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Hello, ladies and germs, boys and girls, lemurs and squirrels, all things under the sun. This is Tim Ferriss. Welcome to another episode of the Tim Ferris show, where it is my job to deconstruct world class performers, people who are excellent world class at what they do to tease out all sorts of things. Framework's questions. They ask favorite books, influences, you name it, lessons learned. My guest today is Texas native Matthew McConaughey. He is one of Hollywood's most sought after leading men.


A chance meeting in Austin long ago with casting director and producer Don Phillips led him to director Richard Linklater, who launched the actor's career in the cult classic Dazed and Confused. Since then, he's won an Academy Award for his portrayal of Ron Woodroof in Dallas Buyers Club appeared in more than 40 feature films that have grossed more than one billion dollars and has become a producer, director and philanthropist with his Just Keep Livin Foundation. All the while sticking to his Texas roots and J.K. Livin philosophy.


McConaughey also serves as creative director for Wild Turkey and has created his own Bourbon Long Branch. He serves as Minister of Culture MOOC for the University of Texas Athletic Department and the Austin FC Soccer Club, where he is part owner. McConaughey will launch his first book, Greenlights on October 20th, 2020, currently resides in Austin, Texas, with his wife Camilla and their three kids while he is a professor at the University of Texas in Austin. You can find him on Facebook, Matthew McConaughey on Instagram, officially McConaughey and on Twitter at McConaughey at the book's official website is greenlights dot com.


Please enjoy this wide ranging, extremely enjoyable and entertaining conversation with none other than Matthew McConaughey.


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At this altitude, I can run flat out for a half mile before my hands start shaking. Can I ask you a question now at the scene? Cybernetic organisms living tissue over metal embryos go to Paris, so. Matthew, welcome to the show. Good to be here, Jim. How are you, sir? I'm doing very well, and I have just an embarrassment of riches in front of me in terms of notes that I would love to to take some stab at covering even a portion of.


And I thought we could begin with a little back story for those people who know your work, but perhaps not your personal story. Let's paint a picture of your parents now. I was in preparation for this conversation, doing some homework, and I came across a quote of yours. Feel free to fact check this. Of course, this is from The Guardian. But it says, one of the great images I have of my father is on the phone with a cigarette at the airport on the payphone, always.


Headlam What was he peddling? Pipe and half pipe. What is what is that for those who don't know pipe and couplings.


So we were in the oil business and to drill, obviously pipe in the coupling, to connect the pipe, to drill for oil. So Dad was in the pipe and coupling business and he was he would call it peddling pipe, peddling no pediment Penland pipe. And that's what he did on the phone eight to six. And then he'd hit the road and go make personal appearances, trying to sell pipe. He started off as a truck driver, then owned a Texaco station down Uvalda.


We moved to Longview, Texas, in the oil boom. And within like six months after being in Longview, Dad had like twenty six employees under him. That's how big of an oil boom it was. And then obviously that business fell through, I think at around eighty two and he kind of held on from there. He was always, always pedlar. His line was great, he was always big and he never did it. He never went bankrupt.


And that was a piece of honor for him not to go bankrupt. But he was always after the oil boom, sort of busted. He was always like, boy, if I could just hit a lick, I just hit a lick. And he never did hit that lick. But if he had his Ellick is a big sale. A lick is a big account. A lick is OK, Mr. Gymkhana. Hey, I want all my pipe from you and we're going to drill two hundred thousand feet up above a bar.


And so it's a huge account. Oh my gosh. I'm going to supply all the pipe to this one large account. That would be like he never quite hit it.


So we're going to jump to the other track with Mom for a second here. And I'd like to have a conversation about or description maybe of mink oil. I would like to.


Could you tell us how how mink oil entered your life, please? Now, I would not be here talking to you right now if it wasn't for the oil of mink. Yeah, it was about how old was a fourteen, fifteen years old, ninth grade adolescence.


My mom starts pedaling and pedaling. My whole family was peddling something. My mom starts peddling this oil of mink product door to door sales. Look here, you put this mink oil on your face and it brings out all the impurities that you have. And once those impurities all come out, you then have clear, glowing skin for the rest of your life. That was sort of the sales pitch, right?


Well, I'm 15. I got a few pimples as any fifteen year old does. And one night my mom goes, well, you should use this all to make. I'm like, great, you're going, let me do that, sure. So I start putting this oil on my face every night before I go to bed and after about a week, I wake up and I've got more pimples than I had a week before.


And I check in the mirror.


I go to Mama as it's normally because that's exactly what I'm supposed to do, pull out all the impurities, keep doing it, stick with it. And so I just religiously keep put it on. Well, after two weeks now, I seem to be run into a problem here.


I've got I've got a whole face full of pimples and it's getting pretty severe. And I go back to mom, she's like, oh, wow. Well, you've just got more impurities than I thought you'd have. Just keep keep doing it. You're going to keep bringing out those impurities. I keep it up. Three weeks go by now. I've got full blown acne and I'm really concerned and my mom is staying on with it, going to stick with it.


All impurities coming out while I sneak off to a dermatologist on my own. And this was not my mom's recommendation. I sneak out there on my own and I take a bottle of this MAIKOL with a dark look on my face. This is what you put on your face. Show them these bodies. He reads the labels like, oh no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no. This is for someone that's like 40 year old or not a teenage child who's got oily pores anyway.


This blocking your pores, your pores can't breathe. You are ten days away from having ice pick holes in your face from acne. We've got to get you off of this, OK? Because we also have to get you on this stuff. Got Accutane. It's a year's worth of medicine. It will dry you up there, will have its complications, but it'll be better than than the acting that you collapse a bone. I get on the Accutane, off the oil of mink, and around that time my dad, who was always, as I said, peddling and looking how to handle it, looks at me as I damn well.


And I think we got a lawsuit against this company for them all in.


I mean, you're you're good looking. So let me look at you. You're all swollen up. So he takes me to see his lawyer. I remember the name of Jerry Harris.


So I'm sitting down with my dad and his lawyer, Jerry Harris. And you think we've got a case?


And he asked me, like, you know, did your confidence lower with these with these pimples? You've got this acne down back. Yes, sir. Are you doing as good with the girls? I said, no, sir. Not at all. He his eyes light up. And I can tell that even at my age 15, that he's building his case and he goes, emotional distress. You were under a motion. You are under emotional distress.


And I look at him and I'm like, sure, yeah.


Emotional distress and Jerry's. Gosh, Doug, we can get thirty five to fifty thousand dollars of emotional distress. Go a long way. Jim, my dad is like, hot damn that. Did that track fifty thousand dollars a way to go, son. And so Dad's getting all excited about this deal. We're going to make fifty thousand dollars off of my emotional distress. His youngest son.


So anyway, meanwhile, I'm on Accutane, takes a year to get clear up and you get scaley the dandruff and your knees hurt. You get slits in your mouth and everything else. But much better than this acne. And this jacketing starts clearing this acne up on my face. Well, as lawsuits go, you know, they drag on a while. So come two years later, I'm back.


And Jerry Harris office sitting across the table from the from the defense attorney. And now my act is cleared up, OK? And this lawyer sister.


And starts off the conversation with me and goes, oh my gosh, I must have been so emotionally distressful.


And I'm like, he's lobbing softball here. I'm going to knock this out of the park. Yes, sir. It was highly emotional, stressful. And he's like, I bet your confidence was down. I was like, he did it again. What's this guy doing? He's a horrible lawyer. He's dealing me up. Just knock it out of the park. Yes. It was so emotionally distressed, but my confidence was low. Wasn't doing well with the girls.


I mean, man, it was bad stuff, sir. And I'm sitting here thinking, we've got this case. Well, this dog so bogus, this Cheshire cat grin on his face reaches under the desk and pulls out this green yearbook. And it's got a page marked on it and put it over in front of me, turns it around and opened it to a specific specific earmark page and points to a picture. Now, this was the nineteen eighty eight yearbook for Long Beach High School, which now I was a senior.


And mind you, this lawsuit started back when I was a sophomore in this picture my senior year.


He points to it and said, who's there? And there's a picture of Comisar Spring's really beautiful lady girl. Eight year old with a sash across her chest says most beautiful. Well, arm in arm with her. And next to her is the named Matthew McConaughey with a sash of his chest. It says, Most handsome.


I says, I see that.


I squint my eyes. I'm like, oh, we just lost the case. I look up at him, the boy smiles and he goes so emotionally distressful.


Right. And we had lost the case and it was over. And I remember my dad him and held for four months.


Gosh damn boy, we were going to win fifty thousand dollars and you got to go off and win most handsome. You screwed up the whole deal, man.


Well, oil of mink and the McConaughey who chased litigation's but never quite went. That was another way of my dad trying to hit lick and I screwed it up by winning most handsome.


Was it true in your family I read this, of course, you can't believe everything that you read. Two things. Number one, that your parents were divorced twice, married three times. So they ended up getting up one more time. Then they got knocked down. Yeah, true. Number two, that saying I can't was forbidden or highly advised against. Very heavily. Heavily, heavily. I remember cusswords you could say shit, talk damn. And even occasionally maybe get away with the Lord's name in vain.


But no, you weren't really that was on the line. But the real words that we got like. Either punished for a war forbidden or hate and can't, and I remember my dad, I remember one Saturday morning when I was about 12, my Saturday morning, George would mow the lawn. We'd shine his shoes and sweep the porches and get the cobwebs out. Well, I'd get up very early on a Saturday morning to do that so I could have my Saturday afternoon to play.


And I went out to try and start our push lawnmower and it wouldn't start pull again, wouldn't start pull again. We'll just check the gas. It's got gas. What the heck is going on? Damn it won't start. And I remember going into my dad and said I'd go, Daddy, I can't get Tullamore started. And he kind of slowly turned his head to me and I saw his molars mate kind of started the greatest thing goes you what.


And I knew enough right then. Did not say the word again. And I said I. And he got up and I didn't finish my sentence. He slowly walked with me out of his bedroom, through the kitchen, through the garage, around the back to the shed where this lawnmower was that I was not getting started. He, without sin, already knelt down, looked at it, checked the gas. But anyway, he found the little tube where the gas was not transferring and it had been disconnected.


So. So he reconnected. That pulled a few times and it started. And there over a runner now running push lawnmower. He looked at me, put his hands on my shoulders, and for the first time since I said, I can't get it started. He put his hands on my shoulders, looked at me and very sternly said, Because you see seven. You were just having trouble from this lawnmower and boom, you know, and I remember from that day is that lesson was like, oh, even if you're unable to do something on your own, you can still go seek help or get assistance.


So you're still only having trouble even if you on your own, cannot do.


So that was a saying those words. Still to this day, if I let them slip, I kind of have to look over my shoulder like, oh, that can get me.


So there are many different forms of influences I'd like to ask you about one that is not your parents, not your siblings. It's a book that I've read you came across that had an impact in your life and that is the greatest salesman in the world by Augmentin. Could you explain for people listening why that book was impactful or what impact it had?


Both. Yeah.


So I've never been a big reader and growing up didn't read much and never really liked even in school, being told, hey, you got to read this book, you got to read this. Just the fact of being told I had to read something in school or by someone else sort of made it feel like it wasn't mine and that was not going to have a subjective view of it. And plus, I just don't like being told what to do.


But this came to me, this book, and I always say this, I didn't find it. It found me. And I'll tell you how and why. It was between my sophomore and junior year in college at University of Texas at Austin.


Now, at this point, I was always on the track to become a lawyer. I was going to become that defense attorney. I was going to become a better defense attorney and get some oil to make money, you know, I mean, get the family's oil to make money.


I was a good lawyer. I took good stances. They started off in the family. They're like, Jesus, man. You know, I would take the table and win arguments with the family and then like, but you got to become a lawyer. You got to become a family lawyer.


So that was always the plan. But between my sophomore and junior year in college, which is about the time when all those general liberal arts credits that you're getting need to have start having some focus or you're going to lose them.


Right now, I'm start not sleeping well with the idea of becoming a lawyer.


I'm doing the math. I'm like, I'm not sure it's what I want to do. I get out of here, I go to law school, then I get out and I start maybe get an intern. I'm really not going to be rolling in my vocation until I'm in my thirties. And I was like, do I want I don't really want to spend my twenties. Just learning or so my 20s just in school now, I had been riding a lot, been keeping a lot of short stories in my diaries and a lot of them which are in this in this book, Green Light.


But I didn't have the confidence to think that maybe I wanted to get in the storytelling business. And until a good friend of mine, Rob Vendler, who I think at the time was NYU Film School, who had been sharing some of these short stories with. You know, one, the phone goes, hey, you should think about, you know, getting in front or behind the camera, you know, you tell great stories, you got good character yourself.


You know, you're a good writer to try this out.


And I was always like, oh, no, no, no. I mean, that's that's like too avant garde to European, the artsy that can't do that. But he gave me the confidence to really consider it. Now I go to my fraternity house, the house into that sophomore year for sophomore exams.


I'm a studier. All right, I'm making I got a three point eight, two GPA. I like making my A's and any amount of time I've got to study, I will use it every single minute. There's never enough time for me to study. I go to the daily house and right behind it in a little bungalow is one of my brothers. And I eat lunch and I sit on his couch and I've got three hours before my exam and I open up my books to my psychology exam.


For whatever reason, for the first time in my life, I shut them and I go McCarney to myself. I go, You got this? You don't need study my. First time I've done that, I got three hours. I've been put on the TV. I love sports, ESPN. I watch cricket strongest man competition.


I watch two grasshoppers race for whatever reason. I just I'm not interested. I turn on the TV. I look over to my left, there's a stack of magazines, there's Sports Illustrated Playboys, and I'm like, jeez, I like sports, like checking out naked ladies in the Playboy. Let's check that out.


I pick up a Playboy flip through, thumbed through that half Azulay and all of a sudden lose interest in that. OK, what am I supposed to do here, that two and a half, three hours to kill?


Well, I start peeling back those magazines, Playboys and Sports Illustrated and everything else, and about seven deep in that stack of magazines to the left of the couch where I was going, I see this white paperback with this beautiful red cursive writing on it and it says, The Greatest Salesman in the world. And I remember reaching for it and aloud to myself saying, Who is that? I pick up the book and I start reading it again. I'm not I'm not a reader, but I start reading this book and all of a sudden I lose track of time.


And I've gotten past the whole prologue to the beginning of this first scroll in this book, which is I will form good habit to become their slave. Now, what this book had just told me had just taken me on a journey and said, you will read each scroll. There's 10 scrolls in this book, each scroll three times a day for 30 days until you move on to the next scroll. So it's basically a 10 month read. And I had gotten to the first scroll and had been now understood.


I now understood that the greatest salesman in the world.


Was whoever's going to read, so I was like, oh, that's me talking to me. Well, bam, I look up Oh my exams in 50 minutes. I got to go right ahead and go to my exam, a psychology exam. I ripped through that exam. I didn't care if I failed it. Something in this book and told me, now this book is what you need to be into right now. This book is going to give you confidence to go do what you need to do.


I ripped through that psychology exam and immediately go, I'm going to film school. I'm calling Dad night. I'm not going to go to law school anymore. I've got the confidence this book found me. This is a seminal moment in my life. I don't know how or why, but it is. And I'm going to get the courage to call my dad and go.


And that night, I remember thinking about it, Accommodator seven 30, Hilfe sat down maybe at his first cocktail party, had dinner, and he'll be in a good mood for me to say, you know, Dad, I want to go to film school. I think, well, I call him seven thirty six pm. Hey, Dad, I was up. Listen, I don't really know. I was nervous and I said, I don't think I wanna go to law school anymore.


I want to go to film school. That was hard for me to say because I thought he was going to go. You want to do what, boy?


What the hell?


But I want to go to film school. It was long pause on the phone about five seconds, and he says. You sure that's what you want to do, son? I said, yes, sir. There's another five second pause and he said. Three of the greatest words I've ever been told. Don't have AC. I remember going on don't half ass it, and I remember my eyes just lit up and I was like, Oh my gosh, I want my dad not only approved, he gave me a responsibility.


He gave me freedom. He gave me more than a privilege. He like sent me a flight and ending it with like not only do I agree and say, that's OK, son, I'm saying if you're going to do it, you better damn well go and do it well and don't half ass it. And I went down the next day, changed my course schedule that my GPA got me in a film school. Is that a three point eight to I didn't have any sort of art to show them and start off behind the camera and then ended up as I am now in front of the camera as well.


But that book. That day, that book, finding me and me, feeling like it was my secret and it came to me and no one told me here, you need to read this book, it'll be good for you. You supposed to read this? This is your for school or even a recommendation. It was not found. Me and I read that book that did exactly what it said. Morning, noon and night. And I read I've read it three times now that way.


But the first time I didn't miss one reading of that. I mean, and I had many a day where I went out in the morning on a Saturday in my day of whimsy, took me to a place where all of a sudden it was 10 o'clock at night and I was like an hour and a half from my house and the book was back at my house. And I'd be like hanging out, partying and going like, oh, jeez, and I would stop, eat something, get some coffee, drink a bunch of water, wait til whatever one 30 in the morning when I was time to drive and I would drive back to my place, grab that book.


And either read it and go to sleep in my bed or drive back to where I was hanging out with the book and read it. I didn't miss one single read for 10 months. And that book is the most instrumental piece of literature and motivation I've ever read for me in my life.


And now you've produced greenlights this book, which is, as you've described it, is not a traditional memoir or an advice book, but rather a playbook based on adventures in my life. And I want to hop to a particular portion of this book, which is also a scrapbook of sorts. It's very multimedia in that respect, even though it's in 2D, in book format. I want to ask you about a note. And this will segway into the practice of writing, since you've kept a diary for somewhere between 35, 40 years at this point, I believe.


Yeah, there's a note towards the end of greenlights from nine one ninety two to ten goals in life. This blew my mind. So I want to read these ten and then I want you to kind of place us in your life when you wrote these ten. And then I want to zoom in on a few of them. But let me just read these ten first 10 goals in life. Since nineteen ninety two one become a father to find and keep the woman for me, three, keep my relationship with God for chase my best self.


Five, be an egotistical utilitarian. That's going to be my first follow up question. Six, Take more risks. Seven, stay close to mom and family. Eight, Win an Oscar for Best Actor. Nine, Look back and enjoy the view. Ten, just keep livin. Where were you and when were you when you wrote these ten goals.


I was in a top bunk in the Delta top Delta house, I believe my roommate was Monty Wills. I'm still friends with today from Montgomery, Alabama, as the top bunk. I think I just probably was the end. It was the end of the night at nine thirty. I was just getting Naslund in for for a good night's sleep, so I just started. What was the date.


Ninety three was a month in the month and today that was September 1st.


The first. OK. Yes. So I just done I just finished dazed. Confused as to date two days after finishing. I just finished it. A job, a summer hobby, a thing that there were three lines written in a script. That I got cast in because I went to the right bar at the right time, met the right guy, read for Richard Linklater, said come on and started throwing me in seeing so three lines turned into three weeks work.


I loved it was getting paid three hundred twenty dollars a day. People were telling me I was good at it and I was running around going like, is this legal is so fun and I finish it.


My father had just passed away like two weeks earlier. Yeah. August 17th of that year. So I just finished a job that was a hobby that now that became a career I had just finished that. Think about if you do the math. I didn't think about till now.


I just finished that Augmentin or ten months of reading that book while other just passed away. I was just going through what that meant to me and what that what I felt like that should mean to me. And that's what the just keep livin comes from, to keep his spirit alive, even though physically not here keep things alive, that he taught me to keep me incentivized throughout my life, even though I couldn't rely on him personally being here to back me up with him.


And so I remember writing those goals down. And the thing is that when you start off this conversation going, I don't know what your what your your average rapper was about it, but I, I found that just less than a year ago in my diaries, and I never looked at it or remembered that I had written it. Since the day I did. That date on that list, I never looked at that list again, I wrote it that night.


And forgot about it, or at least I thought I forgot about it. I didn't, and that's the wild part, because somewhere subconsciously I obviously did remember it because so far I've accomplished those goals. And there's some very specific ones on there that I'm like, what? You know, I always thought even the acting part win an Oscar for best actor, this is a time I just finished days confused. I didn't know I was going to end up being an actor.


I still thought I didn't have the courage to even think I could pursue it as a career. At that time, I thought it might just be a hobby. I had a hobby for a summer, but obviously when I look back, I'm like, Oh, you did want to be you did want to be an actor and you wanted to be a damn good one. So I could admit it on my journal page, but I couldn't admit it to myself, how I couldn't even admit it in my dreams, but I could admit it on the journal pages.


So that's why I was those are so those are three big things going on in my life. And I'd say the most the biggest shapeshifter was father moving on and but that with finishing days and with finishing the greatest salesman. That's when I wrote that. That's quite a Venn diagram as far as a snapshot in time goes with those three sort of momentous changes, those transitions, if we zoom in on number five, be an egotistical, utilitarian. Do you recall what you meant when you wrote that one hundred percent?


I'd written a I later that next year, maybe it'll be my junior year. I wrote a lot of paper and essay and John Wayne goes west, the egotistical, utilitarian. And I guess it was me writing a story about a fictional character that I guess was based on me going west to Hollywood with the egotistical, utilitarian one always like, well, that's it. That's what the real profits are. That's what Jesus was up to, making decisions. That's that's the honey hole of when we are really can succeed or have satisfaction or live life the most truest, where the decisions we make for the eye, for ourselves, the selfish decisions.


Ah, actually, what's best for the most amount of people utilitarian are the eye where the eye meets the wheat, where the selfish is the self less, where what I need is what I want and what I want is the ego. What I need is the utilitarian. What I want is freedom. What I need is the responsibility and the interplay of those things. What I is the ego and utilitarian is the objective, utilitarian way that I was already starting to work.


And a lot of that these domestics are through the book because they're inherently how I see life and have for a long time. But that was I was like, oh, that's the ultimate human, egotistically utilitarian, where the decision one makes for themselves most selfishly happened to be the most selfless decisions as well at the same time. And where those two overlap and are one, that's the ultimate human. That was the pursuit. That was my belief that in why take more risks, we might come back to egotistical utilitarianism.


Why take more risks? Do you feel like at the time you weren't taking enough risks? Was it something you had learned about risks from your parents or other people? Why take more risks?


I think I was at that time seeing risk that I take really pay off the risk to in the bar at the top of the high that night to go down and introduce myself to Don Philip to be in a casting director of a confused who four hours later, at the end of the night after we got kicked out of the bar, says that you haven't done any acting. You might be right for this part. Taking that the risk to go and read for that part, the risk for Richard Linklater say there's nothing you're not supposed to be in this scene, you're not written in this scene, but you think Watterson would be in it?


The risk for me to go, oh, yeah. And just hop in the middle of the scene and improvise and play. Those risks were paying off. I was also beginning to feel the risk that I took reading that book, Very Salesman, the first book I ever read, cover to cover. And it's a thin paperback. Mind you, it takes 10 months to read, but that was a risk for me and I was feeling very confident with who I was.


I was also thrown upside down by my dad. Moving on now, I don't know if you've lost a parent, but is the son losing a dad you want to talk about forced into identity? You know, my dad being this sort of crutch just because he was alive and above government and above law was now gone.


I had no crutch. I had no safety net. All of a sudden I remember this very clearly is coming to me. And besides that, just keep living with keeping his spirit alive. I remember one of the first lessons of him moving on was I was and I carved this in a tree, carving this deeply in a tree for about three hours one night, less impressed, more involved. And that leads into taking more risk because I was like after Dad moved on, I was like, oh, all of these mortal things in life that I have a reverence for, even this point of just finishing acting and maybe having dreams of fame.


Wow. All these things that I revered that were mortal lowered down to eye level. And at the same time everything that I noticed that I was condescending or looking down upon or snubbing my nose that are going to that's that's crap or oh, they're no good.


I would like they raised up to eye level. And I remember going, oh, the world is flat. Your dad's moved on. You better look the world, the eye and by in the world flat. I saw further. I saw wider. I saw more clearly. I had more courage. I lost reverence for the mortal things that I had reverence for. I still respected them, but I lost reverence for them. So that gave me courage.


And I lost this sort of snub nose look at things that I thought were beneath me. And I empowered them and they raised up to my level. So all of a sudden, you know, that was a version where the I met the way for me, that was a version where what I looked up to maybe too much met what I was looking down on and it was right in front of me. And that was how I was also taking more risk.


I lost a lot of fear. I still had fear, but I gained a lot of courage to go meet my fears. And I didn't give enough credence to things that I probably shouldn't fear. I have too much reverence for because they were mortal. And I was like, well, what's that? That's reverence for fame. We're not taking a chance to go get what you want. That's a mortal fear. That's like putting a limit on yourself.


Why would you do that? I even called it a sin at that time not to take certain risk and would feel guilty if I didn't and feel like I didn't do my due diligence. I didn't. I didn't I didn't meet my quote that day in God that.


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Why did you start using a diary or what has that helped you to do or given you over your decades of doing it? Because I've spoken to many people on this podcast who journal often they have different forms of journaling, including a name we talked about very briefly before recording Josh Waitzkin.


Very different approaches, a very different reasons. What is it that you've gotten from having a diary? And maybe it's changed over time.


Yet it's evolved. I mean, my diary started off like I think most people's diaries. Do you write things down when you're not in a good place or you're lost? And my early diary entries were the the why what? Where when house. You know, the the existential questions of what is going on. Does it matter who am I? Oh, my God. This is my girlfriend broke up with me. I lost it started off with that.


So I noticed that I started writing down when I was in times of distress or disillusion. And then I started to. Say, well, wait a minute, you got it just like that, Augmentin, a book by hook or by crook, you read it three times a day. I was like, we were going to write my diary every day, McConaughey And so Wendy, Wendy, Wendy. Most of us, including me, not write in our diary when things are going great.


Oh, I got to figure it out.


I'm not I don't need to take time to go be introspective and write down my thoughts every day. Everything's a green light. It's great. Well, no, I said hang on a second. We're going to spend our life a diary of the original use of a diary to dissect failure or disillusion. I think there's some prudence in let's dissect success. Let's dissect what's going on when things are going well. Let's let's write in this diary. When you feel like everything's clear and you feel strong and confident, significant, and you feel like yourself.


So I started writing in my diary when things were going well and then started to map out certain things about found that what that did is when I would get in a proverbial rut, later, I could go back to that diary and look at what was I writing, what was I doing when I felt like everything was lickety split and I had it everything handled and I found consistencies. I found it from what I was eating to who I was hanging out with, how much sleep I was getting to beauties in the world that I was noticing and really were affecting me.


How I approached people, how is approaching today? How is approaching conflict? How is approaching and taking in things that work success? And I found consistencies. And so sometimes going back in those diaries, reading what I was writing when things were going well, would help get me out of a rut later on in life when I wasn't doing so well.


And I remember this early on in college.


It's a reason that my buddy, as I mentioned earlier, Rob Vilner, said you should go in the storytelling business as I was writing short stories, but I was also writing things down, idiosyncrasies of myself. I was really trying to get to know myself. I would always when I'd be in a movie theater, I always laughed. I thought the funniest jokes, I'd laugh. I'd be the only one laughing in the theater. And I've never thought the stuff that everybody laughed.


That was funny. The collective laugh I never even giggled at. I was like, Alan, very funny, but I'm glad Halis and no one else that was like no one else thinks it's funny. I'd say that in the theater I found that I cried at things that other people didn't cry at. Like I've never really cried at death. I weep at birth beginnings, I always have made me cry more the proverbial ends, so I started writing these things down and at first I was feeling like, Are you weird?


Is this odd? Is this is this OK? Can you be this kind of a person and got the comments go? Yes, you can. It's OK. But let's write down those things. Let's write down what makes you laugh. What makes you happiest. What makes you sad? What makes you angry. And don't worry, it's the collective choice of of the majority. Just what what does it mean to you and write those things down. And so that led to character.


I believe it led to my own character. It led to me being able to maybe go play different characters to understand and empathize with different people and have different people, have different things that turn them on and turn them off at different times.


Why greenlights? What is the concept or the intent behind using that word? What does it represent for you? Well, one, it's just a pretty cool title.


No, I mean, it's I mean, you know, I went through the be very earnest, but not very good student independent films of a freshman or sophomore student like I was. You know, we're trying to work out something existential or you want to sound really cool, like, you know, I went through forced winters, you know what I mean? Because I have in the book what I would call a lot of forced winter is, mind you, I call this covid Tamron right now a forced winter.


I had of my most creative times, came in my first winters of life, my year in Australia, abroad on my own, but forced winters, kind of a double negative. I mean, who wants to go open a book called Forced Winter?


I mean, so much more affirmative. And and I love verbs. I love words that that are verbs. Verb is the holy word, as I'm sure you know, and that it has affirmation. It has it's alive. And so greenlights, I notice, became a theme to the book because the metaphor of the yellow and the red lights that we have in our life, whatever those hard times are. I noticed in going through my diaries of thirty six years that things that were definite red lights in my life, hard times, yellow light to my life, interruptions, interventions, things that stopped my flow and got in my way, that at some point either sometimes immediately or decades down the line.


Revealed their green light assets in my life, I would argue my dad's passing was a green light. Now his dying was a literal red light. But as I mentioned earlier, I would not be the man I am right now. If he did not move on, I would have stayed lazy. I would have stayed more impressed and less involved. I would have not put myself to task and held myself and called myself to arms, to man up and be more honest with myself and look at the world more honestly and have more courage.


If he had not passed on because I would have had him as a crutch, I would have had this sort of subconscious reliance that, oh, if I really get an abortion, I still got that. I still got pop. He's my safety net. So his passing reveals green lights for me. So Green Lights became a theme and it became I notice that sometimes it's about persisting through something, enduring something. Other times, Tibet pivoting. Wait a minute.


I'm banging my head on the wall here. I'm basically living out the definition of insanity, trying to change something the same way over and over again. It's not changing. So I need to reapproach this. I need to back up and and maybe dance around the situation, dance around the problem to get what I want. And then other times I notice it's just you raise the white flag. You know what? I'm fighting for the wrong thing here.


This is going against my grain. This is not really what I what I want and need. So I'm going to live to fight another day and go find something else to challenge, to overcome. And so in those are methods in which I've been able to find green light. Sometimes I've got green lights and think we all do by just sheer straight ass denial. I'm going to write that line in that great lesson. It's wisdom I heard from the very old man one time.


Know, I've had many crises of thousands of crises in my life. Hell, most of them never happened. I mean that partially by just denying that there is a crisis, not being foolish with it. But some things I've just said, like I'm not even going to give that crisis credit, therefore it doesn't exist. That dart can't stick to me if you throw it at me. If I don't give it, if I don't even give credit that it's a dart, you know what I mean?


So so that's that's the green line.


I mean, ultimately, I believe that in the rearview mirror of our life, every red and yellow light will turn green. And that may not even be in this life. Tim, I think a lot of what happens for people in this life tomorrow, next week, next month, next year, 10 years from now on our deathbed. But I if it doesn't happen, then I think it can happen. In the next life for our kids or for our kids, kids, our grandkids, it's a lesson maybe realize three, five, ten generations from now it may become a green light for some hardship that we go through in this life now.


Well, there are a million directions we can go.


I have eight options, and that's my pick up.


Yeah, that's well, you know, that would make sense is as soon as you hear where I'm going with itself, there are a number of themes that emerge in this book which which I take to be, as you've mentioned, the playbook of sorts and helping you to either change your reality or change how you see that reality in the service of engineering or recognizing green lights of different types and the themes that I've written down here. I'm going to let you take dealer's choice on.


See, I'd like to pick one and and explore. So one outlaw logic to find your frequency. Three dirt roads and autobahns for I like the sound of this one. The art of running down hill five. Turn the page six. The Arrow doesn't seek the target. The target seeks the Arrow seven. Be brave. Come take the Hill eight. Live your legacy. Now where should we go first?


Goodsir. Oh jeez, these are fun. Look, let's start. I want to get to water running downhill because that one I know took a do. So maybe we should just start with that one and we should, we should maybe hit dirt roads as well.


Dirt roads and autobahns. It must do dirt roads and out of control quick because it's simple. It's a simple flip on the I think it's Robert Frost on the road. Let's take has made all the difference. Is that Robert Frost?


You know, I'm sure that my listeners or my team will tell us if it's not, forgive the malaprop.


But, you know, the quote, the road less traveled, the road less traveled has made all the difference. Right? Well, that always has been like take the dirt road. Don't go where the majority goes, you know? And I remember in film school, I was the frat boy button down, shirt, jeans and boots, handshaker, nonsensical love the sunshine. And I was in a class with a bunch of all of them. It was the Gothic group.


They all wore black t shirts. They they stayed in the shadows. They wore their shades. They kind of huddled in the back.


I remember one of our classes was one of the things was, hey, everyone, go see a movie this weekend. Come back Monday, talk about your movie. I've come back and talk about, you know, die hard. And soon as I started talking about what I liked about it, I maybe, like I said, stuff shit, man's corporate sellout crap and I'd be like, Oh jeez. And I remember, you know, they'd all gone to the Eisenstein Revival that weekend and we'd talk about that.


And I remember being really intimidated, going like, wow. Their artist. Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, I gotta I gotta I gotta untuk my shirt here a little bit. I got, I got to, I got to keep going outside and I got to not appreciate the sunshine. I got to quit singing out loud.


I got, I got, I got I got to get more Kamlesh in here and and just that was you going through that mental meditation on myself.


I remember coming back again another week after a week and we've seen the movie and I've gone to the multiplex again and seen a popular movie and brought it up. And of course, the catcalls from all the other filmmakers in the class and black ups are going, that's corporate shit. Nobody sees that there's a sell out. And I remember instead of backing down this time, I went, I went, wait a minute, did you see how do you know it's corporate shit?


How do you notice what makes you say that? And they all stopped and kind of started looking at each other and started stuttering. And then finally, one arm goes. Well, I mean, we didn't see it, I mean, we don't know, but I mean, we just, you know, and I went up, fuck you, man. I said at this time I thought, you've been seeing it and you've got you haven't even gone to see it.


So that was where it hit me. I was like, Oh. There I was thinking that the road less taken, you know, sometimes a dirt road, my dirt road was the autobahn of the multiplex.


They're their their dirt road, you know, would have been what would have been the same. They needed to go see that, go see a popular studio movie before just calling it off as nothing. Sometimes, you know, if they were to and I've had it in my life, someone say someone's an agoraphobic, they're dirt road is getting out. You know, someone who's a bit of a hermit or socially uncomfortable. They're Dirt Road is being an extrovert, go out, engage, practice.


So it's a flip on that, that sometimes it's the road less taken. Can be a dirt road. Yes. Many times the path less taken. And other times for some people, some of us in our times in our life, it's an autobahn. And sometimes, you know, I used to be so extroverted, I never would spend time with myself reading a book or doing introspection. Well, that was a dirt road for me to take some introspect.


Now, shoot. Sometimes I love being introspective so much. I like being in my darkroom writing more than I like engaging with people. Well, my dirt road sometimes now is like put the pen down to kind of get your ass out in the world and go engage in the daylight, get out there. So it changes force and sometimes durrel sometimes is not a and it is. Robert Frost. I can thank you Robert.


Yeah, they are. The other one that tickled you on the way down is the art of running downhill.


Now may I, may I actually ask a follow up to that dirt roads and Audobon. So it seems like if I'm hearing you correctly and understanding that it is a proactive approach to facing the discomforts that you may have or the hesitation that you may need to face, at least in part, it seems like that is part of the lesson. And the person who introduced us, Ryan Holladay, had encouraged me to ask you about stoicism, which seems to, in some respect tie into that, since many Stoics, at least historically, those people we've read about, would take periods of time to do the things that would lead them to discomfort.


Do you have any just as a side avenue here? Do you do you have any perspectives on stoicism?


I mean, I think I do. But you're going to I'm probably going to botch this up because I don't exactly know the vernacular of the Stoics as well as you and Ryan do. I will say this as other book obstacles. That is the way and I touch on this in my book a lot in my own way. Look, the need for resistance, the need to choose the right. Harder challenge the need to choose the harder decision for the right reasons, the need to choose the obstacles for which to overcome or at least attempt to overcome is very, very wise engagement.


The need is I talk about in my book, what have you done to get away and go off on your own and be stuck with yourself, even if it's the worst fucking company you've ever had. That is a good thing to do. There is a good valuable Pinart. There are green lights in that, forcing your red lights and pushing yourself into the red light of being stuck with the only person you can't get rid of even though you hate him.


And yes, I use that word and I've had those times and in those times of groveling and discomfort and I can't sleep and I'm throwing up and I can't get the monkeys off my back. And I got the guilt and oh my God, I'm lost. But I've got nowhere to go. I got no one to reach out to. I don't have a phone. I have a car. I got a friend will going through that those sleepless nights and going.


When is this going to end? And going through well. All right. Hey, what are we going to forgive and what are we going to say enough so fuck enough and we're changing that our lives and let's shake hands on this, because you're the only son of a bitch I can't get rid of.


Let's if you don't mind, I want to take it.


And this is just the nature of my perhaps unfocused, perhaps nonlinear mind. We're going to come back to the idea of running downhill. I will not forget. But you're talking about you were talking about the paying the penance of spending time with yourself, the red light of solitude that can create green lights. Why did you write this book, as I understand it, or you went away to the desert by yourself for 52 days without electricity? Is this true?


The first twelve days with no electricity, the other 40 were limited electricity in places, but it was five different trips I took to to solitary confinement each time. So I spread it out. I had to come home and take care of some some honey dos and check in with the family, make sure everything was running good at the homestead before my wife sent me off again and said, get out of here and I'll come back to you.


Got some solitude. Seems to be also a through line, at least a practice of sorts. Yeah. Any other commentary on on solitude? And in those moments when you're spending time with yourself, which I guess is all the time. But I want to know, do you have in your inner monologue a difference between when you say your last name to yourself and your first name, or do you ever use your first name when you're talking to yourself? I know you know a good question.


Well, every day with the best of the the best thing for my taste in the future is what Mike Tyson once is. Yeah, I've thought about that. It's a fun thing to talk about yourself in third person, but when you're in a Socratic dialogue, you've got to give your other self your name. And I guess I'm a kind of a and and you know, these dialogues. Let's talk about those you know, that old adage, oh, don't talk to yourself.


What? Bullshit new talk to yourself. What I think we need to remember to do is when we're asking ourselves these questions, just make sure we answer if all we're doing is ask ourselves questions, but never coming up with an answer, well, that can lead to some very imbalanced insanity at times.


That's a really, really important point. I just want to pause to let that sink in for people. So please continue. But that is so, so important. Just looking back at my depressive periods that I've experienced, it's what I'm asking a lot of questions and not actually taking the time to sit down and write down the answers or think about answers. Yeah.


Or force yourself to remain in the discomfort of the questions. Instead of going, I give her where's the bottle or where's where's some attention or, you know, where's where where something some entertainment, where's the TV? I mean, so I can get my mind off of it. Don't a situation. Don't abort the times when we got the questions.


Now, mind you, you know, I've had to you know, in some of those times when I'm going off and I know it's going to be a I'm going to don't know how long it's going to be till I come out the other side.


I've had to take a helmet and a chinstrap and a mouth guard and put padding on the walls, you know, because I knew it was going to be a wrestling match with the me in the ME.


So and I've checked the floor before.


It's nice when you go off to do these things to go, let's check the floor, make sure there's no broken glass where let's remove the sharp objects because this is going to get four dimensional and you know, so but to stick in there with it and to go through the withdrawal of the not knowing to go through the draw all of the questions and I don't mean withdraw from it from a substance, go through withdrawal of not getting along with yourself is a great thing to do.


And it's hard for a reason. But again, that goes back to what you said. Stay there to answer it. What do you get an answer? Wait, do you either figure out what you're forgiving and figure out what you're going to do, what you had enough of, what you're like?


No, I'm not putting up with that part of myself anymore. We're not going to keep being repeat repeat offender on that kind of. Hey, Tim, you know what I mean? And we're going to change. And then all of a sudden there comes some grace. You come out the other side car, OK, now I'm stuck with my buddy, the one I can't get rid of. If we're going to do this, at least we shook hands.


And you're not perfect. But we're moving forward.


We've evolved a little bit because of this time that we forced to spend with ourselves to answer those or stick with it or to evolve the conversation from where it was when you first went into solitude. At least, you know. So I'm a fan of people talk of themselves and say, remember to answer yourself. You know, if you have it one way, it's not a Socratic dialogue.


Unless you can respond to the art of running downhill. What is the art of running downhill?


OK, so I get successful.


I got major fame very quickly after a Time to Kill came out the film I did in ninety six and I mean from the Friday Friday afternoon before it came out to the Monday after the weekend it came out my whole world was inverted. The world all of a sudden was one big mirror. I never meet strangers since that day it was inverted.


I mean that Friday afternoon before Time to Kill comes out. There's one hundred scripts out there I want to do I want to do all are you kidding me? I'll do any of them. Well, ninety nine no, you can't one of them, yes, you can. Well, no matter two days after that film opened that weekend and did well, that script, it was yes, you can do ninety nine one. No. So I was like, whoa, two days ago I would have done any of these and could only do one.


And now it's only two days later. Richard tell me. I can do ninety nine of them. Help me. Discernment discrimination. Can I make a choice. Who am I. What I want to do. There's only twenty four hours in the day is last I checked. I need more. So I was a little imbalanced, overwhelmed. I didn't have my feet, my soul on the ground and there were times that. And I also remember that same lawyer.


I talked about all the story, Jerry Harris. I remember him telling me he reached out and talked to him for years. He read that and he goes, Hey, man, do you from a small town in Texas, you came through Longview, Texas night. You went out there. Now you're famous Hollywood star, and you got all these things to make sure you don't suffer too much from the non deserving complex. That happens to some people that get real successful from sort of humble beginnings, and it made a lot of sense to me because I was noticing.


That, you know, in the name of obstacles being the way I was creating obstacles for myself, some of them very unnecessary meaning, here's my life, I'm successful, I'm Roman, I'm catching green lights. I'm going I'm rolling downhill.


I very less than gracefully handled some of my success. I would become belligerent at times. I didn't become belligerent trying to always say this. Don't you know it's OK to have a point to prove to don't always be trying to prove a point. I had many times where I would try to prove a point, you know what I mean? And it was my own insecurity with my own self trying to find some balance in this. It was me. I've seen the mendacity of all these people in Hollywood all of a sudden saying, I love you.


And I'm like and I've said that for people in my life. And everyone says that they're full of shit.


That is the image I was taking things personally even and sort of sabotaging some of the red carpet, wine and caviar that was being handed to me, you know what I mean?


And I was slipping to some of my more banal self at times and doing a proverbial faceplant, meaning I'm running downhill. And since this is all easy street, I need resistent. So I think I'm going to trip myself and faceplant and break my right into the concrete so I can break my nose so I can go there I go now.


I'm earning it now. I feel it now. I've earned it. Now I deserve it. Now, that can be a little foolish. There's an art to going down. And so what I noticed was, oh, hard times are going to come. It's going to get dry. You're not going to be able to do whatever script you want to do. I've had rough times or in a relationship we go through, it doesn't go well or someone gets sick in the family.


A real uphill battle enters our life. And so they are running down hills about a. Enjoy it when you're going down, wind downhill. Don't trip yourself because that uphills common, it's going to be it's going to come whether you want it to or not. So don't trip yourself and face plant right now because you're going to have to work your ass off here very shortly.


Anyway, let's talk about perhaps an uphill perhaps a pause, perhaps something else which I'd love for you to comment on, which did come later. And that was a decision which I'd love to explore, to say no to quite a lot of opportunities for a period of time. It seems like at one point you were very successful. You became very famous, like you said, practically overnight.


You're being offered opportunities you couldn't have imagined a week prior. And you have a string of successes and then you realize, well, wait a minute here. I might be getting painted into a corner and you start to say no, you start to turn down, say, action, film opportunities with big paychecks, things like that. Yeah. Was that hard to do? Did other people say that you were doing the right thing and encourage you? Could you walk us through and just tell a story about that experience?


Love to.


So this is around. I don't remember the year. I'm guessing it's around 12, 13 years ago I was rolling with the romantic comedies.


I'd taken the baton from Hugh Grant and was the the male lead rom com go to guy rom coms or mid-level budgets. Thirty, thirty five million. They offer a good front end pay cheque to me. They go make 60 million. I mean the studios don't have to overspend and spend hundreds of millions of dollars to make them. You get a good female to male lead that have good chemistry. People love to go escape to Marong. Comes are doing well.


They were my bank, they were what Hollywood banked on me to be in. At the same time, I'm living in Malibu, learned to serve, got my shirt off and the paparazzi are Discovery Channel as I was documenting this. And I'm like, damn right documented. This is the life I'm living. I love it. I worked and earned to get this life and those romantic comedies that I get paid so handsomely for actually pay the rent at the house on the beach that I live in, in front of this water that I'm surfing it.


So I was full on shaking hands with one. Yes. At the same time I did notice that. Any other dramas I wanted to do or even the way people sort of when I said don't meet strangers anymore, even in this sort of people thought of me or approached me or talked to me or about me, there was no consideration. It was it was it was like Macanese, the shirtless rom com guy. And I was like, yeah, I am.


And I'm. But they're only I could answer that second question of and I'm I only I can continue that, that that since no one else could really Hollywood for sure was like, no, nothing else. And so in dramas, I wanted to do other pictures. No one wanted to make it with me. And I remember I just we just had Levi come on.


I just had our first son. And my life was so vital, man. I just had a newborn. I've met the woman that I love and want to spend the rest of my life with laughing harder. I'm crying harder.


I'm happier than ever. Life is very vital. And I'm in my real life is. But my work feels like and yeah, I could do that tomorrow morning, just give me the script tonight. Let me look at I could do it tomorrow. It wasn't really challenging me. And the rom coms weren't challenge me. And my lifestyle was one big green light. And to me, it's all green lights, it's all sugar and candy will make tyrants anybody.


So I was saying, oh really? I wish my work could. I remember saying this at least I remember looking in the mirror actually. OK, so if your life is more vital and true to who you are than your work, well, it's got to be one or the other. That's a good thing, because I know a lot of people that their work is more vital than their life. So that's a good thing I said. But jeez, can I just get some work that might challenge the vitality of my life and the man I am in it where I can get some work, I can be more me in it.


Well, those roles were not being offered to me. Nothing? Nope, not a chance. We won't know Studio Banku in this drama role or this other role you want. I had control of Dallas Buyers Club at that time, but no one wanted to make it for me. Nobody would finance it.


So I decided that if I couldn't do what I wanted to do and what I wanted to do was not being offered to me, it would be prudent for me to just stop doing what I had been doing and what was in the pipeline continually coming to me, which were the romantic comedies I called my money manager, said, look, I'm going to stop doing the only work I'm getting offered. And I don't know how long it's going to be till I work again.


How am I doing my money? He says you've invested well, conservatively, you're fine. You can take time off. I remember. Call my agent, Jim Toth at CAA. Jim, I don't only do romantic comedies, I remember this conversation goes great and I go, wait. Well, what do you mean great? Because great. I go, how do you say that so quick? What are you going to say Monday morning when you go into your superiors in the office and say McConaughey is not doing romantic comedies and McConaughey has been bringing a nice chunk, a 10 percent commission into you guys with these romantic comedies for years now?


And he said the cool thing to me, because I don't work for them, I work for you.


That's that's a good line in the line.




So then it was I went to Comilla life and I had been shed quite a few tears with her going through this, you know, am I feeling fraudulent? My work? I feel a lack of significance in my work. Do I feel like, you know, is it OK to be feeling this? I mean, like I said, no, I'm as we said earlier, I'm I'm kind of going running downhill. Why would you sabotage not doing the work?


You're getting off what? You can get paid so handsomely to do it. But she understood that my soul was shaken and needed some recalibration and that the work I was doing wasn't a true sort of expression of who I was in my life. And I was I told her, I said, well, I want to get hold out for some work that can challenge the vitality of the life that I'm living with. You and our son Levi. And she repeated the lines to me.


She goes, OK, you're going to get wobbly. I've been around you. You got to work, Matthew, and you love to accomplish. You're going to get wobbly. You might start, you know, reaching for a little sip of something to drink earlier in the day. Do you know what she's like?


She goes. Days are going to be longer, we don't know how long this will last, how long will be in this. She called it a desert. How long? This will be a desert. She goes, but if we're going to do this. If you're going to do this. We're not going to have Fassett. She repeated my dad's line to me and I went, yes, ma'am, gave her a hug for tears on her shoulder and we said, starting today, no more rom coms.


Well. Rom com offers came in to my agent for about the next six months, but nothing but rom com offers and I didn't even unless it was a major offer, I just said no.


And they stopped at my desk, Jim. No. And then one of them came through. That was like a gargantuan offer for it. And my agent said it's a pretty damn good script, too. And so I said, we'll send it out. Let me read it. And I remember this.


The offer was like for. Eight million dollars and the script is pretty good, but it was still good, Veronica and I remember reading it and going. No, thank you. I remember feeling sort of emboldened and strengthened. No, thank you. Great sticking to my guns. No rom coms six months into this drought. Not not cave it in now. Don't half ass. I'm a guy. So they come back with a ten dollar offer. No, thank you, they come back with a twelve point five million dollars.


Now I go. Dot, dot, dot, ellipsis. No, no, thank you. Come back with a 15 million dollar offer. Why? You know what? Let me have another reread of that script.


And I read that a lot at 15 million dollars, the same script that I've been offering for me, not the 50 million dollar offer script, which was the same exact words as the eight million dollar off script. The 50 minute script was better.


It was funnier. It had possibilities.


It had angles. I had ideas. I could make this work. I mean, this could work.


Now, I'm imagining at this point, Jim is like man saying no thing is really working out. He's in and he's over there teetering like I know what we said, but. And it's not like a pretty good script. I know it's rom com, it's a pretty good script, but I said no, no thank you. Well, that got the signal across Hollywood that McConaughey was taking a serious sabbatical. And so don't even send him a rom com.


It got around.


So that was kind of the crucible then. I mean, that was like the crux move in a sense. In a way, that was that was a yeah. I called an audible six months in and that had him thinking I might cave, I might just be posturing and come on back. McConaughey, we love you. And I said no. And when they pump the money, offer up so much and people new in the industry, what that offer was, it became very clear.


Oh, oh shit. OK, we kind of I don't know what he's doing, but he ain't doing this stuff we don't do anymore rom coms and it became clear. So for the next two 12. Fourteen months. Nothing came in nada, zilch. Not an offer for anything. I mean, I talk to my agent every couple of weeks. It'd just be like nothing came in. Nothing that 20 months into this desert. Period. I do have my son to raise which being a father has always been the most important thing to me, so that that's got my compass at least directed in a place that I go just trust in this.


If it has something to do with raising your son and being here on the land with your family, that even if you start to wonder, just trust that that's always going to be in the asset section, you can't go wrong with that.


So I stuck to that and I was now fine with not doing any work. I didn't know what I was going to be. And, you know, if I was going to change my career, if I was going to become a teacher, coach or go back to being a lawyer, I didn't know. I didn't think so. But I was writing more. I was talk about forced winners. I had put a forced winter on myself and I was pretty content.


I wasn't waking up every morning and go to an offer, come in, did something new come in? I was past that. And then all of a sudden 20 months in twenty, twenty one months into this desert talking to offers that are interesting things. William Friedkin killer Joe the Daniels paper boy, Jeff Nichols wrote Mud for me. Steven Soderbergh called Magic Mike Richard Linklater and I go do Berney together. True detective comes around all of a sudden Dallas Buyers Club.


No one still wants to, you know, put a bunch of money up for a 1980s period drama about AIDS. But all of a sudden, McConaughey, all the directors were no directors, would do Dallas Buyers Club with me. They wanted they wanted the script. They loved the script. They don't want to do it. All of a sudden, we find John Mark fellow who want who says, no, I'd like to do with McConaughey. So what happened was that twenty to launch order at that drought at Desert I un branded.


I didn't rebrand unbranded, maybe in a way, me being in Texas, not being on a beach. Getting pictures of me shirtless on a beach, not being a rom coms, I was out of the world view, I was out of the industry's view. I was not in your living room. I was not in your theater. I was not in any of the places that the world would become expected to see me and how to see me.


Where was I? I was gone. Where is McConaughey? Where you're gone long enough. All of a sudden I became a new good idea. Which I was not a good idea at any time earlier than that at the end of that 20 month period, and then all of a sudden the things came to me that I wanted to do. And I remember saying, you know what, fuck the bucks. I'm going for the experience. If I read a roll that shakes me in my boots and challenges the vitality that I feel in my own real life and challenges me, the man I am in my own real life, that's what I'm going after.


And man, they came in, come in. I looked at each other, shed some more tears, and she said, let's get after it. And I just started hammering. The family came with me everywhere I went and just started laying down work that really, really turned me on.


So I want to dig into a few follow up questions here to your wife, probably with some sage foresight, although I'm guessing said you're going to get wobbly. Days are going to seem longer, but reach for that bottle a little earlier than you would normally.


What were some of your practices or some of the inputs that helped you to either stave off getting wobbly or to recover when you did get wobbly?


Good question. Look, my family I mean, my mom, my brothers supported me. They thought I was plumb crazy for, you know, turning down that 50 million dollar offer and sitting there going, like, what are you doing? They thought I really was face planting while running. Well, having a downhill ramp to run down.


They were like, who in their right mind would. You're not working. Do you like that? I was like, yeah, that works easy. Like and they're offering you what the hell is your problem? But they knew they knew that I was like. You know that I was a thinker, they've known that since long before that, that I took myself in those circumstances seriously and that I was doing some soul searching and that and they thought, oh, then they were like, that might make sense to us, but we get it, little brother.


You know, you're right. Good luck. So they did support me. I'll say this, this this helped. We had a very real crisis in the family with someone in my family that needed all of my attention and all of my time, meaning one of those real red lights that entered our life, a real crisis that a real uphill battle entered, which gave me a large sense of purpose, necessary purpose, like is not what is. One of the unequivocal things you don't question is like, if I had gotten any job I wanted in Hollywood, have a script to go act at that time, even then I wouldn't have done it.


Going through this family crisis. This was paramount. It was unequivocally the thing to take care of. So as you probably know, the death of someone in a family or a real family crisis that will sober you up. And I don't mean so be it from the bottle that'll sober you up from missing any sort of again, the scripts at that time, movies making movies. That was a mortal thing. Dealing with this family crisis was an immortal thing.


So I became very involved with handling this family crisis. And that is where my identity was. That coupled with. My son's been raised to brand new day for him every single day he's getting to know me. How awesome is this that I get to have this time because I know I'll go back and do some work somewhere, somehow, later, and it's not going I'm not going to have this time. So let's lean into the assets of being forced to live with your son.


You're building a home with a woman you love and you've got this family crisis that you're dealing with, which is bringing you close to your close back, even closer to your blood family.


So I was finding purpose in all of that and. You know, as it usually happens, as it as it was getting to the point where a lot of activity comes in, I'm not even thinking about it if any work comes in. I really care. Of course, that's about the time that the word comes in. You've traveled very unorthodox path in many respects. What are some of the biggest misconceptions, if any? What are common misconceptions about you that you hope or that you could clarify either right now or or through the pages of this book?


Are there any of there any any misconceptions, positive or positive or negative? Yeah, I mean, look, one misconception, I think, which it used to concern me more so than it does now, is that mankind had a lot of people think that I sort of like just wake up in the morning and go roll out of bed and say, all right, where's my mark? What are we doing? What's what's this scene about? What's life about what's responsibility or what is.


Oh, OK. Yeah, a lot of people think I was doing it.


And the truth is.


Like I was telling you earlier about me being a studier and legwarmers, I am a preparer. I that's I know a lot of my success and satisfaction have come from being majorly prepared, and when I'm majorly prepared, I prepare so I can. So it's not work. When I get in the game, I prepare. So that's the work. My work is pre game. When I'm in the game, I am what I'm best at being in the game.


I am that guy that looks like I just woke up in the morning. Just, Hey, what's up? To make it look easy comes from the preparation. So I daily prepared. Now whether it's work or trying to be the best man I can or be the best husband or the best father, I'm constantly trying to work on that. You know, I have the same with and now you read in the story of my mom and dad are very physical and oftentimes violent, loud relationship and divorced twice.


Married three times me. I don't remember the last time I raised my voice to my wife. Or kids, because for me, if I even get to the point where I have to raise my voice or I get, you know, start to feel like I'm a snap, I immediately my threshold goes to whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa. What did you not handle up to this point? Macci to let it get to this?


There's you left some crumbs somewhere.


In your position as a husband, a father or a man to get to this point, so let's not start let's go back and deconstruct how we got to this point even feel like this, because you dropped the ball somewhere along the way to this bill.


And I have a pretty short threshold for that feeling of whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, let me recalibrate. I mean, let me let me take some stock and how I got to this point, because I feel like I'm about to snap or feel like maybe going to raise my voice. So, you know, that's some recalibrations that I inherently and instinctually I don't if I say I practiced some, but I just that's where my head and head and heart goes.


Is that it does.


It does. I think that, you know, what are the sort of gestalt impressions of the book, which is, I mean, really, really fun and very delightful. I mean, so congratulations on the book. It's not easy to do of it. And the Gestalt impression is that you take introspection and maybe this isn't the right way to phrase it, but you take introspection seriously. And you practiced a lot of introspection. So you've been able to take these moments that otherwise might be lost in the slipstream.


Those moments of success where things seem to be going well, the lows and you've trapped them like flies in the amber so that you can look at them later and even look at them like a flip book so you can see the trends that take you in one direction or another. And then that is that is not common. So I'd like to just ask one or two more questions that.


Yeah. That I mean, I'm trying to get when I think we're all trying to get, which I actually and let's talk about this, because I do think it's common that we all want more I. Yes, A.l. On ourselves and is there any less boring or vital or immediate, entertaining and angering and interesting subject than us on ourselves to create? I mean, I'm trying to I know I'll never do it, but I'm trying to find some themes that support a science.


To be satisfied and and I think we can all uncover those in our lives by our habits, like I said earlier, looking at your diaries when you were writing a diary, when things are going well, this success as well as failure, there becomes certain themes that become like, oh, it's kind of reliable.


I have more satisfaction, I am more me, I get more what I want. I am a better man. I'm a better woman. When I am acting and doing these things, going to these places, thinking this way, eating this, spending time with these people's thinking, these thoughts. There's a science to it, I don't think I'll ever get it, but, man, what it's an incredibly fun landing, but what a riddle. Yeah, to keep trying to figure out that will be never ending.




It's like keeping track of plays in the game of life. I mean, it's yeah. I have to have the ability to look back at it.


So if you were to have a billboard, metaphorically speaking, to get a message, a question, an image, anything out to billions of people could have paragraph, could be a word, anything non-commercial, what might you put on that billboard? Great question. And it's one that when I like to say I think about all the time, because I do have a marketing mind, every two words with a question mark behind them, I value questionmark, Tim.


I don't know how to make systemic change. I don't not that interested in politics seems. Does it seem like the right. I don't know category maybe for those kind of leadership that I want to listen to or in some way some form to be myself? It seems to me that that the common denominator or the bipartisan, non-denominational, solid stepping stones for us to evolve as a species, as a nation and as individuals. Is based on values, the fundamental principles that we can all agree on.


I don't care what side of politics you're on or what religion you are, but what do we value? What do we really value? We all want to be relevant. Well, let's ask. Relevant for what? Yeah.


Before we want to be relevant. Let's let's let's. And what are those values that we can go. Oh that's yeah. If I act that way. If I'm kind in that way. If I'm accountable in that way. If I have a sense of humor in that way, how is that a very selfish act. Because it's good for me, good for my ego. Fills me up, pays me back is my mailbox money is me green in my future but it also gives you mailbox money, gives you it gives other people, it gives others residuals and our futures compounding asset.


And I think we just we need to work on and have fun understanding that, that the things we do today, the choices we make, are combating assets to what where we go in the future. And if we have make more valuable choices and give more respect to the competence of values, our own personal values, we're buying more R.O., we're creating more green light in the future for ourselves and others.


I value questionmark. Very important statement right there and question. And I agree with you about the values and the also for what the the relevant. Yeah. What it's such an important focusing modifier to adjectives. They get thrown around very commonly.


And you know that there's another line in there that I have.


It's based off that genes being pressed or is when we can ask ourselves if we want to before we do. Mm hmm. That goes along with yelling, be relevant, what weight relevant for what you know? I mean it just because we can and maybe we're in a position of influence where we get an option put in front of us that we never had before. You know, like I said, time to kill. Ninety nine scripts I couldn't do yesterday.


And now today you tell me I can do all of them.


What? Well, let's be discerning and ask ourselves, do I really want to do that?


No, it's the first time I have the ability to or the first time it's been laid in front of me that I have the option to do that. And I'm sure I'm happy about that. But before I do it, let me ask myself, what do I really want to do from the story about have my jeans pressed?


I was so damn happy. I had a housekeeper for the first time and she pressed my jeans. I was like, wow.


And then I had a friend tell me, well, that's great if you like your jeans pressed.


And immediately I went, Oh shit, I don't like it when I ask myself if we want to before we do. And yes, we seek relevance. But let's ask relevance for what?


Well, Matthew, you are one hell of a storyteller.


You're a fun guy to talk to some at some point, maybe separately, I'll ask you about what they put in the groundwater in Texas for this story, because you Marikar I don't know what it is, but that's another conversation for another day. Your books official website is Greenlights Dotcom. Very easy for people to remember on Facebook. You are Matthew McConaughey, Instagram official, McConaughey Twitter at McConaughey and I will include links to everything in the show, notes for people at Tim blog podcasts so they can find everything that we've talked about.


Is there anything else that you would like to say, share, ask, recommend with those people listening before we come to a close? Sure.


It came from conversation Richard Linklater and I were having some years ago, and it came out of just a verbal ping pong that we did. But what I think is we all should could use right now. And I need to remind myself of it daily, especially in these times where it's tough in ways that for ourselves that we understand sometimes we don't understand. It is tough in ways for for everybody, in ways that maybe even they don't understand and we probably don't.


So everyone can use a little bit of amnesty right now. And what I mean by that is this. If you're not sure how to respond to a situation, can you just make sense of humor, the default emotion?


Can we just have a little more humor and give each other a bit of a break right now? It's tough times. Let's be for each other right now instead of against each other. And sense of humor does not it does not get rid of the truth, does not get rid of the problem, does not get rid of the challenge. It actually reveals it sometimes in the most truthful ways we can laugh. That didn't have some humor through the tears and humor, through the pain and not laugh at someone else's expense, laugh at our expense, all of our human existence, experience when we're doing the best we can and for not what we.


Let's help somebody try to hear.


Hear. Well, thank you so much, Matthew. This was this is an incredibly enjoyable conversation and super fun for me, Tim.


I really enjoyed it and love to do it any time. Yeah. I guess I would love to do around to some sometime.


Maybe if you and I were in proximity in Austin, we can do a 20 foot social distance. So TBD. But your first book greenlights is so unexpected. It is so fun. It is a romp through your mind, a romp through the turns and twists and learnings of someone who has had an unorthodox path and on top of that documented so much for decades. It's it's it's a rare combination. So I encourage people to check it out. And for everybody listening, we'll have notes to all things we've discussed in the show, notes Tind Unplugged podcast.


And until next time, thank you for tuning in.


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