Ever since I watched "How To Lose A Guy In 10 Days," I've been a major Matthew McConaughey fan. I've seen most of his movies, and I definitely got way too excited when he finally made an Instagram! So when he announced he would be releasing a memoir titled "Greenlights," I knew I absolutely had to get my hands on this book. And so did the rest of the world, as the book began to flood social media.
Truthfully, I would much rather read a fiction book and dive into another world than read a nonfiction book - even if it is one of my favorite celebrities. But I had a feeling this book wouldn't disappoint or bore.
So I not only ordered it, but I went to one of his Zoom book tour events to hype myself up for it even more. I waited about a week before finally getting it in the mail, and when I started reading it, I literally could not put it down.
I've never read a nonfiction book that had the same effect on me as a fiction book, but McConaughey's exciting life and adventures, optimistic outlook, and determination were inspiring, intriguing, and relatable. I found myself writing down quote after quote after quote in one of my favorite book apps, learning so many lessons and ready to go on so many new adventures. Reading his book really was like being transported to another world. I often wondered if he was living on the same planet as me with all of his risk-taking, experiences, and adventures, which inspired me to make my New Year's resolution of the adventurous spirit.
At the end of the day, McConaughey's book is all about being relative and finding your frequency, and as the beginning of 2021 begins to round out, I feel like I have started to do just that. I feel like I have a clear idea of my goals and my journey, but my clearest idea yet is that I want to be guided down the path that life - that God - takes me down. To relinquish some of the control I grip so tightly to and to just start "livin." I feel more relative with this world, and with my life, than I did this time last year. And I am almost certain it is because "Greenlights" has helped me to discover my frequency. Hopefully the quotes that have made the biggest impact on my mindset and outlook can help to revolutionize your 2021, as well.
1. "Sometimes which choice you make is not as important as making a choice and committing to it."
This really hit home with me. I've always been such an indecisive person, and I feel like my struggle to find the "perfect choice" has held me back from experiencing the exciting adventure that the choice is presenting right in front of me. I've had a lot of big life choices come my way recently, but instead of sitting around wondering if they were the rights ones, I'm going to focus on committing to them. Giving them my all. Making them the very best choices instead of searching or waiting for another option.
2. "Life is not a popularity contest. Be brave, take the hill, but first, answer the question, 'What is my hill?'"
In our society, we are constantly worried about what others think of us. I've fallen for this trope one too many times. But in reality, life itself is not a popularity contest. Your life is just that - YOUR life. No one else's. Just because you're popular to someone in one moment, doesn't mean you will be in the next. This quote reminds me to live my life for me, but in that process, to not forget what I am living for. To not forget what drives me - and only me.
3. "It is not about win or lose, it is about do you accept the challenge. When you did that, you already won."
I loved this story, and I especially loved this quote from one of the men McConaughey was traveling around Africa with. As a competitive perfectionist at heart, I always want to win. It runs through my blood, but unfortunately, it makes failure much harder. This quote has inspired me to shift my mindset, to feel like a winner for simply taking the challenge on, no matter the outcome.
4. "I am good at what I love, I don't love all that I'm good at."
I related to this a lot. My work, whether it's writing or related to my major, is my passion. I love it, and I think I'm at least halfway decent at it. I believe my abilities and my passion intertwine, that my skills have improved because of my dedication. But there are definitely other things that I'm good at it, or have been throughout my life, that I just did not enjoy doing. I think it's important we focus on our passions and on the things we love - there's no point wasting time on something that makes us unhappy just because we are "good" at it.
5. "Sometimes we have to leave what we know to find out what we know."
Wow - POWERFUL. I felt like this quote was speaking to past, present, and future me. When I left for college, I was terrified. The idea scared the living daylights out of me, but I have discovered more about myself in the last few years than in any other chapter of my life. Maybe some of it I already knew about myself and the world, but it took leaving everything I consciously knew to open my eyes to these truths. And I was so amazed by what I found that I traveled to Europe to intern for an entire summer, once again leaving everything I knew. And now, I'm about to head off on another far away adventure. Every time I've been terrified, but every time I've come back to what I know and love eager to discover even more.
6. "It's really the secret to why Austin is so cool; all you have to be in Austin is you, and Austin appreciates it when you are."
So what is my next adventure to discover more of what I already know? Austin, Texas. I landed a job in the great state of Texas post-graduation, and the idea of moving so far away from what I know and am comfortable with to a city I have never been before has scared me since I accepted the job. But reading this book and seeing this quote was like a personal affirmation - Austin is a great place to build a foundation for my life; it's a place you can be yourself, a place you can find your frequency. This quote helped me get relative and realize I am going on this adventure whether it terrifies me or not. So I better shift my mindset away from fear and towards excitement.
7. "I think that's what we all want. To believe and be believed in. We must earn belief in ourselves first, then for each other. Earn it with you, then earn it with me, then we earn it for we."
In a world where the need for validation reigns supreme, this is a great reminder that we must believe in ourselves if we ever hope to have others believe in us. Once we believe in ourselves and are shining with our own confidence, we can believe in each other. We won't need the validation; it will just come naturally.
8. "It was a crisis. I just didn't give the crisis credit. I treaded water until I crossed the finish line."
Talk about a relative quote - this one is a kicker, for sure! Whether it's in my own personal life or in society as a whole, it seems like absolutely everything is a crisis. A meltdown. A ruining. It's hard when something goes wrong or changes to not feel like we are going down. But it's about time we stop giving these crises, whether they are real or overblown, in our personal lives or societal, so much credit. I'm ready to start pushing forward, trampling them on the way to my goals as if they aren't there. I'm ready to stop worrying about the future and to start focusing on the present.
9. "We are going to make mistakes - own them, make amends, and move on."
As a bonafide perfectionist, mistakes are hard to handle. I regret them, feel guilty for them. Whether it wasn't saying the right thing in the moment or saying the wrong thing at the wrong time, whether it was for getting a B in a class or botching a work-related task, it's hard to accept mistakes that I make with myself and others. But ever since reading this quote, I made one of my many 2021 missions to own my mistakes and move on from them. As McConaughey says, "turn the page."
10. "The arrow doesn't seek the target, the target draws the arrow. We must be aware of what we attract in life because it is no accident or coincidence. The spider waits in his web for dinner to come. Yes, we must choose what we want, seek it out, cast our lines in the water, but sometimes we don't need to make things happen. Our souls are infinitely magnetic."
As someone longing for a relationship after enjoying some independent, single years, this quote (or rather, passage) brought me so much peace. Instead of being constantly on the search for a boyfriend, like McConaughey was on the search for a wife, I'm ready to let the target draw the arrow. When my soul finds its force, the magnets will collide, no doubt about it. It's something that will happen when I stop trying to make it happen.
I do love how he mentions that we must still put in effort, still work hard, in our lives. We can't sit around and expect the world to wait on us hand and foot, but we also must accept that some things (like love) are simply out of our control. It's something we can't just make happen. It's something that will fall into place at the right time.
11. "The box office failures didn't dampen my love of acting. If anything they made me more feverishly committed to my craft."
FAILURES DO NOT DEFINE YOU. (Sorry, yelling that one at myself.) But his experience definitely solidifies this truth - the movie failures do not make him a failed actor nor a failure as a person. Rather, failures should make us more determined and committed to our passion. And while at one point in my life I would've said failures are motivating because of my drive to turn them into successes, now I believe they're motivating because if I fail at doing something I loved - well, at least I loved it! Keep doing what you love and what you are passionate about, and don't let any kind of failure put a damper on it.