While the actor is mostly known for his comedic and often hard-hitting roles, there’s more to Matthew McConaughey that meets the eye. In fact, his latest book Greenlights not only provides a glimpse into the Academy-Award winning actor’s past, but it also sheds insight into his fortitude as well as how he overcomes obstacles.

In a recent interview with The VeryWell Mind Podcast, the 51-year-old shared his thoughts on how to manage your struggles, as well as recognizing and taking full advantage of the ‘greenlights’ in your life.

Matthew McConaughey: Greenlights in Life and Mental Strength

In his book, McConaughey explains the idea behind the ‘greenlight logic’:

  • Green – You might want to keep going
  • Yellow- Maybe be more cautious on your journey
  • Red- Possible take a completely different route

Granted, McConaughey admits that he’s not an optimistic person. However, he points out that as humans, we should try to look and deal with the red lights when they come. The fact is that avoiding them will only lead to feelings of feeling overwhelmed.

Dealing with red, yellow, and orange lights is how we get to green lights.

Don’t let the light stop you


McConaughey speaks on how while some of the yellow/orange lights that we come across in life shouldn’t be given too much credit. Rather, it’s best to accept them as they come and to conquer them.

He urges us not to allow said lights to hinder our progress. He’s stating that we shouldn’t victimize ourselves under the weight of the lights, but rather unpack and move forward.

In the case of the green light, they don’t necessarily need to be unpacked because they are successes. However, the red and the yellow/orange lights can be hard to unpack and he says that he would have to ask himself if there is a lesson there or not as well as how he can turn them into green light.

The power of journaling

Jotting things down is a great hobby that more and more people should get into the habit of doing, especially because it can have such amazing benefits for your mental health. It provides seeing a reflective view of things without us feeling overwhelmed.

McConaughey has been journaling his whole life. Reading back on his journal entries in preparation for his book was oddly refreshing. In fact, while he admits that looking back on his thoughts was embarrassing, he considered it a good thing because it shows how he’s evolved.

Becoming more involved and less impressed

During his writing process, McConaughey unfortunately found himself writing in a manner that focused more on impressing his readers and less on the message that he was trying to put across.
He had to take a step back and learn how to be more involved and less impressed and in doing so, he became a better writer.


Later, McConaughey realized that this is a lesson that he had to share with people, especially those who prefer to live online and forget to live in the present moment, adding that our desire to impress people may cause us to miss out on opportunities in the present moment.

Embracing alone time

Take a step back and think of the times when you’re on a road trip, alone with your thoughts. However, the realization of what you’ve left behind, be it family or kids, soon pulls you back into reality.

McConaughey shares that people are often uncomfortable with themselves and the inner thoughts and questions that linger in our minds can often make us go crazy. Regardless, the actor says that this is exactly the time to keep going, sharing that the one-way ticket road trips get easier is when you stick it out and spend more time with yourself.

Now, while you don’t have to go on a road trip, McConaughey urges us to find a moment where no one or anything distracts or influences us. After all, without knowing your own monologue, there can be no dialogue.


Look for the green light. In life, there are different times where they’ll be different lights such as green, yell, and red lights. When faced with red lights it doesn’t necessarily mean you have to stop.

Listen to the podcast episode

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Pie Mulumba

Pie Mulumba

Pie Mulumba is a beauty and wellness writer who has a passion for poetry, equality, natural hair, and skin-care. With a journalism degree from Pearson's Institute of Higher Education, and identifiable by either her large afro or colorful locks, Pie aspires to continuously provide the latest information, be it beauty or wellness, on how one can adopt a healthy lifestyle on a day-to-day basis.

The content in this editorial is for general information only and is not intended to provide medical or other professional advice. For more information on your medical condition and treatment options, speak to your healthcare professional.

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