Hello fellow learn-it-all,
Greetings from the snowy windy city!
If you are new here or missed last week's edition, you can catch up on the past letters here. If you are reading this for the first time, I’d love you to sign up below to join the 178 learners:
In this weeks letter, I explore various ideas that I have been sitting with including:
- Is there magic in the shower?
- Pondering my three 2021 words: Play, Intentionality, Experimentation
- Starting a curiosity conversation practice
- Officially launching a career course
- A farewell poem
- The word that encapsulates much of how I feel wandering with no purpose
- A quote to make you stop thinking about other’s expectations of you
- A question to facilitate thinking about mini-experiments
- The power of a physical memento from a virtual course
Now, let’s dive into letter 43 from a learn-it-all. Enjoy!
Some things I’ve learned through…
I started reading Glennon Doyle's powerful memoir Untamed that explores the joy and peace we discover when we stop striving to meet the expectations of the world and start trusting the voice deep within us.
I've been loving the short chapters as it makes me feel a constant momentum. Specifically, this two-page chapter stood out to me where one of Glennon's daughters is convinced that the shower is the only place she gets cool ideas:
Could be the water... Or it could be that the shower's the only place you're not plugged in–– so you can hear your thoughts in there... That thing that happens to you in the shower, babe. It's called thinking. It's something folks did before Google. Thinking is like... it's like googling your own brain.
Takeaway? Make time for thinking. Her kids are convinced that the shower is the most sparkly place to have magical moments. Glennon points out that it is actually the only time that they are thinking and Googling their brain without instantaneous answers.
I have been trying to make more space for thinking time myself. This has meant:
🚘 Driving without music playing
🚶Walking and running without earbuds in
🧽Doing the dishes without a podcast
🧘Stretching while focusing on my breath
🚿And of course showers
Due to this awareness, I come back to a lesson I realized while completing my annual review: the power of reflection and reviewing. I have a tendency to seek novelty and consume instead of reviewing or being present and thinking.
Application to my newsletter moving forward ➡️ I am going to be sharing fewer new links unless it is something I have dedicated thinking time. With that said I still love new brainfood, I merely believe we need to look for the timeless nuggets more.
As I remarked in my annual review last week the three words I want to serve as pillars for my year are:
I have been sitting with these further and assessing whether the intentions and aspirations I set so far are in alignment with what the bottoms of my belly, my heart, and head truly agree with. These are meant to serve as the rationale for why I am pursuing something.
How have I had play this last week? I bought a chin-up bar with my roommates and we have started a competition to see who can improve the most in pull-ups and push-ups. I am the underdog. I shamefully can complete 0 push-ups and 0 pull-ups. Only up from here! For every person that enters my home now (which has been slim due to Covid), I am going record how many pull-ups and push-ups they can complete.
How have I had intentionality this past week? I baked a Shirley Temple cake
(vanilla cake with Maraschino cherries) for a friend's birthday. I had never been so precise with using a recipe. It sounded iffy that it called for 7-Up pop but I followed the rules anyway. Here's the after picture (accompanied by some beautiful store-bought Molly’s cupcakes).
How have I experimented lately? I bought two new plants to be friends with Minty.
The marble-leafed and marijuana-looking (I swear Home Depot didn't sell one) foliage still need names. If you have a suggestion, I welcome all comments.
Some other experiments currently in the works:
- Daily cold showers in January
- Dry January
- Morning walks rain, snow, hail, or shine
- Continue foregoing caffeine (only herbal tea)
💡 Curiosity Conversation Practice
Brian Glazer, the author of A Curious Mind, attributes his successes in producing movies to having curiosity conversations. On the Tim Ferriss podcast he shared that "I'm going to create a discipline that every two weeks, I will meet someone that is expert, renowned or committed to something that is unrelated to entertainment."
It wasn't just an experiment he tried out for a short stint. It was something that transformed into his lifestyle today starting after college.
Paul Millerd writes about living a pathless path and redefining what success means to him. He has been hosting his own curiosity conversation for the past few years and I hopped on his calendar to partake in one. Here are some highlights:
Glazer and Millerd have inspired me so much that starting next week I have opened up my calendar to hear from you all and host curiosity conversations. I have added a section to my website where you can directly connect with me here.
🚀 Course Launch
As of 12pm CST today, Revitalize your career launches. I am beyond excited to get started and ensure smooth lift-off. I’ll be making sure that the student experience is successful for the 11 enrolled students
I shared more about how I landed this newer role:
I found a poem I wrote on my last day at Korn Ferry. I was heartbroken that day and had 12 hours before my computer shut down. I hastily brainstormed as words came to me to email everyone farewell. It's not all too shabby considering I was emotionally a hot mess.
What a shame to have to go
While in Spring, when I see the snow
Great times we’ve been able to share
With learnings everywhere
And people that really care
Until the next time our paths cross
My days will feel at a loss
The world is in danger
But please don’t be a stranger.
This is a theme in my life. I used to procrastinate my accounting finals in college to write haikus and limericks. The sole reason was to have fun. Poetry and language stimulate my brain to intersect ideas in a way that a spreadsheet never could. Studying rhetoric and the rhythm of words is pure play to me.
🔎 Word to define
Flâneur: a stroller, lounger, saunterer, or loafer. Flânerie is the act of strolling. A near-synonym of the noun is boulevardier.
Etymology: Flâneur derives from the Old Norse verb flana, 'to wander with no purpose'. This comes from the tongue northern Germanic languages of the Vikings and their Scandinavian descendants by the 15th century. It became more prominently used in Danish tongue.
The flâneur evolved into being a literary type from 19th-century France, essential to any picture of the streets of Paris. The word carried a set of rich associations: the man of leisure, the idler, the urban explorer, the connoisseur of the street.
The flâneur concept is not limited to someone strolling, but can also include a "complete philosophical way of living and thinking". A process of navigating erudition as described by Nassim Nicholas Taleb's essay "Why I Walk".
Example: Perhaps we can all embrace our inner-flâneur and intentionally create more thinking time in our days.
🌟 Quote to inspire
“I’d finally ask myself what I wanted instead of what the world wanted from me. I felt alive. I’d tasted freedom, and I wanted more.” -Glennon Doyle
❓ Question to think about
What is on your backlog of new habits you want to implement in your life's system?
📷 Photo of the Week
Ali Abdaal sent me this handwritten note after the Part-time Youtuber Academy ended last year. I am beyond impressed that he sent me this from Cambridge in England! Talk about stepping up the game of a stellar online course student experience where there were 400 students in the community.
The thoughtfulness pays off. To make a virtual experience something more memorable is impressive to do with a caring note like this.
I appreciate you reading this! If certain ideas resonated or you have feedback to improve my future newsletters, I’d love you to leave a comment, reply to this email, or send me a message on Twitter @JenVermet.
Never stop learning 🌟
Until next week,
P.S. if you're interested in the curiosity conversations, check out my calendar here.
If you’re reading this because someone shared this newsletter with you or you clicked a link somewhere, welcome! I’d love it if you subscribed below to receive future updates: