If you’ve caught any recent interviews with Matthew McConaughey, it’s quite clear he’s a spiritual man. But is he religious?
In a recent interview, McConaughey told an anecdote about being in kindergarten where his mother served as the teacher. One day at recess, a friend tapped him on the shoulder and said, “Matt, let’s go out and play!” McConaughey made a dash for the playground only to be horse-collared by his mom. She scolded him, saying:
Your name is not Matt. Do not answer to that name, again. You were named Matthew from the Bible. Do not answer to Matt, only to Matthew.
As you might have guessed, McConaughey was raised in a religious household, as a Baptist. And like many of us, he grew up going to church on an every-Sunday basis—only to begin questioning his beliefs after he entered college at the University of Texas in Austin. He eventually concluded that while he believed in God, he didn’t subscribe to any one religion and stopped going to church.
His perspective changed once he married his wife Camila Alves in 2012. She was a regular churchgoer and McConaughey got back into the habit of every-Sunday church attendance that he practiced in his youth. They now attend a non-denominal church in Texas where he occasionally can be found reading scripture to his fellow congregants. (Check out the video.)
A glimpse into the spiritual nature of Matthew McConaughey.
A couple of years ago, McConaughey put out a quasi-autobiography titled Greenlights that spoke to to how he got into the movie business, with insider details on some of the roles he’s played and the movies he’s been in. But what I found most interesting was his non-biographical stuff, his personal ramblings on God, life, sex, etc. Many of his ideas are quirky, like this twisty poem-like passage:
The Goddess of luck is fortune,
fortune is the Sister of fate,
fate is the Divine Order,
and the Divine Order is God.
So, as far as I can tell,
if you believe in luck,
you believe in God.
More than a few of the actor/author’s musings resonated with me, like the four life tips I’m featuring below. I wrote the bold headlines, but the rest of the words belong to McConaughey, with some light editing on my part. As you may deduce, McConaughey has a firm grasp on what really matters in life—and a colorful way of explaining it.
Remember: You deserve all the good that comes into your life.
Don’t create imaginary constraints. A leading role, a blue ribbon, a winning score, a great idea, the love of your life, euphoric bliss. Who are you to think you don’t deserve these fortunes when they are in your grasp? Who are you to think you haven’t earned them?
To make any kind of important life decision, you’ve got to have the right mindset.
First, you have to put yourself in the place to receive the truth. This noisy world we live in, with its commitments, deadlines, to-do lists, and expectations, make it hard to get clarity and peace of mind. So you have to consciously put yourself in a place to receive that clarity. Whether that’s a prayer, meditation, a walkabout, being in the right company, a road trip, whatever it is for you. You 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. Let it in.
For a contented life, first define what success means to you.
We all want to succeed. The question you need to ask yourself is, what is success to me? More money? A healthy family? A happy marriage? Helping others? To be famous? Spiritually sound? To express yourself? To create art? To leave the world a better place than you found it?
“What is success to me?” Continue to ask yourself that question. Your answer may change over time and that is 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. Be brave, take the hill, but first answer the question, “What is my hill?”
Every day is a new chance to get it right.
You ever get in a rut? Stuck on the merry-go-round of a bad habit? I have. You are going to make mistakes—own them, make amends, and move on. Guilt and regret kill many a person before their time. Get off the ride. You are the author of the book of your life. Turn the page.