Matthew McConaughey Shares 13 Life Truths With University of Houston Graduates

Find out what the A-lister had to tell graduates

By Bruna Nessif May 16, 2015 2:58 AMTags
Matthew McConaughey, Houston Football Jersey, TwitterTwitter/@UHCougarFB

Add Matthew McConaughey to the growing list of celebrity commencement speakers.

The Academy award winner attended the University of Houston graduation tonight to deliver his $135,000 speech to this year's grads, before being presented with the jersey number of his late father Jim, who played football for the University of Houston Cougars.

While sitting on a stool with a head-piece on, McConaughey gave a lengthy but thought-provoking dialogue on life after college.

"Out of respect for you and efforts in getting your degree, I thought long and hard about what I could share with you tonight. Did I wanna stand up here on a podium and read you your rights? Did I wanna come up here and just share some funny stories? I thought about what you would want, I thought about what you might need. I also thought about what I wanna say and what I need to say, and hopefully we're both gonna be happy on both accounts. As the saying goes, 'Take what you like, leave the rest,'" he began.

"What does your college degree mean? It means you got an education. It means you have more knowledge in a specific subject or vocation. It means you may have more expertise in what your degree is in. But what's it worth? In the job market, out there, today," McConaughey said.

"We know the market for college graduates now is more competitive than ever. Some of you already have a job lined up, you have a path where today's job is gonna become tomorrow's career. But for most of you, the future is probably still a little fuzzy. And you don't have that job that directly reflects the degree that you just got. Many of you don't even have a job at all...You don't have the answers and it's pretty damn scary. And I say that's OK because that is how it is. This is the reality that many of you are facing, this is the world that we live in."

Luckily, McConaughey shared 13 life truths with the crowd that he felt would help create a better place to live in. They are the following:

1. Life is not easy. He tells the students, "Do not fall into the trap. The entitlement trap of feeling like you're a victim. You are not. Get over it and get on with it."

2. "Unbelievable" is the stupidest word in the dictionary.

3. Happiness is different than joy. The actor tells students, "Happiness is an emotional response to an outcome…it is result-reliant. I say if happiness is what you're after, you're gonna be let down frequently…Joy is not a choice. It's not a response to some result. It's a constant. Joy is the feeling we have for doing what we're fashioned to do."

4. Define success for yourself. "Continue to ask yourself that question and your answer may change over time and that's fine, do yourself this favor, whatever your answer is don't choose anything that will jeopardize your soul."

5. Process of elimination is the first step to our identity. "Where you are not is just as important as where you are," he tells the graduates.

6. Don't leave crumbs—and the beauty of delayed gratification.

7. Dissect your successes (and the reciprocity of gratitude).

8. Make voluntary obligations.

9. From can to want.

10. A roof is a man-made thing.

11. Turn the page.

12. Give your obstacles credit.

13. How do we know when we cross the truth?

He concludes, "So while we're here, let's make it a place where we break a sweat, where we believe, where we enjoy the process of succeeding in the places and ways that we are fashioned to, where we don't have to look over our shoulder because we're too busy doing what we're good at, voluntarily keeping our own counsel because we want to, traveling toward immortal finish lines, we write our own book, overcoming our own fears, we make friends with ourselves. And that is the place that I'm talking about."