Randy Pausch died on July 25, 2008.  You know Randy because, after being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and being given a diagnosis of 3-6 months to live, he gave his “Last Lecture” to a packed classroom at Carnegie Mellon where he was a professor.

His Last Lecture went on to be translated into 7 languages, made into a book, over 10,000,000 people watched the video, the NY Times created a contest around it, and it even garnered him an appearance on Oprah.

Randy never intended so many people to receive this last lecture.  As he says, he wrote it for only three people, his sons.

What was it we loved so much about Randy Pausch’s brave attempt to cram a lifetime of lessons for his children into the limited time he knew he had left?

It has some connection to the recent global study conducted by HSBC Insurance, which indicated that 90% of people surveyed globally want to leave behind something far more valuable than their money.  They want to leave behind their perspective on life.

Interesting note:  In the US, the number of people wanting to primarily leave behind the almighty dollar was a little higher with 26 percent of pre-retirement folks and 39 percent of retirees wanting to focus on the money they’ll leave behind.

The vast majority of people said what they want to leave behind is what Randy Pausch so brilliantly left for his children.  It’s far more valuable than money.  But, unlike money, it can be difficult to capture and pass on.  And most of us will fail miserably because we won’t be given 3-6 months to live as Randy was, and so day by day, we’ll live our lives never thinking about the end.  And, then, it will be too late.

My dad certainly would have said that he wanted his heirs to inherit his perspective on life and, yet, what did he do to ensure that would happen?  Nothing.  He didn’t leave letters, video recordings, audio recordings or anything that would remind us of what he would do, think or say in any given situation.

Sure, we have our memories, but those become twisted over time by our own perceptions (or misperceptions) as they may be.  As a result, our children and their children will never have any real idea about who he was and what’s important to him.

All of that of course is water under the bridge.  Nothing can be done about it now.  But it’s not too late for you.

If you are part of the vast majority of people who say you want to leave behind something much greater than your money, what are you doing about it?  And when are you starting?

Your Personal Family Lawyer has a simple process he or she will use with you called a Priceless Conversation that in just 30 or so minutes will capture, record and document your own Last Lecture.  And over your lifetime, each year you can have a new Priceless Conversation and create a true Legacy Library for the people you love.

SOURCE: Family Wealth Matters