McConaughey is a fantastic story teller and this book is continuous proof of that. Every single story he tells has you pining for more while your smiling, laughing or in disbelief. His writing, at times, seems ridiculous, but you'll love it! It's true Southern story telling from one of the great outlaw artists of our time and even when you're asking yourself - what the hell did he just say? You'll be loving the man telling it.
I listened to this book in Audio and would recommend it to anyone thinking about grabbing it. It's awesome hearing McConaughey voice each and every character as he remembers them. I purchased the book after the fact and would also recommend it for different reasons, it's awesome seeing the pictures, bumper stickers, and the overall style. Do whichever feels right!
Personally, I had a strong connections with this book and the philosophy Mathew chooses to live his life by. I plan to revisit it often until it becomes a part of my own philosophy, here are some of the lessons I hope to embody myself:
Just Keep Livin - It may not have felt this way in every moment but Mat has a way of never taking life to seriously and like a typical Texan, seems to see all challenges as bulls to wrestle to the ground. The size of the moments doesn't make him doubt himself, rather it makes him excited to take it on. Whether its walking onto his first TV set without experience and improvising lines about "them highschool girls" that are still repeated today or wrestling an African regional champ.
Be involved - This book is a result of 35 years of journaling, philosophizing, and diarizing things throughout his life. It serves as an example of one of his core insights he learns after his dads passing - Be more involved, less impressed. Engage with your life as much as possible. Don't settle for routine when you can make an adventure out of it. McConaughey is an actor in movies yes, but he's also the actor of his own movie. One which he's written and is the hero of. There's no reason why anyone can't live the same way.
Find Your Identity - Alright, alright, alright. He's one of the most iconic actors for a reason, he knows exactly who he is and more importantly, who he's not. People are to focused on being everything today, including myself. We want it all. Through a combination of upbringing, his own perception, and (I'd argue) the habit of journaling, Mat has nailed down his identity and he's comfortable to live with it. This narrows our focus on what's important to us and gives us the empowerment to choose.
Read some of the Top Quotes for more lessons.
🕳️Plot Summary(Plot Points)
The book starts a little weird with a few sections on what this book is about however it gets complicated when he delivers multiple wide ranging reasons that aren't exactly succinct... But it rhymes, it's fun and sounds poetic so I go with it.
It clears up and gets great quick as Mat explains each of his family members. An older brother that was born 19 years before him and an adopted brother who takes the role of Mats' Hero youth. Then he gives the context to his "twice" divorced and "thwice" married parents completely toxic (sometimes lethal) relationship between his parents. Even though, in todays world, child services may question the parenting, you know it was rooted in love and Mats perspective on it makes it positive and hilarious.
He then takes us through a journey of his ups and downs (mostly ups) of which he shares his experiences throughout. Get the book to hear the details of his journey from him, it's worth it.
"Words are momentary, intentions are momentous."
"Knowing the truth, seein the truth, and tellin the truth, are all different experiences."
"Conservative early, liberal late. Create structure, so you can have freedom. Create your weather so you can blow in the wind. Map your direction so you can swerve in the lanes. Clean up so you can get dirty. Choreograph, then dance. Learn to read and write before you start making up words. Check if the pool has water in it before you dive in. Learn to sail before you fly. Initiations before inaugurations. Earn your Saturdays. We need discipline, guidelines, context and responsibility early in any new endeavor. Its the time to sacrifice. To learn, to observe, to take heed. If and when we get knowledge of the space, the craft, the people and the plan. Then we can let our freak flag fly and create. Creativity needs borders. Individuality needs resistance. The earth needs gravity. Without them there is no form. No art. Only Chaos."
"Process of elimination and identity - The first step that leads to our identity in life is usually I know who I am, but rather I know who I'm not. Process of elimination. Too many options can make a tyrant out of any of us, so we should get rid of the excess in our lives that keep us from being more of ourselves. When we decrease the options that don't feed us, we eventually, almost accidentally, have more options in front of us that do. Knowing who we are is hard. Eliminate who we're first, and we'll find ourselves where we need to be."
"Boundaries to freedom. We need finites, borders, gravity, demarcations, shape, and resistance to have order. This order, creates responsibility, the responsibility creates judgement (& consequence), the judgement creates choice. In the choice lies the freedom. To create the weather that gives us the most favorable wind, we must first remove that which causes the most friction to our core being. This process of elimination creates order by default therefore rendering more to go toward, for instance, and less to back away from. We then embrace these affirmations because doing so brings us pleasure and less pain. So we cultivate them until they become habit and form our constitution, then they proliferate and become emanations of are essence. This is where true identity is born. We fool ourselves from freedom if we think it means getting rid of the constraints around us. This is the art of living - of self satisfaction - in a thread of lineage with our past, looking forward to our future, we need to deal with our present, and choose."
"The monster - The future is the monster not the boogeyman under the bed. The past is just something we're trying to outrun tomorrow. The monster is the future. The unknown. The boundaries not yet crossed. The challenge not met. The potential not yet realized. The dragon not yet tamed. On a one-way collision course with no turning back, the future, the monster, is always waiting for us and always sees us a-comin. So we should lift our heads, look it in the eyes, and watch it heed."
"To have style you have to have those in this order. You've got to know who you are before you know what you want to say then not give a damn. But knowing who you are is the base that everything else comes from. I've got more style now then ever before but I'm still adding to my style."
"Note to Self - We are not here to tolerate are differences, we are here to accept them. We are not here to celebrate our sameness, we are here to salute are distinctions. We are not born into equal circumstances or with equal abilities but we should have equal opportunities. As individuals, we unite in our values."
"When you can, ask yourself if you want to before you do."
"We must learn the consequence of negligence - it's not just what we do, it's what we don't do that's important as well. We are guilty by omission."
"Less impressed, more involved. The sooner we become less impressed with our life, our accomplishments, our career, our relationships, the prospects in front of us. The sooner we become less impressed and more involved with these things. The sooner we get better at them, we must be more than happy to just be here. All the mortal things I had been revering in my life, everything that I was looking up to in awe suddenly came down to eye level in front of me and all the mortal things I had looked down upon and patronized in my life, suddenly rose up to eye level. Now, the world was flat and I was looking it in the eye. It was time to trade in any red sports cars I still had. It was time to stop dreaming and start dealing. It was time for me to take care of mom, it was time for me to take care of myself. It was time to sober up from boyhood whimsy, it was time for me to get real courage. It was time for me to become a man."
"If Only - means you wanted something but did not get it, for some reason either by your own incompetence or by the worlds intervention it did not happen. Sometimes this is just the breaks and we need to bow out gracefully. More often than we care to admit we don't get what we want because we quit early or we didn't take the necessary risk to get it. The more boots we put in the backside of our "If Onlys" the more we will get what we want. Don't walk the "It's to late"/ "It's to soon" tightrope until you die."
"Made for the moment. We are all made for every moment we encounter. Whether the moment makes us or we make the moment. Whether we were helped less in it or on top of it. The predator or the prey. We are made for that moment."
"A roof is a man made thing. You ever choked? You know what I mean, fumbled at the goal line, stuck your foot in your mouth when you were trying to ask that girl out on a date, had a brain freeze on the final exam you were totally prepared for, lipped out of 3 foot putt to win the golf tournament, or been paralyzed by the feeling of "Oh my god, life can't get any better do I really deserve this?!" I have. What happens when we get that feeling? We clinch up, get short of breath, self conscious. We have an out of body experience where we observe ourselves in the 3rd person. No longer present. Now not doing well what we are there to do. We become voyeurs of our moment because we let it become bigger than us and in doing so we just became less involved in it and more impressed with it. Why does this happen? It happens because when we mentally give a person, place, or point in time more credit than ourselves. We then create a fictitious ceiling. A restriction over the expectations we have of our performance in that moment. We get tense. We focus on the outcome instead of the activity and we miss the doing of the deed. We either think the world depends on the result or it's to good to be true but it doesn't and it isn't and it's not our right to think it does or is! Don't create imaginary constraints. A leading role, a blue ribbon, a winning score, a great idea, the love of our life, euphoric bliss. Who are we to think we don't deserve these fortunes when they are in our grasp? Who are we to think we haven't earned them? If we stay in process within ourselves. In the joy of the doing. We will never choke at the finish line. Why? Because we're not thinking of the finish line, we're not looking at the clock, we're not watching ourselves from the jumbotron performing. We are performing in real time, where the approach is the destination and there is no goal line because we are never finished...reach beyond your grasp, have immortal finish lines, and turn your red light green because a roof is a man made thing. "
"Why we all need a walk-a-bout (Some time alone) - Noise to signal ratio. We are more constantly bombarded by unnatural stimuli than ever before. We need to put ourselves in places of decreased sensory input so we can hear the background signals of our psychological processes. As the noise decreases the signals become clearer. We can hear ourselves again. We can reunite. Time alone simplifies the heart, memory catches up, opinions form. We meet truth again and it teaches us. Landing on stable feet between our reaching out and retreat. Letting us know we are not lonely in our state, just alone. Because our unconscious mind now has room to reveal itself, we see it again. It dreams, perceives, and thinks in pictures which we now can observe. In this solitude we then begin to think in pictures and actualize what we see. Our souls become anonymous again and we realize we are stuck with the one person we can never be rid of, ourselves. The Socratic dialogue can be ugly, painful, lonesome, hard, guilt ridden, and a nightmare viscous enough to need a mouth guard not to naw our fangs into nubs while we sweat cold into feverish panic. We are forced to confront ourselves and this is good. We more than deserve this suffrage, we've earned it. An honest mans pillow is his peace of mind and no matter whose in our bed each night we sleep with ourselves. We either forgive or get sick and tired of it herein lies the evolution. Now with no where to run and forced to deal with ourselves, our ugly everyday suppressions break out of the zoo and monkey around. Where we find ourselves in the ring with them deciding "no more or let it slide". Whatever the verdict, we grow. It's us and us. Our always our only company. We tend to ourselves and get in good graces once again. Then we return to civilization able to better tend to our tendencies. Why? because we took a walk-a-bout."
"Prayer - God when I cross the truth, give me the awareness to receive it, the consciousness to recognize it, the presence to personalize it, the patience to preserve it and the courage to live it. First we have to put ourselves in the place to receive the truth. This noisy world we live in with it's commitments, deadlines, fix this's, do that's, and expectations make it hard to get clarity and peace of mind. Famous or not. So we have to consciously put ourselves in a place to receive that clarity. Whether that's prayer, meditation, a walk-a-bout, being in the right company, a road trip, whatever it is for each of us. Then after we've put ourselves in this place to listen to the gospel and hear their music. We then have to be aware enough to receive it and conscious enough to recognize it. It will arrive nameless because it is clear, omnipresent, unanimous, and infinite. It usually lands like a butterfly, quick and quiet. When we let it in, it needs no introduction. Then the relationship can begin and we need the presence to personalize it. This is where the anonymous truth gets intimate and autonomous. We ask ourselves what it means, how it's unique to us and why it's hear now? Then comes the harder part, having the patience to preserve it. Getting it from our intellect to our bones, soul, and instinct. We must pay attention to it, concentrate on it, keep it lit and not let it flutter away. This takes time, commitment and tendence. If we make it this far, after we put ourselves in the right place to receive the truth, recognize it as such, made it our own and preserved it. Then comes the cutagra. Having the courage to live it. To actually walk away from that place where it found us, take that truth with us into the screaming arena of our daily lives, practice it and make it an active part of who we are. If we can do that, then we are on our way to Heaven on Earth where what we want is what we need, where what we need is what we want."
"I've never cared much for destinations, the idea of landing is to finite for my imagination and sense of song. Give me a direction and a 16 lane highway with room to swerve and explore along the way. Like jazz I prefer to see life as a river."
"Great leaders are not always in front. They also know who to follow."
"What is success to me? Continue to ask yourself that question. How are you prosperous? What is your relevance? Your answer may change over time and that's fine, but do yourself this favor: Whatever your answer is, don't choose anything that will jeopardize your soul. Prioritize who you are, who you want to be, and don't spend time with anything that antagonizes your character. Don't depend on drinking the Kool-Aid It's popular, tastes sweet today, but it will give you cavities tomorrow. Life is not a popularity contest. Be brave, take the hill, but first answer this question, "what is my hill?""
"Time and truth. Two constants you can rely on. One shows up for the first time every time while the other never leaves."
"There's a difference between art and self-expression. All art is self-expression. All self-expression is not art."
"Relatively, we are livin. Life is our resume. It is our story to tell, and the choices we make write the chapters. Can we live in a way where we look forward to looking back?"
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