Randy learns the head fake—a situation in which someone believes that they are learning about one thing, but are really learning about something different—from his old-school youth football coach, Coach Graham. Randy believes that youth sports, in general, are an example of the head fake, as most parents don’t care so much whether their kid learns about the intricacies of the sport. Instead, they want their kids to learn about “teamwork, perseverance, sportsmanship, the value of hard work, [and] an ability to deal with adversity.” Similarly, Randy’s software project Alice is designed to teach kids how to create video games and make stop-motion animated movies. But, really, it teaches them the fundamentals of how to program computers without the kids even realizing it. Finally, Randy’s last lecture is, in itself, an example of a head fake—the title says it’s about how to achieve your dreams, but it’s really “about how to lead your life.” In Randy’s view, one of the best ways to learn something important is to believe you’re really learning about something else.
The Head Fake Quotes in The Last Lecture
Under the ruse of giving an academic lecture, I was trying to put myself in a bottle that would one day wash up on the beach for my children.
…even though I did not reach the National Football League, I sometimes think I got more from pursuing that dream, and not accomplishing it, than I did from many of the ones I did accomplish.
The second kind of head fake is the really important one—the one that teaches people things they don’t realize they’re learning until well into the process. If you’re a head-fake specialist, your hidden objective is to get them to learn something you want them to learn.
…if it is presented as a storytelling activity, girls become perfectly willing to learn how to write software. In fact, they love it… Everybody loves telling stories. It’s one of the truly universal things about our species. So in my mind, Caitlin wins the All-Time Best Head-Fake Award.
“It’s not about how to achieve your dreams. It’s about how to lead your life. If you lead your life the right way, the karma will take care of itself. The dreams will come to you.”