Justin Timberlake, who has won more Teen Choice Awards in his career than any other male artist, received the show’s first-ever Decade Award on Sunday, brining the grand total to a whopping 36.
“As a former teen, a while ago, who’s made a few choices along the way, I’m here to tell you that you and your choices matter,” the 35-year-old singer told the crowd during his acceptance speech. “My parents did their best to fill my young mind not with prejudice or hate but with compassion and love. I think it’s part of the reason why, to this day, I try to live my life working most closely with, making music with, and spending so much of my time with an amazing group of people — male, female, straight, gay, every walk of life.”
Along with heralding diversity, Timberlake also advised teens to learn from the greats who came before him. He cited Al Green, Michael Jackson, Aretha Franklin, Stevie Wonder and “the greatest of all time” Muhammad Ali as his biggest influences, and even shared a few pieces of advice from the boxing legend.
“Don’t count the days, make the days count,” he said, adding, “The service you do for others is the rent you pay for your room here on earth.”
“As a relatively new dad and a former teen, I am here to say you will make mistakes along the way. You will fall down,” Timberlake continued. “I have many times. Even (Muhammad) Ali did. But what we do after that fall is how we make history, because impossible is nothing. So don’t waste your 20s, they’re gonna be here before you know it and they will go fast. … So go out, do the impossible, and just go out and become the greatest generation yet.”
The former child star also told teens watching the show to be nice to their parents, reminding them that respects starts at home.
Watch Justin Timberlake’s motivational acceptance speech in the video above.