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Success Chasers

Graduation Speech by Matthew McConaghey, University of Huston, May 2, 2018.

Link to the entire speech on YouTube:

Before I share with you some of what I do knows,

I want to talk with you about what I don't know.

I have two older brothers.

One was in high school in the early 1970's.

This was a time when a high school GED got you a job, and a college degree was exemplary.

My other brother, Pat, was in high school in the early 80's.

By this time the GED wasn't enough to guarantee employment, you needed a college degree.

If you got one, you had a pretty good chance of getting the kind of job that you wanted after you graduated.

Me, I graduated high school in 1988; got my college degree in 1993.

That college degree in '93 did not mean as much.

It was not a ticket, it was not a voucher, it was not a free pass or go to anything.

So, I ask the question, What does your college mean?

  • It means you got an education.

  • It means you have more knowledge in a specific subject or vocation.

  • It means you may have more expertise in what your degree is in.

But what is it worth in the job market; out there; today?

We know the market for college graduates is more competitive now than ever.

Some of you already have a job lined up.

You have a path where today's job is going to become tomorrow's career.

But for most of you the future's probably still pretty fuzzy. You don't have that job that directly refects the degree you just got. Many of you don't even have a job at all.

Think about it. You have just completed your scholastic education with curriculum in life. The one you started when you were five years old, in kindergarten. Up until now and your future may not be any more clear than it was five years ago. You don't have the answers and it is probably pretty damn scary.

I say that's okay, because that is how it is.

This is the reality that many of you are facing.

This is the world that we live in.

While I am not here to discourage you or in any way belittle your accomplishments; of which I would like to applaud that one more time. You graduated!

I am not here to be a downer on that! But I am here to talk brass tacks.

I want to skip the flattery and the "Atta boys", because I do know this:

The sooner that we become less impressed with our life; with our accomplishments; with our career; with whatever that prospect is in front of us, the sooner we become less impressed and more involved with that and these things, the sooner we get a whole lot better at doing them.

I now want to talk to you about some things that I have learned in my journey.

Most form experience; some of them I heard in passing; many of them I am still practicing; but all of them I do believe are true.

They may be truths to me but don't think that makes them mine; because you cannot own a truth.

Please think of these as signposts, approaches, paradigms, that gives some science to satisfaction.

These truths are yours to steal, yours to share, yours to liken to your own lives, to personally apply in your own lives, in your own way, should you choose to.

I. Life's Not Easy!

Life is not easy! It is not, so don't try to make it that way.

Life's not fair. It never was, it isn't now and it won't ever be!

Do not fall into the trap, the entitlement trap, of feeling like 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.

II. Unbelievable is the stupidest word in the dictionary!

It should never come out of our mouths.

Think about it. To say,

"Oh wow, what an unbelievable play!"

"It was an unbelievable book",

"An unbelievable film",

"An unbelievable act of courage".

Really! It may be spectacular, it may be phenomenal, most excellent or outstanding, but "Unbelievable?"

Ugh-Ugha (shaking head no)! Give others and yourself more credit.

It just happened, you witnessed it, you just did it, believe it!

What about the other side of unbelievable?

That side when we humans underperform or act out of our best character.

For instance,

  • A man flies a suicide jet into the World Trade Center.

  • Millions die from diseases every day that we have cures for.

  • Bob the Builder swears that he's going to have your house built by Thanksgiving and you can't move in until Christmas, the next year.

  • Our best friends lie to us, and we lie to ourselves all the time.

Unbelievable? I don't so.

Again, it just happens and it happens every day.

Nothing that we Homo-Sapiens Earthlings is unbelievable.

If there is one thing you can depend on people being. . .it's people.

So we shouldn't be surprised. We, us, are the trickiest mammals walking the planet.

I'm not worried about the monkeys, I'm worried about you and me.

So acknowledge the act of greatness as real and do not be naïve about mankind's capacity for evil;

Nor be in denial of our own shortcomings.

III. Our Happiness is a Response to an Outcome

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.

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 you are going to be unhappy much of your time.

Joy though! Joy is a different thing. It is something else!

Joy is not a choice, it is not a response to some result; it's a constant.

Joy is the feeling that we have from doing for what we are fashioned to do, no matter the outcome.

Personally as an actor, I started enjoying my work and literally being more happy when I stopped trying to make the daily labor a mean to a certain end.

For example:

  • I need this film to be a box-office success.

  • I need my performance to be acknowledged.

  • I need the respect of my peers.

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, more accolades and more respect than I ever had before.

Joy is always in process.

It is under construction.

It is in constant approach.

It is alive and well in the doing of what we are fashioned to do and enjoy.

IV. Define Success for Yourself

I was south of New Orleans a few years ago and I went into a voodoo shop. They had this wooden partition against the wall at these columns. In these columns were all these vials of "magic potions." The headings above each option was defining what they would give you. They were things like fertility, health, family, legal help, energy, forgiveness, and money. Guess which column was empty? MONEY!

Let's admit it, money is king today.

It is what makes the world go round. It is success.

The more we have the more successful we are, right!?

I would argue that our cultural values have been financialized.

Humility is not in Vogue anymore, it's too passive.

It is a get rich quick on the internet, rich is 15 minutes of fame world that we live in, and we see it every day. But we all want to 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, I don't.

Maybe it's a healthy family.

Maybe it's a happy marriage.

Maybe it's to help other, to be famous, to be spiritually sound

To leave the world a little bit of a better place than you found it.

Continue to ask yourself that question?

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 and who you want to be.

  • 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?

So, how do I define success for myself?

For me it is a measurement of five things.

  • Fatherhood

  • Being a good husband

  • My health: mind body and spirit

  • Career

  • Friendships

These are what is important to me, in my life, right now.

I try to measure these five things each day. I check in with them. I like to see whether or not I am in the debit section or the credit section with each one. Am I in the red or am I in the black.

For instance,

  • Sometimes my career's rolling way up here in the black but I see my relationship with my wife maybe can use a little bit more of my attention. Then I got to pick up the slack on being a better husband.

  • Say my spiritual health could use some maintenance. It's down here, but hey my friendships and my social life, they're in high gear. I've got to recalibrate, checks and balances. I've got to go to church. Remember to say thank you more often. Something.

I have to take the tally because I want to keep all five in healthy shape. I know that if I don't take care of them, or I don't keep up maintenance on them, one of them is going to get weak. It is going to dip too deep into the debit section, go bankrupt, get sick, and even die.

So, first we have to define success for ourselves, then we have to put to work to maintain it.

Take that daily tally and tend our own garden. Keep the things that are important to us in good shape.

Let's admit it. We all have two wolves in us. A good one and a bad one. And they both want to eat.

The best I can tell, we have to feed that good one a little more than the bad one.

V. The Process to illumination is the first step to our identity.

AKA, where you are not is as important as where you are.

In 1992 I got my first job as an actor. Three lines, three days of work, in a film called Dazed and Confused.

The director of that film, Richard Linklater, kept inviting me back to set each night, putting me in more scenes, which led to more lines, all of which I said yes to. I am having a blast, people were telling me I was good at what I was doing, and they're writing me a check for $325 a day, sure I'm loving what I am doing. By the end of the shoot, those three lines had turned into over three weeks of work and it was mine. It was Wooderson's (the character I played) 1970 Chevelle that we went to go get Aerosmith tickets in. I owned that car. That's how far I had come.

A few years ago I'm watching this film again. I noticed two scenes that I really should not have been in. In one of these scenes my character, Wooderson, exited screen left, to head out somewhere. Then I reentered the screen to double check if one of the other characters wanted to go with me. In re-watching the film, and you'll agree if you know Wooderson, he was son a guy who would ever say, "Later" and then would come back to see if you were sure you didn't want to go. No, when Wooderson leaves he is gone. He does not stutter, step, flinch, rewind, ask twice or solicit. You know what I'm talking about. Wooderson has better things to do in life like those high school girls, 'cuz I get older and they stay the same age.

The point is, I should not have been in that scene, I should not have come back. I should have exited screen left and never come back. But back then, making that first film, getting invited back to the set, cashing that first check and having a ball, I wanted more screen time. I wanted to be in the scene longer and more and come back into the scene. But I should not have been there, Wooderson should not have been there.

It is just as important where we are not as it is where we are! The first step that leaded to our idenitity in life is usually not, "I know who I am!"

The first step is uaually, "I know who I am not!" The process of elimination.

Defining ourselves by what we are not is the first step that leads us to know who we are.

  • You know that group of friends that you hang out with that really might not bring out the best in you? They either gossip too much or they are kind of shady. They really are not going to be there for you in a pinch?

  • How about that bar that we keep going to that we always seem to have the worst hangover from?

  • What about that computer screen that keeps giving us an excuse to not get out of the house and engage with the world and get some real human interaction?

  • What about that food that we keep eating? That stuff that taste so good going down and makes us feel like crap the next week? We feel lethargic and we keep putting on weight?

Those people, those places, those things, stop giving them your time and energy. Just don't go there, put them down. When you do quit going there and you do put them down, and quit giving them your time, you inadvertently find yourself spending more time and more places that are healthy for you; that bring you more joy. Why? Because you just eliminated the who's, the where's, the what's and the when's that were keeping you from your identity.

Too many options will make a tyrant of us all.

So get rid of the excess and 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! Give yourself a break.

Eliminate who you are not first, and then you are going to find yourself where you need to be.

VI. Don't leave crumbs and the beauty of delayed gratification.

The crumbs are: the choices that we make that where we have to look over our shoulder in the future.

  • You did not pay that guy back the money that you owed him, and tonight you just saw him three rows behind you.

  • You slept around on your spouse and you just found out that tomorrow she and the lady you are having an affair with are going to be at the same PTA meeting.

  • You drank too much last night, you're too hungover to drive your son to his 8:00 a.m., Saturday morning baseball practice.

These are just a few of the examples of what I call the crumbs. The come in the form of regret, guilt, and remorse. You leave these crumbs in your life today, they will cause you more stress tomorrow. These crumbs 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, or turn you on for the most amount of time in future. These choices are the beauty of delayed gratification.

Tea yourself up, do yourself a favor and make the choices, the purchases today that pay you back tomorrow. Residuals. In my business we call it mailbox money. If I do my job well enough today so that movie keeps running and rerunning on TV, five years from now I'm getting checks in the mailbox.

  • Prepping the coffeemaker the night before so all you have to do is press the button in the morning.

  • Getting ready for that job interview early so you don't have to cram the night before.

  • Choosing not to hook up with that married woman because you know you're going to feel horrible about it tomorrow, and her husband carries a gun.

  • Paying your debts on time so that when you do see that guy three rows back tonight, you don't have to hunker down in your seat, hoping he don't see you.

Get some ROI: Return on Investment.

Your investment is YOU. Customize your future. Don't leave crumbs.

VII. Dissect your successes and the rest of porosity of gratitude.

We so often focus on failure.

We study failure.

We are obsessed with failure.

We dissect failure and our failures.

We dissect the so much we end up intoxicated with them to the point we are disillusioned.

When do we usually write in our diary? When we are depressed.

What do we gossip about? Other people's flaws and limitations.

We can dissect ourselves into self-loathing if were 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 success is through gratitude: giving thanks for that which we do have, or what is working. It is appreciating the simply 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 am not saying we should be in denial of our failures. We can learn from them if we will look at them constructively as a means to reveal what we are good at and what we can get better at.

Personally, I have read a lot of my bad reviews and I have had quite a few. Those written by the more talented critics, are the ones who give constructive bad reviews. They reveal to me what did translate in my work. What came across, was seen, or what was not seen. I do not obsess on the unfavorable aspect of their review, but I do seek what I can learn from it. Their displeasure actually uncovers and makes more apparent what I do well and am successful at. Then I dissect that.

Our life is a Verb. We try our best, we don't always do our best.

Well architecture is a Verb as well. 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, our earned tears.

Let's dissect that!

Then give thanks for those things.

Then we get better at doing that!

Then we can have more to dissect.

VIII. Make Voluntary Obligations

Since we were children our Mom and Dad teach us things. So do teachers, mentors, and the government.

Laws give us guidelines to navigate in life. Rule to abide by in the name of accountability. I'm not talking about those obligations. I want to talk about the ones we make to ourselves, with our God, or with our own consciousness. I'm talking about the YOU vs. YOU obligations.

We have to have them.

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 insurance rates for a good driving record.

You will not be fined or put in jail if you do not gratify these obligations.

No one else governs these but you.

They are your secrets with yourself, your own private council, personal protocols.

While nobody throws you a party when you abide by them, no one's going to arrest you when you break them either. . .except yourself, or some cops who got some disturbing the peace call at 2:30 in the morning because you were playing bongos in your birthday suit. Hee Hee Hee. That was me.

A honest person's pillow is their peace of mind.

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.

There are not enough cops in the entire world to police them.

It's on YOU!

IX. From Can to Want

In 1995 I got my first big pay check as an actor. I think it was 150 grand.

The film I was on was Boys on the Side. We were shooting in Tucson, Arizona.

I had this sweet little adobe guest house on the edge of the Swirling National Park.

The house came with a maid. She was my first maid which was awesome.

I had a friend over one Friday night and we were having a good time. I was telling her how happy I was with my setup: the house, the maid, especially the maid. I was telling her how she cleaned the place up after I go to work, she washes my clothes, the dishes, puts fresh water by my bed, leaves me cooked meals, and sometimes she even presses my jeans. My friend smiles at me, happy that I am excited over this. She says, "Well, that's great Matthew, if you like your jeans pressed. I looked up at her with my jaw kind of hanging open, I stuttered a moment with that dumb look that you get when you had just told the truth and you didn't think about it. Then it hit me. I hate that line going down the front of my jeans. It was then, for the first time, that I noticed it. I had never thought about not liking that starch line going down my jeans because I had never had a maid to iron my jeans before. Because she did, now for the first time in my life I just liked it because I could get it. I never thought about if I really wanted it. I realized I didn't want that line there.

That night I learned something. Just because you can? Naughhhh, come on.

That is not a good enough reason to do something, even when it means having more.

Be discerning.

Choose IT because YOU want it.

Do IT because YOU want to.

I never had my jeans pressed again.

X. A Roof is a Man-made Thing

In January the 3rd, 1993 it was the NFL playoffs. The Huston Oilers were playing the Buffalo Bills.

The Oilers were up 28 to 3 at halftime. It was 35 to 3 early in the third quarter. Frank Reich and the Bills comeback to win 41 to 38 in overtime, for one of the greatest comebacks in NFL history. The Bills won, but they didn't really beat the Oilers. The Oilers lost that game because they beat themselves.

Why? Why did they beat themselves? How? Was it because at halftime they put a ceiling, a roof, a limit on their belief in themselves, aka the prevent defense. Maybe they started thinking about their next opponent in the playoffs at halftime? They were up and they came out playing on their heels and lost the mental edge the entire second half and Wala!. . .they lost in a mere two quarters. The 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?

Nobody had ever choked? I have!

You know what I am talking about, fumbling at the goal line.

Stuck your foot in your mouth once you got to the microphone.

You had a brain freeze on the exam that you totally prepared for.

Forgot the punchline to a joke in front of 4,000 graduating students at the University of Houston commencement.

Or you have had that feeling of, "Oh my God, life just cannot get any better than this moment!?"

Ask yourself, "Do I deserve this?"

What happens when we get that feeling?

We tense up.

We have this sort of outer body experience where we are literally seeing ourselves in the third person.

We realized that the moment just got bigger than us.

You ever felt that way? I have!

We have created a fictitious ceiling, a roof to the expectations of ourselves.

We have made a limit where we think it is all too good to be true. But it is not.

It is not our right to say or believe it is.

We should not 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 that we don't deserve or have not earned these gifts when we get them?

It is not alright!

If we stay in process within ourselves, in the joy of the doing, we will never choke at the finish line.

Why? Because we are not thinking of the finish line. Because we are not looking at the clock, we are not watching ourselves on the jumbotron, performing the very act that we are in the middle of.

We are in process. The approach is the destination and we are never finished.

Bo Jackson use to run over the goal line, through the end zone, and up the tunnel.

The greatest snipers and marksmen in world don't aim at the target. They aim on the other side of the target. 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 the way.

Do this and let somebody else come up and tap you on the shoulder and say, "You scored!"

Let them tell you, "Man, you won!"

Let them come tell you, "You can go home now!"

Let them say, "I love you too."

Let them say, "Thank you!"

Take the lid off of the man-made roofs we put above ourselves and always play like an underdog.

XI. Turn the Page

The late, great University of Texas football coach, Darrell Royal, won the national championship in '69. He was a friend of mine and a 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 western career. He had number one hits and his life was rolling. He had picked up the bad habit of snorting the white stuff. At one particular party, after a "bathroom break" Larry went confidently up to his mentor Darrell and started him this story. Coach Royal listened as he always had. When Larry had finished his story and was about to walk away Coach Royal gently put a hand on his shoulder and very discreetly said, "Hey, Larry, you got something on your nose there bud." Larry immediately hurried to the bathroom mirror where he saw some the white power that he hadn't cleaned from his nose. He was ashamed, he was embarrassed. As much because he felt so disrespectful to Coach Royal, and he had gotten too comfortable with the drug to even hide it as well as he should. The next day Larry went to Coach's house. He rang the doorbell and Coach answered the door. Larry said, "Coach I need to talk to you." Darrell said, "Sure, come on in." Larry confessed. He purged his sins to the coach and told him how embarrassed he was and how he had lost his way in the midst of all this fame and fortune. Towards an end of an hour, Larry who was in tears, asked, "Coach, what do you think I should do?" The coach, being a man of few words, just looked at him and calmly said, "Larry, I have never had any trouble turning the page in the book of my life. Larry got sober that day and he has been sober for the last forty years.

You ever get in a rut? Get the funk? Stuck on the merry-go-round of a bad habit? I have!

We are going to make mistakes.

You have to own them.

Then you have to make amends.

Then you have to move on. . .

Guilt and regret kills 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!

XII. Give Your Obstacles Credit

You know those no fear t-shirts that were out about ten years ago? The said, "NO FEAR" across them.

I don't get them and I never did. I try to scare myself at least once a day. I bet 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.

Because it increase our need to overcome that fear.

Say your obstacle is fear of rejection.

You want to ask them out but you fear he or she may say no.

You want to ask your boss for that promotion but you're scared he is going to think you're overstepping you bounds.

Instead of denying those fears, declare them. Say the fear out loud and admit it.

Give them the credit they deserve.

Don't get all macho and act like they are no big deal. Don't become paralyzed by denying they exist and therefore abandoning you need to overcome them.

I subscribe to the belief that we are all destined to have to do the thing that we fear the most at some point. So give your obstacles credit and you will:

  1. Find the courage to overcome them.

  2. Or you will see more clearly that they are not really worth prevailing over.

Be brave and have courage. When you do you get stronger and more aware and respectful of yourself and that which you fear.

XIII. How do we know when we have crossed the truth?

Thirteen. . .Somebody may be thinking why did I pick thirteen, that is an unlucky number.

I do not know when the number thirteen got the bad rap ad became the mongrel of numerology. It has never done me wrong. In fact thirteen has been a pretty lucky number for me and I want to tell you how.

I have always taken these one day trips by myself to far-off places where I usually don't know the language and nobody knows my name. They are adventures but they are also a purge. They are a cleanse for me. They are like a 21-day fast from the tension and all the things that I have in my well-appointed life. They serve as a check out so I can check in with me. To see how I'm doing, be forced to be my own and only company. This is when I have a look in my mirror. When we do this sometimes we do not like what we see.

In 1996, right after I go famous from a film I did called A Time to Kill, I headed out on one of these 21-day walkabouts. This time it was in the jungles and mountains of Peru. The sudden fame that I had just gotten was somewhat unbalancing. My face was everywhere. Everyone was wanting a piece of me. People I had never met were swearing that they loved me. Everywhere I went there I was, on a billboard, a magazine cover, it was just weird. I was asking myself, "What was the reality in this and what is not real. Did I deserve all this? Who was I?"

There is always an initiation period with these trips. An amount of time that 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 world we are traveling in. For me, that initiation period usually last about thirteen day. Thirteen hellish days until I am out of my own way. After that the rest of the trip is really fun and smooth sailing.

It was the night of my twelfth day and I was settling into camp. I had already hiked eighty miles and I had a three day trek ahead of me to Machu Picchu. I was full-on sick of myself wrestling with the loss of my anonymity. I was guilt ridden for the sins of my past. I had a long of regret. I was lonely and disgusted with my company, the own I had built. I was doing a pretty good job of mentally beating myself up. As I was grappling with these demons on this night, I could not sleep. All of these badges, banners, expectations, anxieties I was pairing with them and I needed to free myself from them.

This is why I was asking myself, "Who was I?" "Who was I in this life that I have?"

So I stripped down to nothing. I took every moniker that gave me pride and confidence, all the window dressings, the packaging around the product, and discarded them all. I even got rid of my lucky and faithful American cap. I stripped off all my talismans from adventures past. I even discarded my late father's gold ring with a "M" on it that he gave to me. It was a meltdown from my father and mother's class rings and gold from my mom's teeth. I even got rid of that. I was naked, literally and figuratively, and I got sick. A few hours later I awoke on this 13th morning to a rising sun, surprisingly fresh and energized. I dressed, made some tea and went from not sure what a destination of Machu Picchu to nowhere in particular. My gut was still a bit peaked from last night's purge but I curiously felt pretty good, I felt alive, clean, free, and light. Along a muddy path on this walk I was on, I turned a corner and there in the middle of the road was this mirage of the most magnificent pinks and blues and red colors that I had 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. I was so spectacular I stayed a while just watching. Somewhere in my captivation I heard this little voice inside my head say, "All I want is what I can see, and all I can see is what is in front of me."

At that moment, for the first time this trip I had stopped anticipating what was around the corner. For the first time I stopped thinking about what was coming up next. In that moment time slowed down, I was no longer in a rush to get anywhere. My anxieties were greatly eased.

A few hours later I returned to camp. Even the local Sherpas I was traveling with noticed a change and was calling out to me, "You are light." What happened was I forgave myself that morning. I let go of the guilt, the weight that was on my shoulders was lifted, and my penance was paid. I got back into good graces with my God, and I shook hands with myself, my best friend, the one that we are all stuck with anyway. 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 it justice it deserved.

I crossed a truth that morning.

Did I find it? I don't know. I think it found me.

Because I put myself in a place to be found.

I put myself in a place to receive the truth.

So how do we know when we have crossed the truth?

I think the truth is around us all the time. I think the answer is always right there, we just don't always see it. Usually because we are not in the right place to do so.

So what do we do to see the truth.

1. I believe we have to put ourselves in the place to receive the truth.

We live in an extremely nosy world with all kinds of frequencies coming at us. We have commitments, we have deadlines. Do this, do that, plans, expectations. They all make it hard to get clarity and peace of mind. So we have to consciously put ourselves into places to receive that clarity.

That may be through Prayer, Meditation, a walkabout, being in the right company, a road trip. Whatever it is to you, schedule that time.

If we hear it, if we put ourselves in the place to hear it and we do; it's become clear, a truth natural and infinite, then comes second part.

2. Personalize it.

Ask yourself how it works for you?

How it applies to you personally?

Why you need it in your life?

If you do that, comes the third part.

3. Have the patience to internalize it.

Get it from our intellectual head thinking about it and get it into our bones, in our soul, our instinct.

We cannot rush this part, it does take time.

If we make it this far then comes the biggie, the fun one.

4. You have to have the courage to act on it.

Have the courage to actually take it into your daily life and practice it.

Make it an active part of who you are and live it.

If we can do these things, then we have what I believe is heaven right here on earth.

This is the place where what we want is just what we need.

That's the ticket isn't? Think about it.

  1. I know that is where I want to live.

  2. Make it a place where we break a sweat.

  3. Where we believe.

  4. Where we enjoy the process of succeeding in the places and ways that we are fashioned to.

  5. Where we don't have to look over our shoulder, because we are too busy doing what we are good at.

  6. Voluntarily keeping our own counsel because we want to.

  7. Traveling towards immortal finish lines.

  8. We write our own book.

  9. We overcome our fears.

  10. We make friends with ourselves.

And that is the place where I'm talking about.

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