Andy shared several things that lead to his success.
Believe in yourself and pursue your dreams. MacDonald told the students that they can be whatever they want to be, but they have to be willing to put in the long hours and hard work. He said he had to want it badly enough to not give up, even when the naysayers told him he was crazy and he'd never make it.
Education is important. MacDonald's parents instilled in him the importance of education, so he never considered dropping out of high school to pursue his dream. MacDonald spoke of how the courses he took in high school have helped him throughout his career.
Have a "backup plan." MacDonald emphasized being realistic and having a backup plan. Finishing high school and getting into college was his backup plan. He had applied and was accepted to Michigan. He worked with the school to defer his admission in order to pursue his dream of becoming a professional skateboarder in California. If he didn't make it in the world of professional skateboarding, he had already been accepted to college -- his backup plan.
Say NO to drugs. MacDonald made it a point not to tell the group what they should do. They were old enough to make their own choices, but he shared a critical choice he made when he was a teen. He chose not to do drugs and that was a key factor in his success. You cannot skate well if you're high or drunk -- and MacDonald wanted to skate. The ever-present pressure to do drugs is a critical decision point for any teen. MacDonald's decision to say no enabled him to achieve his dreams.
Work hard. MacDonald told how success meant working several part time jobs, while still in high school, to save enough money to move from Boston to San Diego. In California, MacDonald continued to work hard at any job he could find, including his first job at Sea World dressed as a Shamu the Whale. MacDonald spent eight months in California living on someone's couch before he could afford his own place. Working hard also meant practicing hard. He skated every chance he got. When he wasn't working, he was skating.