No. Matter. What.

I study people.

Specifically, “successful” people.

It’s all I do. Constantly. Reading biographies, non-fiction books. Trying to figure out the answer to the question: “If we’re all human beings… How come some of these people have made more out of life than others?” 

Some people believe there are a select few “born different.” But I tend to think anyone can achieve enormous levels of success.

When I come across a connection, I like to make note of it. I write it down in my little Notes app.

But when I notice the same connection over and over again?

It’s startling.

“Success leaves clues.”  –Tony Robbins

There is a strand connecting everyone from Kobe Bryant to Steve Jobs to Kanye West to Mike Posner to Jim Collins. 

This principle of success spans generations, geography, and genres.

The first time I noticed it, I thought to myself, “That seems like something you should have.”

The next time I noticed it, “This is something you should have.”

And more recently, “This is the difference between success and failure.”

This principle is about finding a way. It’s about ingenuity. It’s about being so resourceful, so gritty, so willing to go the distance, you can’t help but achieve the result you desire. It’s falling 1,000 times. It’s getting up one more.

But it’s not just a matter of theory. This principle has been put to the test over and over again.

The “No. Matter. What.” Principle is quite possibly the most important element to your success – in any goal you set out to achieve.

What Is The “No. Matter. What.” Principle?

The “No. Matter. What.” Principle states: “You will accomplish the goal or task… No. Matter. What.”

It’s about going all in. Stacking your chips. And placing them in the center of the table.

Successful people think about whatever they’re trying to accomplish followed by “No. Matter. What.”

Don’t believe me?

Kanye West: “Never stop fighting no matter what anyone says. If it’s in your gut, your soul, there’s nothing, no worldly possession that should come between you and your expression.”

David Goggins: “Success is based off of your willingness to work your ass off no matter what obstacles are in your way.”

Jocko Willink:

Perhaps a couple of real life examples will better illustrate this principle in action…

The Walk Across America

Mike Posner wanted to walk across the United States of America.

It was something on his bucket list for a long time.

Then his dad passed away.

He realized he had less time than he thought.

So, in April 2019, Mike started his walk in New Jersey. To his friends and family, he told them he was going to walk across the United States.

But what he told himself is, “I’m going to walk across the United States… no matter what.”

Three little words that make all the difference in the execution of the journey.

Mike’s “No. Matter. What.” Principle came in handy about halfway through the journey. 

Mike had made it halfway across the country. Then, on August 7, halfway through his trek, he got bit by a rattlesnake. He called 911. He asked if they thought he was going to survive. The operator told him, “I don’t know.” He was airlifted by a helicopter to a local hospital. At first, the doctors told him they might have to amputate his leg.

Mike survived with two feet.

But he had to learn how to walk again. So, Mike spent the next few weeks rehabbing his foot.

He was slowly learning how to walk (using a walker) and soon became accustomed to the comforts of home. People were feeding him. And he didn’t even have to walk. Besides, he had an out. He didn’t need to walk across America. A rattlesnake had taken a chomp of his foot afterall!

That’s when he remembered his “No. Matter. What.”

So, after rehabbing his foot for a few weeks, he drove back to the same spot he started… and started walking.

Psychologically, it was difficult. But Mike refused to give in to the part of his brain that told him to quit.

It was the “No. Matter. What” Principle that helped get him through to the other side of the country.

Jim Collins’ Most Important Rule

Jim Collins is the bestselling author of Good to Great and Built to Last.

He has a rule:

Every 365 days, he has to have completed 1,000 creative hours… “No. Matter. What.” (His words, not mine.)

That means January 1 to January 1 the following year. Or April 14 to April 14. Or July 29 to July 29.

It doesn’t matter if he’s sick or tired or doesn’t feel like doing the work. If he hasn’t completed his 1,000 hours for that “year,” then he gets to work. (For those counting at home, 1,000 creative hours means a minimum of approximately 2 hours, 45 minutes per day. You can see how one can produce great work if they’re spending 1,000 hours yearly on creative hours.)

(For a more detailed description of what qualifies as “creative hours,” check out this brilliant podcast from him and Tim Ferriss.)

That wasn’t the only time he mentioned the “No. Matter. What.” Principle.

He also mentioned it in regards to relationships too. 

More particularly, the relationship with his wife. He described his philosophy as even through the tough times, his mindset is: “We will not fail at this marriage. No. Matter. What.”

Have Standards

Want to achieve anything?

Hard times are non-negotiable. Unexpected adversities are guaranteed.

Having a “No. Matter. What.” clause makes sure you don’t have an out. You’re in this fight until you can’t fight no more.

It’s the mindset of, “I’d rather die than not accomplish this task.”

And if your level of commitment is that high… success is almost a guaranteed outcome.

Of course, it won’t be easy. Of course, there will be times when you want to quit. When you want to give it all up and start something else.

Your No. Matter. What. keeps you going. Keeps you on the path.

It makes sure you have standards for yourself. 

That you’re upholding your promise to yourself. 

That you will do whatever it takes to achieve what you’re aiming to achieve.

What’s Your “No. Matter. What.”?

I don’t write this post to tell you some stories about some successful people.

I write this post because I want you to ask yourself: 

What are you currently committed to? What are the standards you are unwilling to compromise on? What will you succeed at “No. Matter. What.”?

If you don’t currently have a “No. Matter. What.”, start with a habit. Build a streak. Set a standard for yourself. And move forward. Every day. 

This is the way people have achieved incredible success for thousands of generations. This is the way you can create incredible success in your life. It doesn’t have to be complicated. It doesn’t have to be anything other than a simple habit or goal.

You may look at celebrities. Or people who achieved incredible success. You may think of them as somehow different than you. But they are human.

Very human.

They have simply committed to a simple task and completed it.

No. Matter. What.

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