how I approach learning and keeping myself motivated to try new things. I won't settle for what I know and what is comfortable, I want to be trying new things to see if I can make the learning I deliver better, more effective, more interactive, more engaging, more inclusive ....

When I saw the "Last Lecture" I was really inspired by what Randy had to say about dreams, brick walls, enabling the dreams of others and learning lessons from life. So I thought maybe if some people had missed this when it first came out they might want to be inspired by the person who has most inspired me to be the L&D professional that I am today.


(Warning: This video runs for 1 hour 16 minutes so you need to set the time aside.)

There is also a book by the same name if you would prefer to read the "Last Lecture".

I recommend it.

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