Always Play Like an Underdog – Matthew McConaughey

On January 7, 2016 Matthew McConaughey gave a classic motivational speech at the University of Houston. It is considered one of the best motivational speeches of all time. Read here the edited part.
Always Play Like an Underdog - Matthew McConaughey
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I’m going to talk to you about some things I’ve learned along my journey — most from experience, some I heard in passing, many I’m still practicing, but ALL of them, true.

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.

Life is not easy…

LIFE’S NOT EASY…don’t try and make it that way. It’s not fair, it never was, it isn’t now, it won’t ever be. Do not fall into the entitlement trap of feeling you are a victim, you are not. Get over it and get on with it. And yes, most things are more rewarding when you break a sweat to get them.

 “Unbelievable” is the stupidest word in the dictionary

It shouldn’t ever come out of our mouths. To say, “What an unbelievable play!” It was an unbelievable book, film, an act of courage…really? It may be spectacular, phenomenal, most excellent and outstanding… but unbelievable? NOTHING we Homosapien earthlings do is unbelievable . So we shouldn’t be surprised, we are the trickiest mammal walking the planet!! 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.

Happiness is different than Joy

“I just want to be happy.” I hear that all the time. But what IS happiness? Happiness is an emotional response to an outcome — If I win I will be happy, if I don’t I won’t. You see, happiness demands a certain outcome, it is result reliant. If happiness is what you’re after, then you are going to be let down frequently and be unhappy much of your time. Joy, though, is something else. It’s not a choice, not a response to some result, it is a constant. Joy is “the feeling we have from doing what we are fashioned to do,” no matter the outcome. See, JOY is always in process, under construction — it’s in the constant approach, alive and well —in the DOING of what we are fashioned to do… and enJOYing doing it.

Define Success for Yourself

Let’s admit it, “money” is king today, makes the world go round. Money is SUCCESS, the more we have, the more “successful” we are, right? I’d argue that our cultural values have even been financialized — humility is not in vogue anymore, it’s too passive. But, we all want to succeed right? The question we have to ask ourselves is, what success is to us, what success is to YOU. More money? OK, I got nothing against money. But maybe it’s a healthy family? A happy marriage? To help others? To be famous? Continue to ask yourself that question. Your answer may change over time and that’s fine, but do yourself this favor:

How do I define success? For me, it’s a measurement of five things — fatherhood, being a good husband, health, career, friendships. These are what’s important to me in my life. So, I try to measure these five each day, check-in with them, see whether or not I’m in the debit or the credit section with each one. So first, we have to DEFINE success for ourselves, then we have to put in the work to MAINTAIN it.

Process of elimination is the first step to our identity 

Do you know that group of friends you hang out with that really don’t bring out your best? They gossip too much, or they’re kind of shady? Or how about that food we keep eating? Tastes so good going down but makes us feel like crap the next week when we feel lethargic and keep putting on weight? Those people, those places, those things — STOP giving them your TIME and ENERGY. Don’t GO there, put them DOWN — and when you DO quit giving them your time, you inadvertently find yourself spending MORE time and in more PLACES that are more healthy for YOU, that bring YOU more joy .

A roof is a man-made thing

We have created a fictitious ceiling, a roof, to our expectations of ourselves, a limit — where we think it’s all too good to be true. BUT IT ISN’T. AND IT’S NOT OUR RIGHT TO SAY OR BELIEVE IT IS. We shouldn’t create these restrictions on ourselves. A blue ribbon, a statue, a score, a great idea, the love of our life, a euphoric bliss. Who are we to think we don’t deserve or haven’t earned these gifts when we get them? Not our right. But if we stay in the process, within ourselves, in the joy of the doing, we will never choke at the finish line. Why? Because we aren’t thinking of the finish line, we’re not looking at the clock. No, we’re in the process, the APPROACH IS THE DESTINATION… and we are NEVER finished.

We do our best when our destinations are beyond the “measurement,” when our reach continually exceeds our grasp when we have immortal finish lines. When we do this, the race is never over. The journey has no port. The adventure never ends because we are always on our way. TAKE THE LID OFF THE MAN MADE ROOFS WE PUT ABOVE OURSELVES AND ALWAYS PLAY LIKE AN UNDERDOG.

Turn the page

Do you ever get in a rut? Stuck on the merry-go-round of a bad habit? I have. You are going to make mistakes — own them, make amends, and move on. Guilt and regret kill many a man before their time. Turn the page, get off the ride. YOU are the author of the book of your life. Turn the page.

Give your obstacles credit

I try to scare myself at least once a day. I get butterflies every morning before I go to work. I was nervous before I got here to speak tonight. I think fear is a good thing. Why? Because it increases our NEED to overcome that fear. Say your obstacle is fear of rejection. You want to ask her out but you fear she may say “no.” You want to ask for that promotion but you’re scared your boss will think you’re overstepping your bounds. Well, instead of denying these fears, declare them, say them out loud, admit them, give them the credit they deserve. Don’t get all macho and act like they’re no big deal, and don’t get paralyzed by denying they exist and therefore abandoning your need to overcome them. So, you give your obstacles credit and you will one. Find the courage to overcome them or see clearly that they are not really worth prevailing over.

So how do we know when we cross the truth?

We live in an extremely noisy world with all kinds of frequencies coming at us — commitments, deadlines, fix this, do that, plans, expectations — and they all make it hard to get clarity and peace of mind. So we have to consciously put ourselves in a place to receive that clarity. Whether that’s prayer, meditation, a walkabout, being in the right company, a road trip, whatever it is for you. Schedule that time to be in a place to receive the truth.

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 we are fashioned to. Where we don’t have to look over our shoulders because we are too busy doing what we’re good at. Voluntarily keeping our own council because we WANT to.  Traveling towards immortal finish lines. We write our book. Overcome our fears. We make friends with ourselves.

That is the place I’m talking about.

Thank you, good luck, and just keep living.

About the author: IE&M Team
IE&M Team
Indian Economy & Market is an Indian media and information platform producing data-backed news and analysis on all the vital elements at the intersection of the economy, stock markets, mutual fund, insurance, commodities, currency, technology, startups and business.

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