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Lessons from Matthew McConaughey’s 2016 University of Houston Commencement Speech

As a student-athlete, you are at a unique and exciting point in your life. You have the opportunity to pursue your passions and dreams and make a positive impact on the world.

In 2016, actor Matthew McConaughey gave a memorable commencement speech at the University of Houston. In his speech, he shared some powerful lessons that can help guide you as you embark on this new chapter in your life.

One of the first things McConaughey talked about was the importance of listening to your own voice. He encouraged the graduates to "follow your heart, listen to your gut, and most importantly, don't let anyone else's voice drown out your own."

You may have a lot of people telling you what to do and how to do it. Your coaches, teachers, and parents all have your best interests at heart, but ultimately, it's up to you to decide what path you want to take. Don't be afraid to listen to your own voice and trust your instincts.

Another lesson McConaughey emphasized was the importance of failure. He told the graduates, "Your failures are going to lead you to your successes." Failure can be difficult to accept, but it's an inevitable part of life. It's important to remember that every failure is an opportunity to learn and grow.

You will face setbacks and challenges in your sport and in the classroom. It's important to embrace these setbacks and use them as an opportunity to learn and improve. Don't be afraid to take risks and make mistakes – they can ultimately lead you to greater success.

In addition to listening to your own voice and embracing failure, McConaughey also emphasized the importance of gratitude. He encouraged the graduates to "find the things in your life that you're thankful for and let them be your driving force."

You have many things to be grateful for – your health, your education, the opportunity to pursue your passions. Take a moment to reflect on these things and let them be a source of motivation and inspiration.

Finally, McConaughey encouraged the graduates to embrace the unknown and embrace change. He told them, "You don't know what's going to happen tomorrow, but that's okay. Embrace the mystery of life. Embrace the unknown."

You may have a clear plan for your future, but it's important to remember that life can be unpredictable. Be open to new opportunities and experiences, and don't be afraid to take a few detours along the way.

Matthew McConaughey's 2016 University of Houston commencement speech offers some powerful lessons for you as a student-athlete. Remember to listen to your own voice, embrace failure, cultivate gratitude, and embrace the unknown. These lessons can help guide you as you embark on each exciting chapter of your life.

Mental Coach Neil

Neil Wattier is a Mental Performance Coach leading science-backed performance coaching for athletes at all levels of sport performance. He is also an Adjunct Professor of Psychology at Grand Canyon University in Phoenix, Arizona and an active member of the United States Air Force Reserve. He has helped individuals and teams realize their full potential while serving as a coach, advisor, and mentor to business executives, senior military leaders, young professionals, youth and adult athletes, fitness professionals, and faith communities.


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