Book – Greenlights
Author – Matthew McConaughey
I’ve been in this life for fifty years, been trying to work out its riddle for forty-two, and been keeping diaries of clues to that riddle for the last thirty-five. Notes about successes and failures, joys and sorrows, things that made me marvel, and things that made me laugh out loud. How to be fair. How to have less stress. How to have fun. How to hurt people less. How to get hurt less. How to be a good man. How to have meaning in life. How to be more me.
Recently, I worked up the courage to sit down with those diaries. I found stories I experienced, lessons I learned and forgot, poems, prayers, prescriptions, beliefs about what matters, some great photographs, and a whole bunch of bumper stickers. I found a reliable theme, an approach to living that gave me more satisfaction, at the time, and still: If you know how, and when, to deal with life’s challenges – how to get relative with the inevitable – you can enjoy a state of success I call “catching greenlights.”
So I took a one-way ticket to the desert and wrote this book: an album, a record, a story of my life so far. This is fifty years of my sights and seens, felts and figured-outs, cools and shamefuls. Graces, truths, and beauties of brutality. Getting away withs, getting caughts, and getting wets while trying to dance between the raindrops.
Hopefully, it’s medicine that tastes good, a couple of aspirin instead of the infirmary, a spaceship to Mars without needing your pilot’s license, going to church without having to be born again, and laughing through the tears.
It’s a love letter. To life.
It’s also a guide to catching more greenlights – and to realizing that the yellows and reds eventually turn green too.
– Goodreads Synopsis
Well Alright, Alright, Alright…
Immediately as I started listening to this (Yes! Definitely get the audible version!) the one word that came to mind was “Charming”. The way that Matthew McConaughey tells this story is just so full of charm, life, and of course performance. You’ll notice a general theme to what I like to write about: Good stories. This is a damn good story and Matthew can tell a hell of a good story.
Greenlights are more than just way to control traffic; Greenlights are a way to live! It’s a romantic idea to live life with the idea that every moment was supposed to happen. If it was good, then that’s what it was supposed to be. If it was bad, then that is what is was supposed to be, and it’s up to you to reframe it to get you to something better. It’s almost a Buddhist way of living to accept the suffering that comes to us. The trick is to make the best of it; to learn from it.
“Catching greenlights is about skill: intent, context, consideration, endurance, anticipation, resilience, speed, and discipline. We can catch more greenlights by simply identifying where the red lights are in our life, and then change course to hit fewer of them.”
Sonder – n. the realization that each random passerby is living a life as vivid and complex as your own—populated with their own ambitions, friends, routines, worries and inherited craziness—an epic story that continues invisibly around you like an anthill sprawling deep underground, with elaborate passageways to thousands of other lives that you’ll never know existed, in which you might appear only once, as an extra sipping coffee in the background, as a blur of traffic passing on the highway, as a lighted window at dusk.
We have a fascination with celebrities, with fame, and with success. Part of what makes a autobiography so magical is that we get to take a look into the past. In outliers we looked for what made people’s early lives special to see if it somehow set them up for that future success, but with Greenlights it gave me this feeling of Sonder.
We’ve all felt sonder from time to time, and it continues to reminds us just how beautiful the world is. Whether it is thinking about how Matthew McConaughey grew up in a small town in Texas, or how he had a humorous year abroad in Australia, or you are thinking about the person writing these words right now: There is such complexity behind every frame of reference.
“We read, we wrote, we prayed, we cried, we listened,we screamed, we spoke out, we marched, we helped others in need. But how much do we change for good? It’s sake and forever? For those of us who survived, when and how we see the benefits of what we went through during those turbulent times is relative. But if we work individually to make justified changes for more value driven and righteous tomorrow, the redlight year that 2020 was will one day in the rear view mirror of life inevitably turn green. And perhaps be seen as one of our finest hours.”
Matthew McConaughey, Greenlights
“I have a lot of proof that the world is conspiring to make me happy.”
Matthew McConaughey, Greenlights