Matthew McConaughey gave what can be described as ‘McConaughey-esque’ advice to the University of Houston class of 2015 in his commencement address on Friday, reported The Washington Free Beacon. While talking to the graduating class, the actor touched upon some important topics and students were bound to encounter as they set foot out of their life in university.
Not one to confine himself to a particular genre or a medium and always experimenting with his roles he told the graduates not to restrict themselves and play to their full potential even if it meant becoming an underdog. “Take the lid off the manmade roofs we put above ourselves and always play like an underdog.”
Suggesting students not to suffer to the curse of bland mediocrity, he said they should avoid falling into the “entitlement trap of feeling like a victim.” He said, “You’re not. Get over it and get on with it.”
He spoke about how although some students have a degree in hand, the future is ‘fuzzy’ for them, reported the Times.
“The sooner we become less impressed — with our life, our accomplishments, our career, the prospect in front of us, and more involved with these things, the sooner we get a whole lot better at doing them,” stated the actor.
Citing his personal experiences, he explained that life was not as easy as it appeared and how ‘unbelievable’ is probably the stupidest word in the dictionary. “Nothing we homosapien earthlings do is unbelievable — one thing you can depend on people being … is a person. So, we shouldn’t be surprised, we are the trickiest mammal walking the planet! (It isn’t the monkeys I’m worried about, it’s you and me),” said McConaughey.
The Dallas Buyers Club actor added, “Acknowledge acts of greatness as real, and do not be naive about mankind’s capacity for evil nor be in denial of our own shortcomings.”
Having expe rienced late resurgence in his career as an actor after pursuing more intense and dramatic roles, he requested students to define success for themselves, but also cautioned them against choosing anything that may “jeopardise your soul.”
For McConaughey, success was a measurement of five things — fatherhood, being a good husband, health, career and friendships. “So, I try to measure these five each day, check in with them, and see whether or not I’m in the debit or the credit section with each one. Am I in the red or in the black with each of them?” he said.
McConaughey, who initially made a name for himself by appearing romantic-comedy films, talked about the importance of making choices that don’t fill the students with regret later on in their lives. “Instead of creating outcomes that take from us, let’s create more outcomes that pay us back, fill us up, keep your fire lit, and turn you on, for the most amount of time in your future. These are the choices I speak of and this is the beauty of delayed gratification,” remarked the eccentric actor. “Tee yourself up. Do yourself a favour. Make the choices, the purchase today that pays you back tomorrow,” he added.
Concluding his commencement address, the actor used his personal experiences to speak about his own journey of self-discovery following the success of his movie A Time to Kill. After the release of the movie, McConaughey made a 21-day walkabout to the mountains and jungles of Peru to know more about and strip himself of all the media attention. “I believe the truth is all around us, all the time. The answer, you know, it’s always right there. But we don’t always see it, grasp it, hear it, and access it — because we’re not in the right place to.”
Published in The Express Tribune, May 23rd, 2015.