Home / Assorted / Matthew McConaughey’s Commencement Speech at Houston

Matthew McConaughey’s Commencement Speech at Houston

Matthew David McConaughey is an American Actor and producer. He have received best actor Academy award in 2013 for his work in Dallas Buyers Club. His work in other movies is also praised a lot. His performance in TV Serial True Detective is well received too.

He was invited to the commencement ceremony 2015 by the Houston University. He was very casual while giving his keynote address. Some people may find his gestures and the way of addressing the students by sitting on the table, quite “out of the way” also. However his speech was quite inspirational. It is more realistic than ideal. And, that is what student needs to learn and understand before coming to the real world after leaving the academic institution.

The commencement speech is available for everyone to view for free in the public domain of YouTube. There is an interesting article on time.com available (link below) which carries entire transcript of the speech. We are grateful to both the sources to make it available.

Public Video on YouTube

We consider commencement speeches as a good source of inspiration. And even more importantly, as it contains the advise from the successful people, the words spoken are usually found proven in real life.

Here is what we found “a good take away” from this speech.

what does your college degree mean?

By giving examples of the jobs available based on the degrees in different times (by referring his brothers), he mentioned that just a degree is no more a ticket or voucher to a job! What does it mean that? And if it doesn’t guarantee a job, how and why (if) it is important. Rather than just giving “follow your dreams” advise, he says:

It means you got an education, means you have more knowledge in a specific subject, vocation, means you may have more expertise in “what your degree” is in.

Be Less Impressed and Get More Involved

He mentions that life doesn’t move ahead on the same path and same rhythm for everyone. Based on the circumstances and opportunities, some may get the job easily in the same area where they possess expertise, but some may not. He was not trying to scare students from the real life but is exploring the realities.

The sooner we become Less Impressed — with our life, our accomplishments, our career, the prospect in front of us. As soon as we become Less Impressed — and More Involved with these things, the sooner we get a whole lot better at doing them.

He than shares some incidents of his own life and asks student that take away (from that) what it is meant for them. He was very philosophical when he said:

Yes, they may be truths to me, but don’t think that that makes them MINE… because you can’t own a truth. Think of these as signposts, approaches, paradigms, that give some science to satisfaction. They are yours to steal, to share, to liken to your own lives, and to personally apply in your OWN lives, in your own way, should you choose to.

Here are the main points he shared:

Life is not easy

So correct! The picture perfect life is available only on the canvas. The challenges in the life makes it worth exploring and extending and expanding our abilities.

Unbelievable – is most misused word

He says that he consider – Unbelievable – most misused word. Often people want to say Splendid, Spectacular, Phenomenal,… or something similar, when they say “Unbelievable”. How can you say something is Unbelievable, when you see it happening in front of you?! Be ready to access any surprise coming to you. Remember we are capable of doing great things as well as acting evil.

Happiness V/s Joy

When people are trying to be happy, often they are looking for Joy. As happiness is outcome of some stuff, where everything is not in your hand. And thus, it is not reliable. You may perform good, but others may perform better, and thus you may not won. If that victory was a way to become happy for you, then you may not achieve it. However joy is something internal, you feel it from within. If you enjoy doing some stuff then the end result become somewhat irrelevant to you. The worst result also doesn’t steal joy from you, in that case.

Define Success

In our lives, we follow some important goals. We want to become someone or achieve something. That is of course a driving factor to all of us. However, we must understand that what success mean to us is may be something different for the others. So define your goal. And decide what Success is meant to you. In Mathew’s words:

Life is not a popularity contest. Be brave, take the hill but first, answer the question, “What is my hill?”

After defining success, you have to put all your genuine efforts in, to achieve it, of course.

Process of elimination

This is quite important to understand. You may have heard the words “right place, right time” or “wrong place, wrong time”. You can be only at a place at a specific time, and hence you cannot be somewhere else. Remember, both these things are equally important to understand.

Analysing the true account of our actual abilities, is very important. In addition to know our strength, we must know our weaknesses as well. And we must know what we are, and what we are not. Stop giving your time and energy where you feel you are not the part of this crowd or you don’t like the process. It is better to invest at the places (or with the people) you care for.

Knowing who we ARE is hard. Give yourself a break. Eliminate who you are NOT first, and you’ll find yourself where you need to be.

Don’t leave crumbs

The choices we make in our lives play very important role in where it goes. Remember the famous saying of Prof. Dumbledore in Harry Potter books telling the same?

When performing any action, we need to see, whether it is going to be a regrettable crumb in future. If so, we must avoid it.

And doing good things today, will definitely serve you better in coming time, for sure. It is like return we get on smart investment.

Dissect your success

As we dissect our failures, we must dissect our success too. This may look quite different than what we think usually. Because it is our mindset that we try to find out the reasons of our failures but never care much about the reasons behind the success. In this process we sometimes forget the people, places, events which played key role in our success. That is the reason that since our young age, parents taught us to say the words of thanks to the God for what we have and what we are enjoying. We may not be successful always, and we have to be ready for the failures, that’s right. But in case of success, why should we fail to express gratitude towards the good stuff happened with us, and the good people who played a vital role in that?

Make Voluntary Obligations

We can fool anyone else, but not ourselves!

We know all the right and wrong things we did or we do (or planning to do in future)!

Our piece of mind is totally dependent upon our deeds. So we need to be true to ourselves. We are accountable for our actions and thus we need to do it consciously.

From Can to Want

We need to understand that we don’t need to do everything we can.

We define our boundaries

We often fence our boundaries so tightly. There are times when we got tense and started thinking about what can happen wrong. But, rather, if we move ahead with positive attitude, the things will start falling in right way for us.

Of course, we are not saying to blind our eyes towards the fact. If something is not happening in right way, that it is definitely not. But then, we need to find out a way to convert it into the right, right? And only positive attitude and right set of actions can help us here.

We simply need to do our best in any situation, and that is it.

Turn the page

Made a mistake? Commit to it and don’t repeat it. It is the only way to move ahead in right direction.

Give credit to obstacles as well

The obstacles in the path gives us an opportunity to explore our strength.

How to know when we cross the truth?

We need to understand who we are?

Is it what others talk about us? Is it our fame or wealth?

We need to re-initiate ourselves periodically, so we can remember what we really are. The chances are high otherwise, that we also fall in the trap to believe “what others say” about ourselves.

Mathew in this matter says:

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, access it — because we’re not in the right place to.

Full Transcript:

The entire commencement speech by Matthew McConaughey is available to read in an article at:


We found this speech quite inspirational and realistic.

Of course, it is the summary of the speech as per our vision and you may got to learn something more from it which we might have missed. Don’t forget to share your thoughts with us in any case.

You may also like to read our summarized views regarding some other commencement speeches, which we found interesting, inspirational, motivational and got a chance to write about. What you think about this commencement speech? Do share your reviews and views via comments below. And yes, do not forget to share this article with your friends over various social networks via Twitter, Facebook, Google Plus and others. And yes, you may like to subscribe to our RSS feeds and follow us on various Social networks to get latest updates for the site to land right in your mail box.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *