15 Things We Learned About Matthew McConaughey From His University of Houston Commencement Speech

Matthew McConaughey gave his first commencement speech on Friday. By his own account, he was nervous before speaking—a feeling he said in the speech that he chases whenever possible—but the number of lessons that he imparted while addressing the graduating class of 2015 extend well beyond merely celebrating the creative power of fear. Here are fifteen other things we learned from McConaughey’s speech: 

  1. He finds the overuse of the word “unbelievable” to be annoying. 

Some of the advice that McConaughey offered was practical; some of it was specific; some of it was likely to be of limited utility to the graduates who received it; and some of it was simply about informing them of ways to not annoy Matthew McConaughey. “‘Unbelievable’ is the stupidest word in the dictionary,” McConaughey explained, pointing out that when people say “unbelievable,” they usually mean “spectacular, phenomenal, most excellent, and outstanding.” So if you find yourself watching a football game with Matthew McConaughey, and Dez makes a mind-blowing catch, definitely describe it as “most excellent” unless you want to trigger this particular linguistic pecadillo. 

  1. He sees a difference between “joy” and “happiness.” 

Some of McConaughey’s advice was philosophical. For instance: He considers “happiness” to be an unattainable, meaningless ideal—something that people chase endlessly without even knowing what it looks like in its final form. But “joy,” to McConaughey, refers to “the feeling we have from doing what we are fashioned to do”—something he finds through the process, not through the result. 


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