The most motivational speech I have ever heard
“We’ve all got two wolves in us: a good one and a bad one, and they both wanna eat. The best I can tell is we have to feed that good one a little better than the bad one. Happiness is an emotional response to an outcome. if I win I will be happy if I don’t I won’t. It’s an if-then, cause-and-effect, quid pro quo standard that we cannot sustain because we immediately raise it every time we attain it.
You see, happiness demands a certain outcome. It is result-reliant. So, if happiness is what you’re after you’re gonna be let down frequently and you’re gonna be unhappy much of your time. Joy though, joy is a different thing. It’s not a choice, it’s not a response to some result. It’s a constant. Joy is the feeling that we have from doing what we are fashioned to do, no matter the outcome.
Now personally for me, I started enjoying my work and literally being happier when I stopped trying to make the daily labor a means to a certain end. For example, for me as an actor: ” I need this film to be a box office success. I need my performance to be acknowledged. I need the respect of my peers” Now, all those are reasonable aspirations, but the truth is as soon as the work, the daily making of the movie, the doing of the deed became the reward in itself, for me, I got more box office, accolades and respect than I’d ever had before.
You see, joy is always in process. It’s under construction, it is in constant approach. It’s alive and well in doing what we were fashioned to do and enjoy. The easiest way to dissect success is through gratitude. Giving thanks for that which we do have, for what is working. Appreciating the simple things we sometimes take for granted we give thanks for these things and that gratitude reciprocates, creating more to be thankful for. It’s really simple and it works.
I’m not saying be in denial of your failures. No, we can learn from them too, but only if we look at them constructively, as a means to reveal what we are good at, what we can get better at. What we do succeed at. Our life’s a verb and we try our best, but we don’t always do our best.
Since we are the architects of our own lives let’s study the habits, the practices, the routines, that we have that lead to and feed our success, our joy, our honest pain our laughter and our earned tears. Let’s dissect that and give thanks for those things and when we do that we get better at and we have more to dissect.
It’s a get rich quick on the internet scheme, riches in 15 minutes of fame world that we live in and we see it every day. But, we all wanna succeed, right? So, the question we have to ask ourselves is what success is to us? what success is to you? Is it more money? That’s fine, I’ve got nothing against money.
Maybe it’s a healthy family, maybe it’s a happy marriage, maybe it’s to help others, to be spiritually sound. to leave the world a little bit better place than you found it. Continue to ask yourself that question. Now, your answer may change over time and that’s fine, but do yourself this favor: whatever your answer is don’t choose anything that will jeopardize your soul. Prioritize who you are, who you want to be and don’t spend time with anything that antagonizes your character. Don’t drink the Kool-Aid, man. It tastes sweet, but you will get cavities tomorrow. Life is not a popularity contest. Be brave, take the hill but first answer that question, what’s my hill?
Well, for me it’s a measurement of five things. We have fatherhood, we’ve got being a good husband, we’ve got my health (mind, body, and spirit), we’ve got career and we’ve got friendship. These are what are important to me in my life right now. Because I want to keep all five of them in healthy shape and I know that if I don’t take care of them, if I don’t keep up maintenance on them, one of them is gonna get weak, man. It’s going dip too deep into the debit section, it’s gonna go bankrupt, get sick and even die.
So first we have to define success for ourselves and then we have to put in the work to maintain it. Take that daily tally. Tend to our garden and keep the things that are important to us in good shape. Defining ourselves by what we are not is the first step that leads us to really knowing who we are. You know that group of friends that you hang out with that really might not bring out the best in you. You know, they gossip too much, or they’re kinda shady, they’re really not gonna be there for you in a pinch. Or, what about that bar that we keep going to that we always seem to have the worst hangover from or that computer screen that keeps giving us an excuse not to get out of the house and engage with the world and get some real human interaction. Or the food that we keep eating that tastes so good going down, makes us feel like crap the next week and we feel lethargic and we keep putting on weight.
Well, those people those places, those things, stop giving them your time and energy. Just don’t go there. Put them down. And when you do this. When you do put them down, when you quit going there, you quit giving them your time, you inadvertently find yourself spending more time and in more places that are healthy for you. That brings you more joy. Why? because you just eliminated the whose the whats the wheres and the whens that were keeping you from your identity.
Too many options, I promise you too many options will make a tyrant of us all. So get rid of the excess the wasted time. Decrease your options. if you do this you will have accidentally, almost innocently put in front of you what is important to you, by process of elimination.
Knowing who we are is hard. It’s hard. So give yourself a break. Eliminate who you are NOT, first and you’re gonna find yourself where you need to be. Make voluntary obligations. I’m talking about the ones that we make with ourselves, with our God and with our own Consciousness. I’m talking about the-you-versus-you obligations. We have to have them. Now, again, these are not societal laws and expectations that we acknowledge and endow for anyone other than ourselves. These are faith-based obligations that we make on our own. These are not the lowered interest rates for a good driving record. You will not be fined or put in jail if you do not gratify these obligations I speak of. No one else governs these but you. They are your secrets with yourself, your own private counsel, personal protocols.
And while nobody throws you a party when you abide by them, no one’s going to arrest you when you break them either, accept yourself, unless some cop comes to your door at 4:30 in the morning for disturbing the peace because you were playing bongos in your birthday suit…yeah, that was me.
An honest man’s pillow is his peace of mind and when you lay down on that pillow at night, no matter who’s in your bed, we all sleep alone. These are your personal Jiminy Crickets and there are not enough cops in the entire world to police them. It’s on you. We do our best when our destinations are beyond the measurement, when our reach continuously exceeds our grasp and when we have immortal finish lines, and when we do this, the race is never over, the journey has no port. The adventure never ends, because we are always on the way. So, do this, have them, have someone else tap you on the shoulder and say “hey, you scored.” Let them run up and tap you on the shoulder and say “man, you won.” Let them say “you can go home now.” Let them say “I love you too.” let them say “thank you.” Take the lid off the man-made roofs that we put above ourselves and always play like an underdog.
Don’t leave crumbs. Find the beauty of delayed gratification so what are crumbs? The crumbs I’m talking about are the choices that we make that make us have to look over our shoulder, you didn’t pay that guy back the money that you owed him and tonight you just saw him three rows behind you-shit
You slept around on your spouse and you just found out that tomorrow she and the lady you’re having an affair with are going to the same PTA meeting-shit, again.
You drank too much last night and you’re too hungover to drive your son to practice at 8 a.m Saturday morning baseball practice. These are the crumbs in the form of regret guilt and remorse.
You leave crumbs today they will cause you more stress tomorrow and they disallow you from creating a customized future, in which you do not have to look over your shoulder.
So let’s flip the script, instead of creating outcomes that take from us, let’s create more outcomes that pay us back. fill us up, keep your fire lit, turn you on, for the most amount of time in your future.
These are the choices I’m talking about and this is the beauty of delayed gratification. Tee yourself up. Do yourself a favor, make the choices, the purchases today that pay you back tomorrow…. residuals.
In my business we’ve got mailbox money I do my job well today and the movie keeps rerunning on TV, 5 years from now I’m getting checks in the mailbox. That’s a heck of a deal. So whether it’s prepping the coffee maker the night before, so all you have to do is press the button in the morning or getting ready for the job interview early so you don’t have to cram the night before, or choosing not to hook up with that married woman because you know you’re gonna feel horrible tomorrow, and her your husband carries gun. Get some ROI, (return on investment). Your investment…YOU! customize your future. Don’t leave those crumbs.
Dissect your successes. In the reciprocity of gratitude, we so often focus on failure, don’t we? We study failure, we’re obsessed with failure, we dissect failure. We dissect them so much we wind up intoxicated with them to the point of disillusion. When do we write in our diary? usually, when we are depressed. What do we gossip about? other people’s flaws and limitations, We can dissect ourselves into self-loathing if we’re not careful.
I find that most of the time our obsession with what is wrong just ends up breeding more wrong, more failure. The easiest way to dissect failure is through gratitude. Giving thanks for that which we do have, for what is working and appreciating the simple things we sometimes take for granted.
We give thanks for these things and that gratitude reciprocates, creating more to be thankful for. I’m not saying be in denial of your failure. No, we can learn from them, but only as a means to reveal what we are good at, what we can get better at, what we do succeed at.
Now, personally, I’ve read a whole lot of my bad reviews, (I’ve had quite a few), written by the more talented critics because they are the ones that give constructive bad reviews. They reveal to me what did translate in my work, what was seen or what wasn’t. Now, I don’t obsess on the unfavorable aspect of their review, but I do seek what I can learn from it because their displeasure actually uncovers and makes more apparent what I do well. What I am successful at and then I dissect that.
If you can, want it, Check this out: In 1995 I got my first big paycheck as an actor I think it’s a hundred fifty Grand and I had a sweet little Adobe Gas House on the edge of the Saguaro National Park while I was shooting. The house came with a maid, my first maid. it was awesome. So I had a friend over on a Friday night and we’re having a good time and I’m telling her about how happy I am with my set up. The house, the maid, especially the maid. She cleans the place up after I go to work, she even irons my jeans. My friend, she smiles at me happy that I’m excited over this she says “well that’s great Matthew if you like the jeans pressed.” I got caught with my jaw hanging open.
I stuttered a moment, you know that dumbass look that you get when you’ve just been told the truth and you can think about it and let me tell you, I hate that line down the front of my jeans. I hate that line and it was then for the first time that I wanted it just because I could get it. Nah, that’s not good enough reason to have something. Be discerning, because you want it, not just because you can have it. I never had my jeans best again.
A roof is a man-made thing. But I think most of us were there and we will all remember where we were on January 3rd, 1993. NFL playoffs at 28 degrees. The Houston Oilers were playing the Buffalo Bills. the Oilers were up 23-3 at half-time. 35-3 early in the third. Frank Reich and the Bills come back to win 41 to 38 in overtime for one of the greatest comebacks in NFL history. Yeah, the Bills won, but they didn’t really beat the Oilers. The Oilers lost that game, they beat themselves. Why? Why did they beat themselves? Was it because during halftime they put a ceiling, a roof, a limit on their belief in themselves? AKA prevent defense. Or maybe they started thinking about their next opponent in the playoffs at halftime, I mean, they were up and they came out and played on their heels, lost the mental edge for the entire second half and voila, they lost.
In a mere 2 quarters defensive coordinator Jim Eddie, went from being called the defensive coordinator of the year and the man first in line to be a head coach next year to a man without a job in the NFL.
Have you ever choked? I have. Ever had a Brain Freeze on the exam that you were totally prepared for? or maybe you had that feeling of oh my God, life just cannot get any better than this moment and you ask yourself, do I deserve this? What happens when we get that feeling? We tense up and we have this sort of out of body experience where we are literally seeing ourselves in the third person. Then we realize that the moment just got bigger than us. Have you ever felt that way?
I have, and it’s because we have created a fictitious ceiling, a roof, a limit to our expectations to where we think it’s all too good to be true, but it’s not, 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, the love of our life, a euphoric bliss. Who are we to think that we don’t deserve, or haven’t earned these gifts when we get them? It’s not our right.
But if we stay in 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. we’re not watching ourselves on the Jumbotron performing The very act that we’re in the middle of. No, we are in process and the approach is the destination and we are never finished.
Bo Jackson, what did he do? He used to run over the goal line, through the end zone, and up the tunnel. The greatest Snipers and Marksman in the world, they don’t aim at the target, they aim at the other side of the target. We do our best when our destinations are beyond the measurement, when our reach continuously exceeds our grasp and when we have Immortal finish lines. Now when we do this the race never ends, because we are always on the way. Take the lid off the man-made roofs that we put above ourselves and always play like the underdog.
Turn the page. The late great University of Texas football coach Darrell Royal. He won the national championships in 69. He was a friend of mine and a good friend of many people. A lot of people looked up to this man. One of the people who looked up to him was a musician named Larry. At this time in his life, Larry was in the prime of his country music career. He had number one hits and his life was rolling. He had picked up a bad habit of snorting the white stuff, and somewhere along the line and at one particular party, after a bathroom break Larry went confidently up to his mentor Darrell and he started telling him a story. Coach Royal listened, as he always had and when Larry finished his story and was about to walk away, coach Royal put a gentle hand on Larry’s shoulder and discretely said: “Hey, Larry, You’ve got something on your nose there, bud.”
Larry immediately hurried to the bathroom near where he saw some of the white powder that he hadn’t cleaned off his nose. He was ashamed, he was embarrassed, as much because he felt so disrespectful to coach Royal and as much because he had obviously got too comfortable with the drug to even hide it, as well as he should have.
The next day Larry went to the coach’s house. He rang the doorbell and he said “coach I need to talk to you”. Darrel said “sure, C’mon in.” Larry confessed and Purged his sins to the coach that day. Larry told him how embarrassed he was and how he had lost his way in the midst of all this fame and fortune. Towards the end of an hour Larry, who was in tears asked coach “what do you think I should do?” Coach, being a man of few words just looked at him and calmly said “Larry, I have never had any trouble turning a page in the book of my life. Larry got sober that day he’s been sober for the last 40 years.
Do you ever get in a rut? Do you get in a funk? step on the merry-go-round of a bad habit? I have. But, we’re gonna make mistakes. You gotta own them. Then you gotta make amends. And then you gotta move on. Guilt and regret kill many a man before their time. So turn the page, get off the ride. You are the author of the book of your life. Turn that page.
Give your obstacles credit. Do you remember those “No fear” t-shirts that people were wearing about ten years ago? Does anyone remember those? I saw them everywhere. I don’t get them, and I never did. Hell, 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 came here to speak tonight. I think fear is a good thing. Why? because it increases our need to overcome that fear. So say your obstacle is fear of rejection. You wanna ask someone out, but you fear that he or she may say “no.” You don’t ask your boss for that promotion because you’re scared he’s going to think you’re overstepping your bounds.
Well, instead of denying those fears, declare them, admit it, say the fear out loud, give them the credit that they deserve. don’t get all Macho I said no big deal. Don’t get paralyzed by denying that they exist, and therefore abandoning your need to overcome them. I would even subscribe to the belief that we are all destined to have to do the thing that we fear the most anyway, at some point. So give your obstacles credit and you will either:
- Find the courage to overcome them or 2. See more clearly that they’re not really worth prevailing over. So be brave and have the courage and when you do, you get stronger, you get more aware, you get respectful of yourself and that which you fear.
So how do we know when we cross the truth? I’ve always taken these 21-day trips by myself to far off places where I usually don’t know the language and nobody knows my name. They’re adventures, number one but they’re also a cleanse for me, they’re a purge. The 21-day fast from attention from all the things I have in my well-appointed life. They’re a checkout, so I can check in with me. See how I’m doing, be forced to be on my own and my only company. To have a look in my mirror and we all know what can happen when we do that, sometimes we do not like what we see.
Well, in 1996, right after I got famous from the film I did called “A Time to Kill,” I headed out on one of these 21-day walkabouts and this time to the jungles in the mountains of Peru. The sudden fame that I had just gotten was somewhat unbalancing. My face was everywhere, everyone wanted a piece of me. People I’ve never met were swearing that they loved me. Everywhere I went there I was on a Billboard, magazine cover, it was just weird, overall. I was asking myself, what’s the reality of all of this and what’s the bullshit? Did I deserve all this. These were all questions I was asking myself. Who was I? was another.
Now, there’s always an initiation period with these trips. An amount of time it takes for the place to initiate the traveler. The time it takes to disconnect from the world that we just left and become completely present in the one we are traveling in.
For me, that initiation period usually lasts about 13 days. 13 hellish days until I’m out of my own way. After that, the whole trip is really fun and smooth sailing. Well, it was the night of the 12th day of my 21-day trip. I’m settling into camp. I’d already hiked 80 miles at this point and I had a three-day hike ahead of me to Macho Pichu and I was full on sick of myself.
Wrestling with the loss of my anonymity. I was guilt ridden for sins of my past. I had a lot of regrets. I was lonely. Disgusted with my company…mine. And I was doing a pretty good job of mentally beating the shit out of myself. With me grappling with these daemons on this night I couldn’t sleep. All these badges and banners, expectations and anxieties that I was carrying with me, I needed to free myself from them.
Who was I? Not only on this trip but in this life? So I stripped down to nothing. I took everything off that gave me pride and confidence, all the window dressings, the packaging around the product, I discarded them all. I got rid of my lucky and faithful American cap, I stripped off all of my talismans from adventures past. I was naked, literally and figuratively and I got sick, soaked in sweat, I threw up.
A few hours later, I awoke on this 13th morning to an arising sun, surprisingly fresh and energized, I dressed, made some tea and I went for a hike. Not to Machu Pichu, but rather to nowhere in particular. My gut was still peaked from last night’s purge, but I curiously felt pretty good. I felt alive. I felt clean. I felt free and light.
Along a muddy path on this walk, I turned a corner and there in the middle of the road was this mirage of the most magnificent pink, blue and red colors that I’ve ever seen. It was electric, glowing and vibrant, just hovering off the surface of the jungle floor as if it was plugged into some neon power plant. I stopped, I stared and there was no way around it. The jungle floor in front of me was actually thousands of butterflies there in my path. It was spectacular. So I stayed awhile.
Somewhere in my captivation, I heard this little voice inside my head say these words “all want is what I can see and all I can see is what’s in front of me.” Now at that point, for the first time on this trip, I had stopped anticipating what was around the corner. I stopped thinking about what was coming up next. What was up ahead. Time had slowed down and I was no longer in a rush to get anywhere and my anxieties were greatly eased.
A few hours later I returned to camp packing for my continuing journey and I had a bounce in my step. You see I forgave myself that morning. I let go of the guilt. The weight on my shoulders was lifted. My penance was paid and I got back in good graces with my God and I shook hands with myself, my best friend. The one that we’re all stuck with anyway…ourselves.
From that morning on the adventure was awesome. I was present, I was out of my own way, I was not anticipating next, I was embracing only what was in front of my eyes, and giving everything the justice that it deserved.
I crossed a truth that morning. Did I find it? I think it found me. I put myself in a place to be found and receive the truth. So how do we know when we cross the truth? Well, I think the truth is all around us all the time. It’s right there, but we don’t always grasp it or hear it. Access it. It usually comes when we are not in the right place to do so.
So what do we do? First, we have to put ourselves in the place to receive the truth. Let’s admit it, we live in an extremely noisy world. We’ve got commitments, we’ve got deadlines, and they all make it hard to get clarity and peace of mind.
So we have to constantly put ourselves in places to receive that clarity. That may be prayer, meditation, a walkabout, being in the right company, a road trip. Whatever it is for you. Schedule that time. If we do that then the second part comes, which is to personalize it. Ask yourself how it works for you? How it applies to you personally? Why you need it in your life, specifically. Once you do that, then comes the third part. Have the patience to internalize it. and get it from our intellectual head thinking about it and into our bones, in our soul and our instinct. Now, we cannot rush this part. It does take time.
So if we get that far, we have received it, we’ve personalized it and we have internalized it. If we make it that far then comes the biggy. We have to have the courage to act on it. Take it into our daily lives and practice it. To make it an active part of who we are and live it.
If we can do that, then we have what I believe is heaven, right here on earth. And that is the place where what we want is just what we need. That’s the ticket, isn’t it? Think about it? I know that’s where I wanna live.
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 in ways that we were fashioned to. Where we don’t have to look over our shoulder 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 own book, overcoming our fears. We made friends with ourselves and that is the place that I’m talking about. ” -Mathew McConaughey
Well, When I heard this all I had to say was “Alright, alright, alright” I have to share this!