Matthew McConaughey Has Some Alright Advice for Graduates

Source: AP

"Short and sweet or long and salty? A sugar donut or some oatmeal?" While you might imagine these are the words of a man figuring out what to eat for breakfast, they were in fact the words Matthew McConaughey opened his commencement speech with this past Friday.

McConaughey, the Oscar-winning actor known for films such as Dallas Buyers Club, Dazed and Confused and A Time to Kill, spoke to the graduates of the University of Houston, a school in his home state of Texas. (He himself is from Uvalde, in the southern part of the state, and currently lives in Austin.) The speech, in traditional McConaughey style, was long, wandering and at times quite strange. 

But the master of the "alright, alright, alright" also managed to dispense a few kernels of wisdom hidden among the pile of stray thoughts. It just takes a bit of digging to find them.

"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 said, before launching into 13 lessons for his audience. These ranged from going "from can to want" and a directive to "dissect your success" to the more abstract "a roof is a man-made thing."

Perhaps his best advice came in the 12th lesson, "Give your obstacles credit." He spoke of the value of fear, saying he attempts to fear something at least daily. "Be brave, have courage," he said in summary. "When you do, you get stronger, more aware and more respectful — of yourself, and that which you fear."

There were other strange bits, like a rant against the word "unbelievable." It was an unconventional commencement speech, but what did anyone expect? McConaughey isn't a historian or author. He's an odd duck actor with a specific, easygoing sensibility. At a time in a young person's life when they're most stressed out about the future, his prescription for a double dose of chill pill is exactly the right medicine.

"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 we are fashioned to," he said in closing. "Thank you, good luck and just keep livin'."

Read the full text of the speech over at Time.

How likely are you to make Mic your go-to news source?

Kevin O'Keeffe

Kevin is the arts editor at Mic, writing about inclusion and representation in pop culture. He is based in New York and can be reached at kevin@mic.com.

MORE FROM

Jordan Peele says don't get your hopes up for a 'Get Out' sequel

The director teases his next film, which he claims will be a "very different movie than 'Get Out.'"

Amy Poehler and Seth Meyers revive "Really!?!" to take down Shakespeare in the Park protesters

The duo brought plenty of jokes to call out the pro-Trump protests.

'Star Wars: The Last Jedi' director responds to creative control issues following 'Han Solo' shakeup

Rian Johnson assures fans that he had plenty of creative control over 'The Last Jedi.'

What's new on Netflix? Here are the best movie and TV additions coming in July

From 'Titanic' to 'The Incredible Jessica James,' these are the best movies and TV shows being added to Netflix in July.

Drake releases "Signs," inspired by Louis Vuitton's Paris Fashion Week collection

Drake's "Signs" matches the breezy Caribbean flair of Louis Vuitton's "Archipelago" collection.

Alison Brie is ready to be team captain

Brie's new Netflix show 'GLOW' is "waging the war against boring, meek female characters."

Jordan Peele says don't get your hopes up for a 'Get Out' sequel

The director teases his next film, which he claims will be a "very different movie than 'Get Out.'"

Amy Poehler and Seth Meyers revive "Really!?!" to take down Shakespeare in the Park protesters

The duo brought plenty of jokes to call out the pro-Trump protests.

'Star Wars: The Last Jedi' director responds to creative control issues following 'Han Solo' shakeup

Rian Johnson assures fans that he had plenty of creative control over 'The Last Jedi.'

What's new on Netflix? Here are the best movie and TV additions coming in July

From 'Titanic' to 'The Incredible Jessica James,' these are the best movies and TV shows being added to Netflix in July.

Drake releases "Signs," inspired by Louis Vuitton's Paris Fashion Week collection

Drake's "Signs" matches the breezy Caribbean flair of Louis Vuitton's "Archipelago" collection.

Alison Brie is ready to be team captain

Brie's new Netflix show 'GLOW' is "waging the war against boring, meek female characters."