“Life’s barely long enough to get good at one thing. So be careful what you get good at.”
Matthew McConaughey is an American Academy Award winning actor, producer and motivational speaker. He is known for his impressive and constant career reinvention and has been part of over 40 feature films, be it romantic comedies or drama. He is mostly known for his critically acclaimed performances in the movies Dazed and Confused, Dallas Buyers Club, True Detective, etc. He was also named Philanthropist of the Year in 2021 and has become a philanthropic titan by consistently raising funds for charity events such as the Texas Storm Relief which raised $7.7 million that year.
Matthew McConaughey has given several powerful motivational speeches throughout his life and they are usually focused on how gratitude will transform your life and how to focus on the journey instead of searching for things that do not bring us any good.
During one such stirring speech at the University of Houston, Matthew talked about dissecting your successes in the reciprocity of gratitude. He said:
We so often focus on failure, don’t we? We study failure, we obsess over failure, we dissect our failures. We dissect them so much that we end up intoxicated with them to the point of disillusion. Happiness is an emotional response to an outcome. If I win, I will be happy. If I don’t, I won’t. It is an ‘if’, cause and effect, quid pro quo, standard that we cannot sustain because we immediately raise it every time we attain it. Happiness demands a certain outcome. It is result reliant and if happiness is what you are after, then, you are going to be let down frequently. You are going to be unhappy much of your time. Joy though, it is a different thing, it is something else. Joy is not a choice. It is not a response to some result. It is a constant. Joy is the feeling that we have from doing what we are fashioned to do.
Life is not easy, it is not! Do not try to make it that way! Life is not fair! It never was, it isn’t now and it won’t ever be. Do not fall into the trap, the entitlement trap of feeling like you are a victim. YOU ARE NOT A VICTIM! GET OVER IT AND GET ON WITH IT! Most things are more rewarding when you break a sweat to get them. So, be brave! Have courage! When you do, you get stronger, you get more aware and you get more respectful of yourself.
Many of us are well-acquainted with the powerful and inspiring speech that Matthew gave after winning an Academy Award for his colossal performance in Dallas Buyer’s Club. During his acceptance speech, he decided to share something personal which I think is very eye-opening:
Now when I was 15 years old, I had a very important person in my life come to me and say “who’s your hero?.”
I said, “I don’t know, I gotta think about that. Give me a couple of weeks.”
I come back two weeks later, and this person comes up and says “who’s your hero?.”
I said, “I thought about it. You know who it is? It’s me in 10 years.”
So, I turned 25. Ten years later, that same person comes to me and says, “So, are you a hero?”
And I was like, “Not even close. No, no, no.”
She said, “Why?”
I said, “Because my hero is me at 35.”
You see, every day, every week, every month and every year of my life, my hero is always 10 years away. I’m never gonna be my hero. I’m not gonna attain that. I know I’m not, and that’s just fine with me because that keeps me with somebody to keep on chasing.
So, to any of us, whatever those things are, whatever it is we look up to, whatever it is we look forward to, and whoever it is we’re chasing, to that I say, “Amen.” To that I say, “Alright, alright, alright.” To that I say “just keep living.”
It’s as simple as that! Just live in the present and make each day count. Do not pay attention to the past or the future. It’s all about overcoming challenges in life, face every difficulty head-on and keep on moving forward.
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