Choose Your Path

Years ago, I played High School eight man football as an offensive center, and as a right guard on defense. (My ball handling skills were crap) On defense, my coach told me something that stuck with me, “If you are unsure what you are doing, go 100% anyway”.  On the field, that philosophy helped me get past the line of scrimmage and cause panic for the offensive running backs. Later in life, that philosophy helped me go somewhere.

A few years later, I found myself in a situation where I was not sure what I was doing. I was working a crap job, throwing lumber in a sawmill. Pay was horrible, and my dating prospects were a joke. I talked with a good friend of mine and we decided to move from our station in life up to Alaska. We bought a $500 camp trailer and towed it up there, with not enough gas money to get home. Soon, we found another crap job shoveling dirt. By the end of summer, I was fed up.

More than 20 years later, I still vividly remember laying in bed in Alaska, coming to the realization that if I did not do something with my life, I would become a loser, with a loser for a wife, surrounded by little losers for children. Until that point, I focused on the situation I was in, not on what I was becoming. This is the point where I decided I needed to improve myself.

In spite of not knowing what I wanted to do at that point, I decided I would look into the mechanics trade. I liked working on cars, and felt it would be a good fit. I go back to live with parents, and save up money. During this time, I toured several colleges and decided to go into mechanical engineering instead. That paid much better, and would be more on the design of mechanical systems.

During my first year of college, I decided to go into civil engineering. It was related to my program so I didn’t have any pain in changing majors at that point. This major gave me the option of living in a smaller community. From there on, I pressed forward and became what I am today.

A Common Mistake

So many kids graduate high school, and then go into college, still not knowing what to do. They think they can go and decide what they are going to be in the coming years as they are taking the general classes. It sounds fine, but what is missing is the drive to be the best they can be. Like when I was in Alaska working crap jobs, they are just flowing through life and taking easy classes. They are wasting time and resources. Eventually, those debts will need to be paid.  However, because they were not decisive in what they wanted to do, their major is fairly general, and of little use. That indecisiveness early on locked them down into something that was not beneficial.

Conversations with a friend

Many times, I have spoken with a particular friend who has a rather different lifestyle than I do. He enjoys the single life, around girls and the freedom that is associated with it. I am more of the traditional family life. We both agree that whatever path you choose, there are positive and negative outcomes. I will never know what it is like to be in a threesome, he will never know what will be like to be a grandfather. That is fine, we make our choices, and we need to live with them.

Where people get hurt is when they try to live more than one lifestyle. The single guy who fathers a child will be stuck paying child support, and see the child from a distance develop social problems because the kid lacks proper masculine guidance. Similarly, the married guy who cheats around, trying to live the single life will inevitably break a marriage with equally devastating consequences.

A working mother is the same, she cannot do both effectively, and heartache and pain is often the result.

A Poem

– Robert Frost “The Road Not Taken”
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;
Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,
And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
There are decisions we have to make in life. It is inevitable. Sometimes we regret those decisions. However, even the most painful decisions and circumstances that result do lead to experience that cannot come any other way. I have an experience where I wound up living 1000 miles from my hometown, with no job, and 4 kids to feed. We were hungry and miserable, and close to being thrown outdoors.
Looking back, I cherish those memories. In it, I gained an appreciation for people and their charitable attitude. One morning, we get a knock on the door. and nobody is there, but stacks of Christmas presents for the kids, and a $1000. All of this was given anonymously by charitable people that I do not know. Also, I have a better appreciation for the good and fat times. Had I not made those poor decisions prior, I would of never had that.

Family Life

On top of college, I know of several people who are half-assing their family life. Unlike my single friend, they are cohabitating (possibly with children). In doing so, they are failing at the single life and failing at the traditional family life. Their unwillingness to make a decision and stick with it is hurting society. The only ones that benefit are Democrats who get votes from the welfare cases that develop.

If you are going to live the single life, live it and accept the ramifications. If you are wanting a family, have a family. But, accept the responsibility. You need to do what you can to minimize likelihood of divorce.

  • Have impeccable integrity
  • Choose a wife who has impeccable integrity
  • Regularly teach your family (including yourself) to maintain that integrity
  • Throw away the TV
  • Maintain your marriage
  • Have a traditional household

Even if married, so many couples are separated spiritually. If she is going to church, go. At church, there are so many men who should be the priesthood leader of the home who are not. They leave that to the wife. Not only does that cause discontent in the marriage, it decreases their status in her eyes. If you go, she will follow. Rarely do I see a man who goes to church where his wife stays home.

Conclusion

In “The Karate Kid”, Mr. Myagi has the following conversation with Daniel:

Miyagi: Now, ready?

Daniel: Yeah, I guess so.

Miyagi: [sighs] Daniel-san, must talk.

[they both kneel]

Miyagi: Walk on road, hm? Walk right side, safe. Walk left side, safe. Walk middle, sooner or later

[makes squish gesture]

Miyagi: get the squish just like grape. Here, karate, same thing. Either you karate do “yes” or karate do “no.” You karate do “guess so,”

[makes squish gesture]

Miyagi: just like grape. Understand?

Daniel: Yeah, I understand.

Miyagi: Now, ready?

Daniel: Yeah, I’m ready

Daniel had a choice before him, either he could have get completely away from fighting and be like most of the kids, or he could dedicate his life to it. Doing it half way would only get him hurt. Like Daniel, we have that choice before us every day. Take heed.

Author: Jim Johnson

As a man in his early 40's, I grew up on a dairy farm in an irreligious home. Disgusted with the choice of women out there, I looked into religion to find a worthwhile mate. At 23, I joined the LDS (Mormon) faith, married, became a civil engineer, and now have six children. My favorite things are puppies, long walks on the beach, and the color blue (not really).

  • Obnoxious Troll

    Even though it is against my nature to appreciate, I must say that I enjoyed this article very much and it clarified a few nagging doubts about my lifestyle. Thank you.

  • Bart Manson ✓ᵂʰᶦᵗᵉ

    Lots of things are contributing to this lack of planning, lack of effort that is becoming more prevalent, but three things in my mind stick out.

    1. Participation trophies.

    Who cares if you succeed? Who cares if you even try? You showed up and that’s good enough. Here’s a gold sticker. It’s not surprising that when you’re rewarded for nothing your entire childhood, you end up sucking at everything in the real world.

    2. The “You can have it all” mentality.

    Made popular by the feminists who convinced women that they could have careers every bit as good as men and then add the family on in their 40’s when the career got boring, but now being adopted by all of society, there is this idea that nothing has tradeoffs. That you can do whatever you want without sacrificing anything.

    Our ancestors knew that every decision came with a tradeoff. Families or careers was the most obvious one. If you spent more time at work, you spent less time with your family, and vice versa. Now there’s this idea that no matter what you do or when you do it society owes you a successful result, so in the end you can have it all. And life doesn’t work like that.

    3. Lack of fathers.

    With no fathers around to show their kids the way, many of them just flounder. Boys don’t know how to become men, girls don’t know how to become women and neither knows how to become an adult. This prevalent lack of fathers is cause for a whole host of problems in society, and this aimless, unfocused, meandering life is just one of the results of it. Get fathers back in the homes making real families, and dozens of society’s problems start to clear up.

    • Thefourhorstmann

      The corporate environment really ruins women. They end up miserable at work becuase they cant handle the stress or miserable at home with the kids because they dont have the social interaction.

    • AutomaticSlim

      “With no fathers around to show their kids the way, many of them just flounder. Boys don’t know how to become men”

      Very true. And this can happen even if the parents are not divorced and the father lives at home. Just being a provider is not good enough. Sons require active training.

  • AutomaticSlim

    Great column Jim.

    “More than 20 years later, I still vividly remember laying in bed in
    Alaska, coming to the realization that if I did not do something with my
    life, I would become a loser, with a loser for a wife, surrounded by
    little losers for children.”

    – You were very, very lucky to come to that realization. Or maybe luck is the wrong word. Probably something that was instilled in you by your parents or coach kept gnawing at you, until it finally hit you. And if that is the case, you were lucky to have adults in your life to instill that. Its very easy to just go with the flow and allow life to take you down “loser lane”. And that doesn’t just mean having a crappy job. Money doesn’t fix everything.

    “If you are going to live the single life, live it and accept the ramifications.”

    – And oh boy, there are absolutely ramifications. Personally though, I never believed there was a choice. Yeah, I suppose I could have found (or still find) a 3 or 4, some behemoth or old bag to wife up with, but that’s not a choice at all.

    Great example you give from “The Karate Kid”. Really great movie. Where would Daniel have been in life without Mr. Miyagi? Daniel’s mother loved him very much, but without a strong father figure who took an active role in his life, Daniel was nowhere. Then Miyagi stepped in and that made all the difference. We should all be so lucky to have had someone like that when we were kids.

  • bdog57

    At my university, we had two engineering majors: aerospace and civil. Since we shared most classes through junior year, there was always a bit of friendly rivalry. The running joke was that the aerospace engineers were going to school to design airplanes while the civil engineers were going to school to design…targets.

    This principle of making decisions and moving on applies to music production as well (a hobby of mine). Cheaper, better-sounding software and production tools have lowered the barriers to entry for many musicians to make studio-quality music in their homes. Unfortunately, with so many diffferent options available nowadays, this can lead to analysis paralysis where you’re constantly altering guitar tones, tweaking production techniques, and otherwise fiddling away at the margins rather than actually making music. Tools designed to speed up the workflow can provide so many options that they bog you down.

    After 20 years of writing music and playing in bands, I finally put out an album with my band earlier this year. I think about all of the wasted time and opportunities just because I had a hard time committing to certain sounds, lyrics, and musical ideas (I’m the king of writing half songs). The perfect is, indeed, the enemy of the good. The end result is also something I’m proud of – even if there are things I’d (already!) go back and change.

    Thanks for this article, Jim.

    • Bart Manson ✓ᵂʰᶦᵗᵉ

      That happens a lot in all areas. There are so many options available in so many areas of life now, people get stuck.

      It’s called the Paradox of Choice. Instead of being happier with more choices, we become paralyzed because with every additional option available to us we are more certain that we will not choose the ideal one and will regret the choice wed did make. So we do nothing, unable to decide, constantly running calculations in our head trying to figure out which choice is the best.

      • Jim Johnson

        Yup, I think that is a big factor why so many kids get crap degrees in school, they don’t want to specialize to keep options open

      • John Galt

        I spoke with older folk fom the soviet block in the 90s who mentioned being overwhelmed with choices when they came west. It depressed them. They were not comfortable with making choices.

        • MCGOO

          I would compare the Russian immigrant experience to visiting Golden Corral for the first time. You screw up the first time eating and filling up on the sucker bait food. Then you miss out on the good stuff and get bloated.

          https://media1.fdncms.com/clevescene/imager/2012-is-the-year-of-missed-love-connections-at-golden-corral/u/slideshow/2943687/1334080905-golden-corral.jpg

          I remember bringing my crew there way back. Adult plates were $10 and kids $5. With all the choices my son went for the pizza and mac & cheese, nibbled and then went for the soft serve machine duo – a vanilla chocolate stripe that looked like a huge volcano of wigger doo doo on a large plate with rainbow sprinkles. And my daughter got plate after plate of green jello. FIVE BUCKS for a lifetime stuffing of GREEN JELLO!! Sheesh.

          That is no doubt like the Russian experience. The kids slept all the way home and daughter barfed in the driveway.

          • John Galt

            Been there. Kids load up on carbs, frozen milk products and carbonated fizzy drinks. “All-you-can-eat” was a new concept in my childhood.

    • Beartastico

      A very interesting observation. I often find myself between too many ideas to execute any of them to fruition. I have gained an immense breadth of knowledge about many different areas. From laws to integrated circuits to tax codes and fabrication of just about everything. I’d bet what I am trying to do or make is something I am overlooking completely as an afterthought. Or maybe I just need to really focus on one large overarching challenge and stick to it to perfection. I am just unsure how to proceed.

      • iBooB

        Robo-lawyer?

  • Always a great showing Jim

  • Consolation_of_Philosophy

    Beautiful work, Jim. We should be passing this one along.

  • MCGOO

    “Being 1000 miles from home, broke with 4 kids”.

    That was a crucial shit test in loyalty for the woman with 4 hungry kids. But for the man it was different. It was a transmission gearshift issue for the dude – shifting into granny gear “PULL, HEAVE HO, GET THIS SUMBITCH UP THE HILL”. A man who pulls his clan is used to rough terrain. Historically a woman needed to have a sufficiently rough hide to endure the ride of being a functioning and producing mother and spouse.

    Many women who have never had their comfort zone shit tested are spoiled rotten. It just doesn’t show right away. When you buy them a new car and they’re bitching about something unrelated three days later, it means they were never properly shit tested and ‘de-spoiled’.

    For the broke family with 4 kids, how many air head women in that situation go running to the nearest women’s shelter (which is run by anti family lesbians)? Checking in to the local government lesbian witch brigade would have been the death knell for that family with 4 kids. There’s a strain of low IQ man hating lesbianism that resembles the low IQ anti culture zombie like radical behavior in BLM or antifa that permiates a lot of benign looking front help organizations.

    The feminist women’s advocacy clowns employed by the socialist service branches are another prong of the same weed that sprouts sjw groups, antifa and BLM. The woman with 4 kids and struggling father – GOOD FOR HER for not running to the nanny state lesbians when times were for the worse. The nanny state would have advocated for the woman with 4 kids to sign kill papers on the man – – in exchange for a free section 8 flop house and slop to eat. There she and the kids would quickly rot and be scraped out, replaced later with another fickle sucker woman and her kids. The communist welfare flop houses are like the uteruses of prostitutes – regularly aborted and scraped out. Don’t go there dumb women out there!

    For that woman with 4 kids to stick to her man she proved 1). she’s not a dumb woman and 2). a woman needs to live ‘UNSPOILED’ for awhile, immunizing her from all the spoiling messages and comfort zone kosher bullshit on ‘woman’s channel’.

    Every prospective wife and mother needs to live through some trials and be shit tested for the worse. If she can live in rough times on nothing, then she’ll fare very well adhering as a loyal spouse during any time, for better or worse. If she can be thankful and adapting managing and stretching mere pocket change, then she’ll be just as respectful with her wants when the man leverages the fortune. If she’s thankful and grateful for following you wandering through the desert with nothing, then she fears no financial rock bottom and should rock bottom hit, she doesn’t flake out and commit mutiny when the man is level headedly trying to bail water.

    A woman CANNOT commit mutiny on her own, but enablers lurk even in the nicest of churches that will undermine the man and tempt her with creature comforts if she mortgages her soul by flushing the man down the shitter. Some enablers will smash a family knowing not what they do and those enablers need slapped back with a kick in the jewels.

    http://media.giphy.com/media/13nDaxXRXz0Prq/giphy.gif

    Other enablers intentionally know what they’re doing and are purposely undermining the autonomy of the man as head of his clan. Those enablers are snakes and must be dealt with like snakes. You have to be like an Irish man dealing with snakes when it comes to lurking slinking enablers.

    http://youtu.be/By6ECjh-qEg

    When shit testing times befall your clan, the man must keep his hoe swing pro and the wife will never turn into a welfare ‘ho’ with a nanny state for a daddy.

    Preparing a woman for a life of loyal tight service is like tightly tying your own shoes or mouotain boots before an uphill trek. You STOMP your foot into the boot one two three times and then re tighten the laces. You don’t walk off all loosey bootsey with the strings dragging. You STOMP IT and re tighten. Same with your breeder woman. You SLAM HER through the dregs and drag her like a sled loaded with other people’s christmas presents so she can taste the earth from whence she came, rough times and all. She’s passed the test. Then she’s ready to stick by you like a rock . . . err . . like a ‘tight boot’ as you make the climb.

    And keep the hoe slung about thy shoulder for the wylie deceptive enablers. Their strength is their numbers but they have no skid plate. Whenever ferreting in new family friends, always ask the woman “Where’s YOUR skid plate?”

    • Jim Johnson

      like working out tears your muscles which will repair stronger the next time, that was a tough time we went through but it did help strengthen our relationship

    • iBooB

      You have touched on a valiant point MCGOO that I must shed a brighter light on for it is quite important, me thinks. A woman is shit-tested by a man according to the level of discomfort he provides to her. A man is shit-tested by women by the level of dishonor she provides to him.

      Now a man’s shit testing of a woman is based on the physical plane- creature comforts like homes, food, cars, etc. which provides a sense of security to a woman. To a man, every man, those things are fleeting and can disappear like the dust from whence our body’s come. Therefore full confidence is never placed in those things for the security that is derived from those same things originates first from a deeper place. Plus, it is those things that is naturally provided by man from the same plane that Honor originates from. Nothingness.

      From this Nothingness can be created anything that man so inspires. Any man no matter his creed, color, class, or race can inspire life and it is only on that plane where that same confidence can be shaken. The same plane where women probe their tentacles into a man’s psyche and try to shake and remove him of his confidence. Only wild, feral women resort to these tactics out of an instinctual survival mechanism as most woman have been abandoned to become. A woman bestowed upon a man (as was traditionally done) removed the responsibility from her to wisely choose a mate for herself allowing her to remain in her most natural state of being.

      The woman in Jim’s life made a wise decision that was beyond her natural inclination to make when they were going through those tough times. I’m sure it was a big spiritual step forward for not only Jim, but Mrs. Johnson as well.

      • Jim Johnson

        Agreed, it helped us build lots of confidence in each other. Civil engineering hasn’t been exactly the best field since the housing market crash, but she has learned to trust in me to bring home the bacon, I have learned to trust in her through the tough times as well.

  • Murdoc34

    I decided to go into civil engineering.

    Basically the same thing you had been doing years prior:

    Soon, we found another crap job shoveling dirt.

    😉

    • Jim Johnson

      True, but this pays more

  • John Galt

    Great article Jim. A family that has worked their way through tough times is forged. Having all those little eyes watching you. Heh. You have instilled in them what the standard should be– both you and the wife.

  • Gundog

    Proving once again that running off to Alaska is a great way to get your head straight.

  • William Adams

    Well said. I agree about the either you are in our out thing when it comes to larger life decisions, but less significant such can imply that one takes the middle path so to speak. Like fitness/bodybuilding to me is not 100% dedication but that 75% dedication has still given me a lot in return. The same can be said about writing, I guess.

    • Boothe

      With fitness and bodybuilding one can be dedicated to it without being able to spend five hours a day in the gym and still benefit greatly. The important thing is to stay on a schedule, change your routine periodicall, track your results in writing and lift even when you don’t feel like it.

      For those of us who aren’t going to compete, an hour or less per day in the gym (provided that you lift with sufficient intensity) will put you head and shoulders above your peers in terms of physique and strength.

      But just as important is to ensure that you get enough rest and stick to a proper diet to recover properly. Of course a good diet and enough rest will those bring tremendous benefits to all aspects of life. Those of us who lift and continue to do so with dedication are all on the same path. The journey itself is what’s important.

    • Jim Johnson

      Agreed it isn’t applicable in all things.