How to Get More Involved in Your Life With Academy Award-Winning Actor Matthew McConaughey

Matthew McConaughey

Verywell / Julie Bang

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Meet Matthew McConaughey

You’ve likely seen Matthew McConaughey in one of his movies, like "Dazed and Confused," "How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days," or "A Time to Kill." He has a long list of accolades, including an Academy Award for Best Actor for his role in "Dallas Buyers Club."

He’s also the author of a hugely successful book called "Greenlights." The book is a memoir that includes many of his old journal posts from years back. But, it also includes information on how he manages setbacks and overcomes obstacles.

Why Matthew McConaughey Is Mentally Strong

Matthew shares how he likes challenging himself in life; when things become too easy for him, he changes what he’s doing. 

For example, he challenged himself to take on new acting roles. Even though starring in romantic comedies was easy and lucrative, he took a break from doing them to find new roles. It took a few years, but he eventually got cast in dramatic roles that challenged him to do something different.

He also shares how some of the most challenging things he’s done have been the most significant learning experiences of his life. For example, he spent a year in Australia before becoming an actor. Living with strangers, learning a new culture, and being away from his friends and family challenged him in new ways.

What You’ll Hear on the Show

  • The concern I had about his book and his response to it
  • Why he decided to write his own book even though most celebrities hire ghostwriters
  • How he turns a crisis into an opportunity
  • How to recognize the greenlights in your life and what to do when you encounter yellow lights and red lights
  • How to become more involved and less impressed
  • How to grow more comfortable being by yourself and what you can learn from time alone
  • What he learned about himself when he looked back through his 37 years of journal entries

Quotes From Matthew

Matthew McConaughey

In the writing of the book, I noticed, 'Wow, every failure you had or hardship, a lot of them paid off. You got rewarded later. Every sacrifice you took or chance or healthy risk you took, it paid off.'

— Matthew McConaughey
  • "The times where I was at my lowest had value."
  • "I'm not for the delusional optimism of a Hallmark card that says, ‘Hey, look on the bright side.’ I'm just saying, ‘No, actually look at the hard side.’ Look at how it's empty, but don't wallow there."
  • "I got more involved, less impressed with trying to be impressive, as a writer, and I think I became a better writer for it."

More About Greenlights

Matthew’s book is filled with stories from various periods in his life and the lessons he learned along the way. He talks about what it was like growing up in his home, how he got into acting, and how he got married and started a family.

He briefly mentions incidents of sexual abuse in the book. And he details several incidents of violence between his parents. He includes a picture of his mother’s crooked finger, stating his father broke it on four separate occasions—something he also references in the podcast.

If you or a loved one are a victim of domestic violence, contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 for confidential assistance from trained advocates.

For more mental health resources, see our National Helpline Database.

More About the Podcast

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By Amy Morin, LCSW
Amy Morin, LCSW, is a psychotherapist and international bestselling author. Her books, including "13 Things Mentally Strong People Don't Do," have been translated into more than 40 languages. Her TEDx talk,  "The Secret of Becoming Mentally Strong," is one of the most viewed talks of all time.