Recently, I viewed a video of an acceptance speech that Matthew McConaughey gave when he received an Academy Award, the most coveted of all awards in Hollywood, for Best Actor in Dallas Buyer’s Club.
In his speech he said “[There are] three things I need each day. One of them is something to look up to, another is something to look forward to, and another is someone to chase.”
In the first, something to look up to, he thanked God because that is who he looks up to.
In the second, something to look forward to, he recognized his family; his father who had passed, his mother, and a few other family members.
But it was the third, someone to chase, that made me think. He recounted a story that began when he was 15 when a friend asked him who his hero was. He answered that his hero, the person he was chasing, the person who drove him to do more and to become better everyday, was himself… 10 years from now. After 10 years, when he turned 25, that same friend asked him if he had finally become his hero. McConaughey replied “not even close. My hero is me at 35.” He continued “Every day, every week, every month, every year of my life, my hero’s always 10 years away. I’m never gonna be my hero. I’m not gonna attain that, I know I’m not, and that’s just fine with me because it keeps me with somebody to keep chasing.”
I’m sure that Matthew McConaughey had role models who he looked up to and who helped to shape his career. But what motivated him, what drove his self actualization, was not an outward focus on the success or the failure of others, it was an inward focus on the development and refinement of himself.
Too often, people get caught up worrying about what others are doing around them; their accomplishments, their failures, how they reinvent themselves, their strengths, their weaknesses, their ability or their inability to bounce after a failure and they benchmark their own success on it.
Who are you competing against? Who are you chasing?