When Denzel Washington gave the commencement speech at Dillard University this past weekend, he didn’t hold back on substance. Unlike so many self-absorbed graduation messages filled with cliches like, “Follow your dreams,” and, “You can achieve anything if you set your heart to it,” Denzel took a different, humbler route, beginning with this:

Number one: Put. God. First. Put God first in everything you do. Everything that you think you see in me, everything that I’ve accomplished, everything that you think I have – and I have a few things – everything that I have is by the grace of God. Understand this: it’s a gift.

He continued to emphasize the importance of living a life of gratitude and prayer:

While you’re [on your knees], say thank you for grace, thank you for mercy, thank you for understanding, thank you for wisdom, thank you for parents, thank you for love, thank you for kindness, thank you for humility, thank you for peace, thank you for prosperity. Say thank you in advance for what’s already yours. […] True desire in the heart for anything good is God’s proof to you, sent beforehand, to indicate that it’s yours already. […] When you get it, reach back, pull someone else up.

You can watch the full speech here.

Image Credit: Ole Haug