But for Professor Randy Pausch of Carnegie-Mellon University, the lecture is not hypothetical, it's reality.
At the time of this video, Pausch was battling pancreatic cancer, and expected to only live for another few weeks. Yet his words on how to achieve your childhood dreams sound as though they're coming from someone who is on top of the world.
"If I don't seem as depressed or morose as I should be," said Pausch, "Sorry to disappoint you."
The video that follows is filled with some of Pausch's most poignant reminders of how to live out your dreams to the fullest.
It often takes a crisis -- an illness or an accident -- to remind you of what really matters in life, but I think simply watching this video is as good a reminder as any.
Many VitalVotes readers have, understandably, expressed frustration that Professor Pausch was apparently not open to alternative treatments. This is clearly coming from a place of compassion and desire to help a fellow person in need, and ultimately it is up to each of us to make our own health decisions, but I do share those concerns.
It is tragic that a brilliant teacher like this is so removed from the truth that he has accepted -- hook, line, and sinker -- the conventional model and is going to most likely generate hundreds of thousands of dollars of profit to the drug cartel before he dies. This is tragic because there are a number of options that could have likely eliminated his cancer and allowed him to achieve a normal lifespan.
However, we are all going to die at some point, and my purpose for sharing this video was certainly not to judge the Professor for his decisions, but to applaud him for his inspiring message, which he was able to deliver even during the toughest time in his life.
That is the reason I decided to post this video.
His message comes through loud and clear: “If you lead your life the right way,” Pausch says, “the dreams will come to you.”
I urge each of you to take this message and run with it, toward whatever dream you are currently pursuing. Tenacity is your ally, and if you keep moving forward in a positive and moral way, you will achieve your goals. Remember, this also applies to your health, and it is never too late to take control of your health for the better.
Even beyond achieving your goals though, this video is a reminder to take time out to simply cherish the good things in your life. To really get right down to it, think about what wisdom you would share with the world if it was your last chance… then make an effort to live by that wisdom every day.