[imagesource: Matthew McConaughey / Twitter]
Matthew McConaughey has written a book.
Perhaps that is surprising to you, because he seems like the kind of guy that would rather be shirtless on the beach than tapping away at the keyboard, but the actor has actually been keeping a journal for the past 35 years.
His book, Greenlights, is part memoir, part guide to living, or “an approach book”, as the actor himself calls it.
You’re welcome to read it in full, but the Guardian has picked out some choice nuggets from “Hollywood’s ‘easy-livin’ superstar”, which are worth a quick look.
When McConaughey is eight years old, [his mother] enters him into the Little Mr Texas contest. He wins, and his mom hangs a framed picture of him holding his trophy on the kitchen wall. Every morning at breakfast, she gestures to it. “Look at you: winner, Little Mr Texas, 1977.”
Last year, McConaughey came across the same photo in a scrapbook. The trophy reads “runner-up”. When he confronted his mother, she said the winner was wealthy and won with his fancy suit. “We call that cheatin. No, you’re Little Mr Texas.” McConaughey calls this the lesson of “audacious existentialism”.
The life lesson here is that ‘The value of denial depends on one’s level of commitment’.
I’d say it’s one a certain US president has taken to heart.
Next up is ‘Don’t lose your truck’, which basically confirms that McConaughey was his character in Dazed and Confused:
High school for McConaughey was summer time, all the time. He got straight As and dated the best-looking girl at his school and the other schools. He had a job, no curfew, and a golf handicap of four…
McConaughey was the fun guy. Not for him, leaning against the wall at the party, smoking and looking cool. He engaged. He took the girls four-wheel driving in his truck, and flirted with them through a megaphone…
One day he trades in his truck for a sports car that he knew the chicks would dig even more. He gets to school early each day and just leeeaaans against it. “I was so cool. My red sports car was so cool.”
Spoiler alert – it wasn’t. Within a few weeks, they were out four-wheel driving with somebody else, and McConaughey realised he “lost the effort, the hustle, the mudding, and the megaphone. I lost the fun.”
He then got his truck back. Does the same apply to guys with bakkies?
Whilst he didn’t have a vision board where he manifested his goals into existence (this was pre-Instagram), the actor does swear by ‘Form good habits and become their slave’:
Back in Texas, in college, McConaughey starts to have doubts about his plans to study law. These are cemented when he stumbles upon a self-help book, The Greatest Salesman in the World, at a friend’s house.
The book’s decree to become a “slave” to self-discipline – intended to be read three times a day for 30 days – absorbs McConaughey completely…
While bartending, he meets casting director Don Phillips, who casts him for a small part in a film called Dazed and Confused. The first words McConaughey ever says on film are: “All right, all right, all right.”
And so, a legendary catchphrase was born.
Finally, we’ll wrap up with a realisation that led to a drastic change in lifestyle – ‘When you’re up to nothin’, no good’s usually next’:
In 2000, a few years after his last hit, McConaughey accepts a generous offer to star in The Wedding Planner opposite Jennifer Lopez. He moves…into the legendary Chateau Marmont hotel in Hollywood.
“Single, healthy, honest and eligible”, he revels in the mischief and transience afforded by a high-class hotel. Days of “it’d be rude not to” are followed by mornings of “I don’t knows”. He showers in the daytime, “rarely alone”, and cooks steaks at 3am. He partakes.
But after 18 months of hedonism, the booze, the women, the gluttony start to wear thin. McConaughey tires of livin on easy street: “I needed some yellow lights.” He finds himself questioning the existence of a God. “An existential crisis? I’d call it an existential challenge.”
Who would have thought that guy would go on to win the 2014 Oscar for Best Actor?
Welcome to the McConnaissance.
Read more of his life lessons, woven into stories from his past, here.
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