Limits.

Binging Friends is a heck of a way to spend a few weeks.

I’m not saying that’s what I’ve been doing, but it does indeed sound like a heck of away to spend a few weeks.

What have you been accomplishing recently? I don’t feel like I’ve been up to very much. It’s been relaxing and frustrating. I told myself this blog is for me, but what do I want to talk about? That’s what’s been on my mind a bit I think.

This is an avenue for me to work on my writing and expose my thoughts; though every time I’ve thought about the blog for the past few weeks I just sort of shifted it out of my mind. Its been a little fly buzzing around my ears that I just keep swatting away. Every day the subtle desire comes to write about something, but it gets nudged aside.

That gentle nudge has been bothering me lately. How easy it is to cap a passion that should be boiling inside me. How boring I am. How pointless I feel when I throw away my pen over a badly written sentence or two.

I look at someone else, someone who is not me. I think about their purpose, their dreams. Shakespeare was a focused man. His pen bent to his will, the only thing he broke was his back and his discipline for his passion. His passion was relentless. His genius was ever-flowing. Kurt Vonnegut wrote thousands of words only to dash them against the wall because it didn’t sound right. He woke to write his passion, if the only thing he had was a broken pencil and scattered scraps of paper he would still write something worth reading.

Where is that passion? Where is that meaning in myself? In yourself? Where is the passion in life, that fire, that purpose of being? These people you idolize into these genius figures of single mind and purpose, why can’t I just be like them?

Well, life isn’t fair I guess. We’re dealt a hand that we must play. We have opportunities to grow and improve, and that’s our choice.

I feel we limit ourselves by comparing ourselves to others who are better than us. There’s a mental battle I’m constantly dealing with when I try to write creatively. I tend to look at the negative aspect of how “it’s all been done before, so what could I possibly create?”

A subtle downside to this amazing and comfortable life we live in is that if you lack a singular purpose, you’ll probably be fine. You can live your entire life striving for nothing really in particular, and you’ll be fine. I don’t want to be fine. I want to accomplish something. The struggle, the battle is what boils that passion in our souls.

What do you want?

Are you limiting yourself by scattering your focus?

When I don’t work on what I’m passionate about, I feel empty inside. Yet I still have no problem putting it aside when there’s something easy I can distract myself with.

It’s hard to be single minded when there’s so much opportunity to be distracted. Whether that’s with friends or work or stress, it’s easy. The hard thing is focusing on what you want to accomplish, even when it’s not expedient.

Are you putting yourself down because someone else has accomplished more than you currently hope to accomplish?

Are you avoiding your passion because you fear it won’t be good enough?

I want to encourage you in your purpose today. No matter how high and lofty your goals are, as long as you remain disciplined and focused, you can do it. Stop putting off that desire within you. Don’t devalue your passion because your not as good as your idols.

If it’s your passion, stop limiting yourself.

Trust.

I bought a coffee machine.

No more do I have to drive to Starbucks for their sub-par espresso. No more do I only have to be satisfied with only one cup of coffee through the day. Now I have all the power. I can make all the coffee I want. I can make reality whatever I want.

I’m thinking about writing a blog in praise of this coffee machine and all the pleasant joys it brings me. I’ll be like every other mom out there. Coffee is my drug. Here’s a photo of me with my mug and my pug. If you talk to me before I get my coffee, beware, I’m grumpy. You know, stuff white girls who love Starbucks say.

Coffee is my inspiration.

I was thinking today about my book that I haven’t written yet. I was thinking about the character’s that don’t actually exist yet and about what will define the theme of the book. I was thinking about trust. Trust is such an interesting element of life. Everyone views it a little differently I think.

Most people probably consider themselves trustworthy. Yet a lot of people have dealt with close friends or family destroying their trust. I’ve met many people in life who were so betrayed by others that it was really hard for them to trust new people.

I think we’ve all had people in our lives disappoint us. And even though we may not be able to admit it, we’ve all disappointed someone else in one way or another. This is why trust is such an interesting and difficult thing to grasp. It’s something that sounds so black and white: If someone is trustworthy, that means that they follow through with what they say. That you can “trust” them to get the job done, and to commit to their words and actions.

This is completely true. Trust is pretty black and white. The thing that isn’t black and white is the human element. People who are trustworthy with some things may not be trustworthy with others. You may think that you are entirely trustworthy, but you may not be able to easily trust in other people. Your bitterness for someone’s past actions may keep you from ever trusting in them again, no matter how small amount of trust they ask from you. Perhaps you don’t even trust in yourself to do the right thing based off of your own past actions.

People have a way of complicating things that we wish could be simple. I think it should be simple, and I try to apply that simplicity to my life on a daily basis.

If you’re in the business of self improvement, here’s how I think you should apply trust.

Be a trusting person.

I have talked to so many people through the years who talked about how “strong” they were. How they rely solely on themselves because other people let them down. How trust is for weak people and blah blah blah. That’s stupid. That’s nonsense. That’s silliness. It’s childish. It’s moronic. I am passionately against that mindset and I think it creates weak self pitying cry-babies.

Trust is for strong people.

A strong person should be the most trusting person you meet. They should be so trusting and believing that sometimes people think that they are a tad naive. Why? Because trust is a leaders strength. People who trust in others may sometimes get disappointed, but more often than not trust leads people to perform better, because someone believed that they could accomplish what they said they would do.

I like to think of myself as a trusting person. I consider the inner cynic that I have inside to be a partial weakness. Being cynical and cautious about people is not a good way to live life. It is much better to trust in someone and to be disappointed than to never trust at all.

Now I said trust to the point where people think you’re a tad naive. I’m not saying actually be naive. If someone you put trust in failed you, and they have no remorse for their actions, you should be a bit more cautious putting your trust in them again. I’m not saying be bitter or unforgiving towards them, but just learn from what has happened. The best example I have for this is this: If your girlfriend breaks your heart, maybe don’t give them your heart again. You can still be friends, or you know, “friendly” I guess.

I guess what I mean is don’t be self-destructive and say that you’re “trusting”.

Be a trustworthy person.

Being trustworthy is difficult and easy at the same time. No matter how much you try to be trustworthy in life, there is always someone that will consider you to be the opposite, and that’s okay. That’s life. People are going to think what they’re going to think about you. The important thing is for you to consistently become better, so that you can look back and see that you are a better person now than you have ever been.

In terms of trust, there’s only one thing that you should actively focus on doing ALL THE TIME.

Say what you mean.

Sugarcoating, white lies, actual lies, people pleasing, communication issues, these are all things that you need to avoid in life. Don’t avoid saying the truth because you’re afraid of how people are going to react. Don’t say something simply because you think that’s what someone else wants to hear.

I think that people who consider themselves good at “reading between the lines” are morons. A trusting person listens to what other people say, and believes them. You should be the type of person that is worth believing when you speak. That means you speak the truth. That means you try to make yourself as understandable as possible. That means communicating effectively and following through on your promises.

If you’re saying what you mean, you’re not making empty promises. If you say you’re going to do something that means you’re going to do it. You should treat your words with the weight that they should have. If your words are meaningless and wanton, then people are going to treat you as if your trust is meaningless and wanton. They won’t trust in you.

If you want to be trustworthy and trusting, that’s what you should do. You should listen to what other people are saying, and trust that they are not intentionally lying to you. Then you should act that way in turn. 

You’d be surprised how honest people are when you actually treat them that way.

People are worth trusting in. You’re worth trusting in. God is worth trusting in.

Coffee is worth trusting in.

Photo by McKenna Phillips on Unsplash

Travel and Friends.

Just got back from visiting some friends in Omaha today. After essentially being an Omaha resident for four days, here’s everything to know about Omaha. Or at least, everything I know about it.

Which isn’t a lot:

  1. There’s potholes.
  2. You drive a lot.
  3. It’s a place.
  4. I got a haircut there.
  5. The haircut was good.
  6. I loved it.

I wasn’t there for the place. I was there for the people.

I have some friends all over the country that I consider my best friends. We may not see each other a lot, but when we do it’s just like old times. We have heart to hearts, we play games, we get into friendly arguments about life. We talk as if no time has passed at all.

If you have friends like that, keep them.

It’s easy to get caught up in your own thing in life, which is completely understandable. I want to be successful and work on my career as much as the next young determined person, but staying in touch with people you’re close to is just as important.

Your closest friends help bring out the person that you want to be. Being with people you’re comfortable around gives you an opportunity to express who you really are. When we become too busy, or when we close ourselves off to our friends, we lose a part of ourselves.

If you’re at a point in your life right now where you’re a bit confused about who you are, or what you’re doing, maybe you need to take some time off and call an old friend. The closest people in your life may be able to give you some insight, or they might just be able to make you feel better. No matter what, if you have someone like that in your life make sure you don’t lose them to time.

Friends temper you.

This is a thought that I talked about a lot over the weekend with my friend. Being able to confide your thoughts in someone that will listen to you and provide feedback is so important. So often I keep my thoughts to myself when surrounded by people because I don’t think they would listen to what I have to say. When a friend actually listens to you, it grows both of you.

Have friends who aren’t afraid to tell you you’re wrong.

The times in my life where I’ve grown the most is when I confessed an opinion, and someone told me I was wrong. Being wrong isn’t a bad thing. Being wrong and refusing to listen is a terrible thing. When a close friend disagrees with you, that’s an opportunity for you to grow. If you listen to what they have to say, or what criticism they have for you, that’s an opportunity for you to grow.

You may be like me. I always think I’m right.

This is bad.

Even though I always think I’m right, I always listen to people I respect.

This is good.

Being nearly five hundred words long, this blog may be hard to follow for all my fifth grade readers.

So if you got lost along this blog, let me summarize what this one was about:

  1. friends are good.
  2. you should call your best friend you haven’t spoken to in a year.
  3. Friends temper who you are, and make you stronger. As the bible would say, “Iron sharpens iron”
  4. You should have friends that agree with you, and don’t agree with you. Just don’t have dumb friends.
  5. I mean you can have some dumb friends if you want but it may not be good for you.
  6. If you’re dumb and this offended you I apologize.
  7. If you’re dumb you should get some smart friends so you can become less dumb.

Subscribe for more lists.

Tomorrow’s blog is going to have bullet points instead of lists.

Creative.

Photo by Joey Csunyo on Unsplash

BOOK REVIEW. BROTHERS KARAMAZOV.

BOOK *CLAP* REVIEW *CLAP*

I’m not a critic. I’m especially not a literary critic. Those fools spend so much time tearing apart literature in order to get to deeper (and certainly more contrived) meanings. I’m going to tell you what I thought about a book. At face value. From a regular Joe. I mean Johnson. A Johnson who’s a regular Joe.

It took me well over a year to finish this book. I’ll credit that to being busy, poor time management, and having a girlfriend. And let’s be honest, if you want to relax and read a book, Dostoyevsky’s books aren’t exactly gripping in the same way that modern books are.

This is a book about characters. A clash of ideals; where every one of them has their world view challenged, and all of their lives are shaken to the very core.

Shockingly, this is a slow moving book with lots of characters involved in a very intense story. All of it revolves around the three sons, Alyosha, Ivan, and Dimitry. All of the characters have a different way of dealing with their father, and adjusting to life without him. Alyosha is a devout priest whose faith gets challenged. Ivan is the atheist who loses all sense of meaning and hope in the world. And Dimitry, at the center of it all, gets framed for his father’s murder.

That’s it. That’s basically the entire book. The way that it twists and turns, and slowly worms it’s way through the story is amazing. Every action of every character means something, and the consequences for their words and actions are often surprising.

While the content of the book is heavy and complicated, you never feel like you are in the dark about what’s going on, because the plot itself is very simple: The Father is dead. Someone killed him. It was probably Dimitry.

While the premise is simple, the characters are complicated. Dostoevsky has a special ability of being able write complex and emotional characters that just seem so real. Alyosha is so committed to the church, and has such a vast love for God, but at the same time he has inner demons and doubts that he is constantly dealing with. He calls this turmoil his inner “Karamazov” that seeks to turn him like his father. Then, on top of all this his faith becomes challenged by an external event.. He isn’t perfect, and his faith has  to go through a crucible of doubt.

The same can be said for Ivan: Who is so tormented by his choices that he becomes physically ill. He believes that since God does not exist,  everything is permitted, so it blurs the lines of morality. This belief becomes challenged, and we don’t know whether he keeps this belief, or it grows into something better. I hope that he changed his ways.

What I loved so much about this book is all throughout it, it taught me about humanity, and about myself. It is a story that looks at the soul of a man, and asks questions that we will often ask ourselves in our own lives. The characters are constantly second guessing their own actions, and hoping that they are making the right choice.

In your life, your beliefs will constantly be challenged. This story is a great example of why that’s a good thing. Alyosha’s faith was challenged, and in the end he became wiser and stronger in his faith. It grew him as a person and pushed him forward in life. When Ivan’s belief was challenged, it showed him where he was wrong. When Dimitry was thrown into prison for a crime he did not commit, he became better through the trial of belief. Because even though he did not physically kill his father, he was shown how he was partly responsible.

This book is like looking into the soul of humanity. It shows you what drives us, and how ideas or beliefs alter our entire lives for better or for worse. If you read this book I hope it makes you just as introspective as the characters in it.

It’s an opportunity to strengthen your beliefs

Read this book. It’s good.

Photo by Simson Petrol on Unsplash

Nervous.

Today was a foggy day. For the past few days I’ve been up and down with my sleeping schedule. Sometimes waking up at six, sometimes at nine, most of the time getting to bed late.

I look like a raccoon.

I haven’t wanted to write all day, so now i’m paying the price. I don’t even have sugar to help me this time. You’re getting a stone cold tired Johnson blog tonight, buckle up. . . Or nod off, who knows, it might be boring.

Plus I ate about six servings of Alfredo sauce tonight because I’m training to be a server at my new job. Apparently training means that you sit around and you chug different types of heart clogging sauce.

Typically by this paragraph in the blog I’ve stated some kind of thought or idea that’s going to carry me to the end of this blog. So, where’s the deep thought? Now I’m feeling nervous.

Well let’s think about that for a minute. What makes you nervous in life? I can remember lots of times where I got really nervous. My first kiss; the first time I went in for a job interview; my first time going on a roller-coaster (and actually every other time I went on a roller-coaster. Have I mentioned I hate roller-coasters?); the first time I spoke publicly in front of a group of real people. These were all just little examples of times where I got more nervous than I’d ever been before. They were experiences that I probably will never forget. The question now is why did I get so nervous? Why do I still get nervous?

I walked into my second day of training today for the serving position I’m going to be working. I was nervous. I don’t know why I was nervous since I had worked there previously. I had experience working at that same restaurant a few years before! Yet I was still nervous. I fumbled up to tables when I was asked to practice my greet.

I’ve got several years of serving experience and I was shy talking to customers tonight! It’s surreal even thinking about it right now.

I think nervousness comes from a lot of different areas. You might feel uncomfortable, or you might feel inexperienced, or you just might have a lack of confidence in that area. For whatever reason, you’re going to feel nervous from time to time. This is okay! Everyone gets nervous.

Unless you’re a sociopath. Sociopath’s only get nervous when they’re grinding their neighbors into puppy chow.

Being nervous in new situations is okay, it’s even good.

Nervousness should not be something that you consider negative. Before you get good at something, you’re going to be bad at it. There’s no reason to be ashamed about that. Nervousness is not your body telling you to run away, it’s your body telling you to focus up. It puts you on your toes, it forces adrenaline through your veins. Yeah, it’s uncomfortable. Yeah, you probably hate it, but like all emotions, it has a purpose.

So how do you harness that purpose and avoid the negative aspects of nervousness?

1.Be Deliberate.

Sure, you should always be deliberate with your actions, but you should be even more deliberate when you feel nervous. Slow down your breathing, speak confidently with your chest, try not to rush, and make sure every action you take is calculated. You will always be able to pause and take a breath. Do it. Nervousness causes us to rush and make mistakes. Plus it’s harder to enjoy yourself when your rushing around all the time. Think about what you’re doing, be deliberate.

2. Don’t talk about how nervous you are.

Anytime I’ve ever thought someone was nervous was only when they told me they were nervous. Talking about how nervous you are is only going to make you more nervous, and it’s going to let everyone around you know that you’re nervous. You’d be surprised how confident people will think you are if you simply don’t say how nervous you feel.

3. Raccoons.

My fellow raccoons, I was feeling nervous today, but I try and cope with it the best I know. I just try and be myself, and SPEAK WITH MY CHEST. Life gets you nervous. Work that to your advantage and just live in the moment. That adrenaline rush is going to feel great once you accomplish whatever you were nervous about.

It’s bed-time now, raccoon out.

Photo by Ethan Haddox on Unsplash