Be Like Johnny: Always Believe In Yourself

How much time do you invest in reaching your goals or following your passion? Johnny invested nine years, and it worked out.

This is Johnny. He is 22 years old, from Chicago and he’s 6 feet 1 inches tall. He had the dream of being an idol (entertainer). He is an optimist and believes in the motto, “To do and regret, rather than not do and regret”. He auditioned with SM Entertainment, which is in South Korea, and was chosen during the SM Global Audition in Chicago on September 2007. He was part of SM Rookies, where he received training and worked hard. He trained for nine years, which is exceptionally long for an idol. He watched friends debut in groups, and it seemed like he would debut with EXO in 2012 as he trained with them but he would have been the only Korean-American in the group. Years pass by. SM Entertainment announced the NCT concept (a band that expands and shrinks via sub-units as necessary to actively compete with current music trends) in January 2016 and fans figured Johnny would debut with one of the NCT groups. NCT U debuted April 2016, NCT 127 debuted July 2016 and NCT Dream debuted August 2016 – no Johnny.

Remember, Johnny trained for nine years, watched his friends debut in groups,  and he worked hard. Under those circumstances, it is understandable to become frustrated, question whether you are doing the right thing. It is easy to give up. Johnny never gave up. December 2016, it was announced NCT 127 added two members, Johnny being one of them. Johnny finally debuted  with NCT 127 January 2017 with the album “Limitless“, which just hit #1 on the Billboard World Album charts.

Don’t Give Up

When you have a goal or a dream, one of the common problems is knowing how long to invest in it. When is it too long and a sign that, perhaps, that is not your destiny? Johnny trained for nine years, that is a long time, but he had other things “against” him as well. He is unusually tall for an idol and he’s half American. Let’s not forget his age. He is “old” to debut as an idol. The odds were against him, how did he know or what made him think he’d eventually make it? There were signs that it would work out, if he was patient.

  • SM Entertainment did not give up on him. They could have not renewed or released Johnny from his contract.
  • Even if things did not work out with SM, he gained a valuable amount of knowledge that he could use to further his career in other ways.
  • He has a loyal fan base. He had people rooting and patiently waiting for him the entire time. There are idols that debuted that were unable to keep as many fans as Johnny has for as long as he has.

While those are not the optimal signs (debuting in a group is for this situation), there were signs not to give up.

While we are going through things in life it is okay to wonder why situations have to be so hard to overcome. Sometimes, it can seem like the world is crashing in on you. However, looking back you can often connect the dots as to why things turned out the way they did. Have you ever looked back on your life and what was confusing previously makes perfect sense now? The lessons you needed to learn, the wisdom you needed to gain and more importantly, the timing of the opportunity to be right all play a part in being successful and obtaining a goal. I have had times like this, and looking back with more wisdom than I had while going through the situation, I was able to see how to overcome it quicker. It was a learning experience.

Think long and hard if it is really the time to give up on your dreams and if you are giving up on them for the right reasons. Are you giving up because you’ve changed and it is no longer your passion or because you don’t have the success you wanted as quickly as you wanted it? Are you really doing everything you need to do to be the best you can be in that field? Having a skill or an idea is not enough to be successful.

Never stop believing in yourself.



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