Global Supertrends Conference 2021

Opening keynote: Anxious societies – building sustainable and affordable ecosystems for basic necessities

As the opening keynote to the Credit Suisse Global Supertrends 2021, award-wining actor, philanthropist, and activist Matthew McConaughey shared his passion for living a soulful life and the power of resilience when faced with challenges.

Anxious Societies' concerns are intensifying around the world. We see more widening inequalities, lack of growth opportunities, limited access to necessities such as housing, education, and food security.

Many of these Anxious Societies’ concerns echoed his challenging journey as a child and the just keep livin Foundation he founded with his wife, Camila. The foundation empowers American high school students with the tools to lead active lives and make healthy choices for a better future.

Beyond profits and supporting troubled teens

Mr. McConaughey emphasized the responsibility of everyone to do more for their community as individuals and be kind to others.

A firm believer in giving back to society, Mr. McConaughey also stressed the importance of showing donors proof of effectiveness instead of relying on emotions in philanthropic fundraising. “Because if I give $1, I want to know where that 100 pennies are going. And I want proof that it worked, that it changed somebody's life. We've gotten numbers that have the proof for it,” he explained.

In that vein, his foundation has proved its effectiveness, offering an after-school curriculum twice a week. The tangible result: Improved grades and behavior of these students.

The negative impact of social media

He spoke out on the pervasive use of social media. Youths are posting digital messages, virtually dependent on the response for societal approval. He pointedly expressed, “Our children's identity, self-confidence, self-significance is reliant on that response. There's no way we can agree that is what should form a child's identity, especially in their developmental years.”

Building a legacy

Turning to his legacy, Mr. McConaughey hopes his children would consider him one of their five best friends in the future. Most importantly, for his children to grow up with a great character, pursue a passion in life, and appreciate "delayed gratification" to work hard without expecting immediate rewards. He said: “If they're fortunate, they will combine their innate abilities with something in society that is in demand and that's the ideal way to make a living."

Matthew McConaughey’s refreshing conversation with CNBC anchor Martin Soong was an inspiring message to all: Live a life with purpose and soul, leave a legacy.