“Greenlights” by Matthew McConaughey was a thought provoking and inspiring read about a man’s journey through his life and career. He started with his small town upbringing in Texas and talked through his experiences with his parents tumultuous relationship and eagerness to earn his father’s respect. He lead us through a study abroad experience in Australia where what he thought would be a summer full of beaches, girls and fun ended up being a non-coastal awkward experience with an incredibly odd family.
While in school, he talked about making the switch from law to film and finding his style amongst his students who were drastically different than he was. I got a good laugh that his first words on film were “Alright, alright alright” as he met a director inside of an Austin hotel and landed the job in Dazed and Confused. I enjoyed hearing of his Hollywood experiences and becoming the go-to guy for lead roles in rom coms as he became wildly successful. I appreciated the risk he took, realizing that he no longer wanted to be that guy and turned down millions of dollars of work to adjust his Hollywood brand and pursue scripts that he was passionate about.
When he needed a break from the noise, he talked about his experiences floating naked down the Amazon river and wrestling tribal members in Africa, all of which he was able to find clarity from and know the direction he wanted to pursue next.
The takeaway for me is that we all have areas in our life that present “green lights” to us. These are opportunities that allow us to drive forward towards our goals and open the gate for living an adventurous and fulfilled life. We also have cautionary moments, or “yellow lights” and moments that stop us right in our tracks and prevent us from proceeding (“red lights”). From this book, I learned that it’s important that in those inevitable red light moments of life, we do our best to adjust, realign and find our way through it.
Overall, this was a great first book of the year and I would recommend it if you would like a fun short read about a life full of adventure and lessons learned.