Wednesday, October 31, 2007

80% Grey

Randy Pausch, a professor at Carnegie Mellon University, is dying of pancreatic cancer. By now you may have seen his final speech that he gave to his students. If not, you can see the original talk at or the 10-minute version at

I don't recall if he said this as part of his speech or in an interview, but at some point he said, "The world is 10% black, 10% white, and 80% grey. What really matters is the 80%. This is what we can change." How we look at things and what we do with our lives is the 80%.

This was particularly interesting to me, as I've been wrestling with how does the Law of Attraction (as defined in the Secret and by folks such as Joe Vitale) come into play when someone has a positive outlook and truly enjoys life--then this person gets terminally ill. I've been questioning:

1. Are we dealt a hand of cards and all we can do is play them out the best we can?

2. Or do we select what cards we desire?

Option 2 is the Law of Attraction. Option 1 is making the best of what we're given.

After hearing Professor Pausch speak, I'm beginning to think that neither option is correct. Perhaps it's a third option:

3. You're dealt a hand--some cards you must keep, some you can let go, and you may select some new ones.

Cards such as your height, eye color, genetic disease or great health are frequently cards that simply are given to you. No choices. "It is what it is," as Roger Eischens used to say. The cards you can let go could include anger, impatience, judgment, or something else that you choose to change about yourself. Finally, there are the cards you attract. This is where the Law of Attraction comes into play.

I most definitely don't have it all "figured out" by am now thinking that 10 % of life just sucks. No two ways about it. I can sit here all day and say tragedy happens for a reason. Even if I believe it, it still sucks. 10 % is wonderful. Somethings are so joyous that you'd have to be a real fuddy-duddy to find the negative side. Now for the 80%--this is what we can all work with. Attitude, determination, love, and hope can choice to turn that 80% into what we'd like to see more of in our lives and in the world.

Maybe I'm wrong and we truly attract everything (option 2) or shit just happens without any impact on our parts (option 1), but I doubt it.

Your thoughts on this matter (as always) are much appreciated.

Love Much,


Today is the first day of the rest of your life!


Linda (Sama) said...

As a wise-a@# Buddhist (not me) once said, life sucks, but suffering is optional.

Everyday Yogini said...

I have to say, I believe that there are things that do just stink. But we always have a choice what we do with it. Are we going to learn and grow and make the best of it? Or will we let circumstance make us bitter? What a blessed life we lead to have the bandwidth to contemplate our reactions to life!