What’s Your “No Matter What”?
Photo courtesy of enggul.

What’s Your “No Matter What”?

Written by Emilie

Topics: Guest Posts

This is a guest post by Ethan Waldman.

I was cooking dinner the other night and one of my favorite songs came on. The way that the artist combined his carefully crafted words with the perfect swirling background of strings and guitar brought me a moment of complete joy and clarity. It felt magical.

My mind went blank, and the next thing that popped into it was: I will always make music, no matter what. If you ever have one of these moments, I encourage you to stop and reflect on it. This blog post is my result of doing just that.

I’m a guy with a lot of interests, and if you’re like me you probably have a lot of interests too. Cycling, brewing beer, cooking, and violin are among the many hobbies that compete for my time.  Right now, I’m pouring most of my spare time and energy into a new business, so I haven’t had much left over to write and record music.

My friends and family are worried: Is Ethan giving up one of his favorite hobbies? I can usually tune out social pressure from others, but the same worry has crossed my mind before.  I’m spending so much time on my business that I haven’t done much musically in a while. Does this mean I’m giving it up?

No way. It doesn’t matter that I haven’t been doing it much in the past few months. I’ve finally reached a place where I know that’s okay, because I know I’ll always come back to it.

That got me thinking, what are other people’s no matter what passions? A quick poll of my Facebook friends and I was amazed at the results.  Every person who answered was completely unique.  Some of the responses I got were:

Creating art and caring for children
Creating and using new technology- hopefully to the betterment of others
Cooking with friends

I dare you to try it- ask your friends this question and see if you get the same response from any one of them.

What can we learn from this?

When you are following your dreams or pursuing something that is difficult to attain, it can be easy to shy away when you perceive that there is competition. How could I ever do this when there must be so many other people doing the same thing? From my informal exercise, I saw first hand how everybody wants and pursues different dreams. This may seem basic, but it is easy to forget when you are feeling challenged.

If you’re worried that you won’t be able to achieve your goals because there “isn’t enough room” or there’s “too much competition”, think back to your no matter what. The number of other people who have this same dream is probably zero. There is plenty of space in the world for what you want to create. You’d be doing the world a disservice by not pursuing your dreams.

Remember

Your no matter what is unique
Your no matter what is 100% valid for you
You should never be ashamed of your no matter what
You should never feel guilt when you neglect your no matter what
You will always come back to your no matter what.

Your Turn

Making music will always be a part of my life. No matter what. What is your “no matter what?”

Ethan Waldman helps people live and work in harmony with technology at the Cloud Coach blog. Right now, many people are using his free Email Ninja Kit to liberate themselves from email hell.

26 Comments

  1. Nicole says:

    Awesome post.
    I love things that make me stop and think.

    My no matter what is I will travel the world extensively. No matter what, I will. It such a powerful emotion. Knowing this. It’s part of me. It’s one thing I’m 100% sure of.

    • Ethan says:

      I think it’s cool that when you think of your “no matter what” there’s a feeling. I WILL do this. It’s that place of knowing that guarantees that it will actually happen.

  2. simone says:

    Oooh, I love this!

    I’ll do things that scare me no matter what, especially if the alternative is the melancholy of quiet resignation.
    I will ask DEEP questions no matter what.
    I will put my family first no matter what.
    I will stand up for love no matter what.
    I will keep exploring no matter what.
    I will refuse to compromise my multipotentiality no matter what.

  3. Denise says:

    Good post, Ethan… What a great question to ask oneself!

    I will always be a Confectionery Artist. Even if I don’t have a formal job doing it, where I’m getting paid… it doesn’t matter. It’s an art I fell in love with when I was 14 and that passion has never faded.

    Also, I will always write! I write everyday, and I couldn’t imagine NOT writing! :)

    • Ethan says:

      That’s such a wonderful distinction to make, Denise- That being a pastry artist is something you’ll do whether you’re paid or not. Music is the same way for me!

  4. Holli says:

    Wonderful questions, and a great topic.

    For my answer: making my environment orderly and beautiful. I cannot function in cluttered chaos. Then comes making nourishing, tasty food, taking care of my children and writing. These are those things I could not function without doing.

    Some things get more time than others, but they are all present in my life.

  5. Emilie says:

    I love how some of these answers are very specific and others are more general or emotional in nature.

    I could say that music is one of my “no matter what”s– it might be, but I think multipotentiality is more accurate. Or maybe just being creative?

    Thanks for writing this, Ethan. Beautiful words.

  6. Juventud says:

    Great post! My ‘no matter what’ hmmmm.. I’ve got plenty.. I’ll keep studying different subjects. I’ll learn dead languages. I’ll learn programming. I’ll keep writing. I’ll keep trying to become a movie maker. And last but most important ‘i’ll keep supporting this website and you guys no matter what.

  7. Michi says:

    Ethan, great post!
    My clearest “no matter what” is that I am a Seeker (and I guess a Finder). I am in constant search for meaning, exploration and understanding. You know, the “truth is out there” (and in here, pointing at my heart).

    One thing I have always done though, even before I could walk properly, is dance. Dancing makes my soul sing. I am one hell of a pump-up-the-jam kind of person in parties, clubs or even on the streets if I feel like it (which sometimes makes my children and friends slightly uneasy)!

    But also I write, photograph, film, tell stories, love my children unconditionally, cook, lead (some of my friends call me the Queen of Hearts) (lol)

    All of it “no matter what”, because I don’t know how to not do it.

    What a refreshing post; looking at what is as opposed to what could be. Thanks for planting seeds :)

  8. AMEN, Ethan.

    Me?

    “Creating blends of material and spiritual success.”

  9. Melayahm says:

    I think my no matter what is, ‘I will always make stuff, no matter what’ Whenever I get something in my hands that can be shaped, be it a blob of blu tack, foil from a sweet, or a pen or pencil, my hands will do something with it. They can’t help it! And quite often as I’m dropping off to sleep, my mind will throw up patterns, sometimes jewellery designs, and I have no idea where they come from, they’re not the kind of thing I usually design when I’m conciously making things. I only wish I could ‘screenshot’ them, so I can remember them when I wake up.

  10. Josh says:

    That’s awesome. I work two jobs to pay the bills and am kept busy with a ton of other stuff. And even when I get time off there are always things that fight my dreams of putting recording music and then putting it out on the web. So I made a rule of always do something that contributes toward it no matter what, even if five minutes at the end of the day when I want to go to sleep. Have to be aggressive about it. The busyness of life will steal your dreams if you let it!

  11. Tiara says:

    I don’t think I have a “no matter what” anymore :(

    • I’m not sure how old you are, but I bet you’ll discover or re-discover your “No Matter What” soon :)

      If you’re open to trying solutions now, check Emilie’s Over-Arching Theme: http://puttylike.com/cant-settle-on-a-niche-for-your-business-no-problem/ or my article: http://spiritsentient.com/how-to-have-fun-finding-your-life-purpose-with-pretty-pictures :)

      Hope that helps!

    • Emilie says:

      I would try broadening your definition. For example, I used to think music was my “no matter what,” but I’m not so sure anymore. However, I do think I will always be creative in some form. And I will always be a multipotentialite. Those things will never change.

      I bet you’ve got at least one, Tiara. :)

      • Tiara says:

        I used to, but I’m feeling burnt out by it (mine used to be that no matter what I’m doing, it’ll always be about making space for people that aren’t represented fairly & speaking up for ourselves). Hence the not knowing if I have one anymore. Hopefully something will come back!

        • I find people’s “No Matter What’s” are things that are so strong and pure, that they’ve been present since birth.

          Being burnt out does not stop them, they’ll be doing it til they die.

          Steve Jobs = Think Different.
          Lady Gaga = Standing Up For Little Monsters.

          These people were doing this stuff since they were toddlers, in one way or another. It may not have been clear all the time, but somewhere in their soul, they knew.

          I adore being creative and successful, and I’ve been homeless, arrested, broke, and betrayed, but through it all no one could stop me from being creative or focusing on success.

          Maybe that helps?

  12. Michelle says:

    I will own a small piece of land, plant an orchard, a small forest, and a big garden that will be enough for my family to flourish in. The orchard will be my dream creation with my partner, and the garden will be our ever living work of art to give to our children. This, no matter what.

    I can’t change the whole world into a better place, but I can take a small piece of it and make it immaculate. Peace and kindness shall live there.

    I don’t know the how’s and the logistics, I’m single and have yet to meet the one who’ll share this dream with me, I haven’t the land nor the means to get it yet, but I have a plan: to get there, and keep on enjoying living and learning on the way.

    Learning about whatever might be helpful to know in all things agricultural, spiritual, mysterious, scientific, philosophic and artistic… oh there’s just so much to look forward too.

    I often feel that people dismis my current studies in painting as futureless, and it’s difficult to tell those who ask what my future plans are as “farmer”, -an inconcise summary, but how else to describe it?

    I’ve tried to explain my aspirations and have been met with a laugh, to smiling and nodding, to outright being told that I would fail and that it is impossible.

    But I know what’s in my heart, and more importantly I know that I am the one responsible for creating my life!

  13. eva says:

    this is really valuable: “You will always come back to your no matter what.”

    i feel like that could be stressed sooooo much more in our world. you can never let go of what truly LIGHTS U UP (even if, in this context, there are many things :-D). it IS you. somehow our society believes that it can beat it out of u, with enough practicality nonsense and debt.

    by the way, i think that i know your brother!! if his name starts with a J – we went to college together. i don’t know how i knew this, but maybe you visited him??

    very small world because i just happened across this blog from random other links on the internet.

    look forward to reading more!!

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