Brilliant Miller's Blog

The Journal Entry that Transformed Matthew McConaughey’s Life

On the evening of September 1st, 1992, Matthew McConaughey lay on the top bunk in the Delta Tau Delta fraternity house at the University of Texas at Austin.

Before he nestled in for a good night’s sleep, he opened his journal and wrote, Ten Goals in Life:

  1. Become a father
  2. Find and keep the woman for me
  3. Keep my relationship with God
  4. Chase my best self
  5. Be an egotistical utilitarian
  6. Take more risks
  7. Stay close to Mom and family
  8. Win an Oscar for Best Actor
  9. Look back and enjoy the view
  10. Just keep livin’

He finished the list and closed his journal. He didn’t look at it again for nearly 30 years.

In a recent interview with Tim Ferriss, Matthew said, “I wrote it that night and forgot about it. Or at least I thought I forgot about it.” 

He rediscovered his Ten Goals nearly three decades later while reading his journals and writing his book Greenlights. By then, every single thing on it had come true.

Or rather, he’d made them all true.

There was little to suggest that he would.

Two weeks before writing that list, Matthew’s father had passed away.

Matthew was enrolled as Radio-Television-Film major, having chosen that after deciding he didn’t want to study law after all.

He’d just finished a small acting role in his first film, Dazed and Confused.

He’d gotten the part after bumping into a casting director in a bar. Matthew’s role was supposed to have just three lines, but director Richard Linklater liked him enough to expand it.

Three lines became three weeks. Matthew considered himself fortunate to earn $320 a day doing what he loved. Even still, he figured his tiny part was simply a summer hobby.  

He had big dreams, but he had a hard time admitting it.

Matthew told Tim, “I could admit it on my journal page, but I couldn’t admit it to myself. I couldn’t even admit it in my dreams.”

But he kept working and moving in the direction of his dreams, and eventually he made them true.

Brilliant Miller

I help achievers learn & grow, connect, contribute and have fun.

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