Skip to content

✉️ Letter 78: Write to your Future Self, Mermaid Caves, Equifinality

7 min

What would I like to write to my future self on?

Aloha fellow learn-it-all

Greetings from Kaimuki, Hawai'i 🌺

I've been living here for almost three whole months (what!), and I still try to view things like this tree down here with a lens of novelty. It was so easy to when I first got here and now I feel like I am tempted to take them for granted. Oh look, there's another rainbow. Big shocker. Ooo another family of chickens just crossed the road and miraculously didn't die. When will they learn NOT to cross the heavily trafficked road??

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 other learn-it-alls:

Now, let’s dive into letter 78 from a learn-it-all. Enjoy!

🖊 Writing

The prompt this week for Write of Passage was to share something that is obvious to me but novel to others. What immediately jumped to mind was my practice of writing letters to my future self.

I mailed myself a birthday card this year. Why? I knew it was a special one with the big milestone of turning 25.

It was the middle of my Bill Gate’s inspired Think weekend back in February where I escaped my technology for a weekend to look inward before my birthday. I had some enlightened clarity on life without the chaos of the external world bundled up by the fireplace in a snowy northern Michigan cottage.

🎧 Listening

I listened to a conversation between the creator and host of Creative Elements Podcast Jay Clouse and Steph Smith.

Let me elaborate with more depth on my tweet:

  1. The only reason we know about our favorite writers, artists, musicians, and movies is not only because they have mastered their craft, but because they are marketers. Without marketing their craft, we would have never found their work. There needs to be a balance between investing in your craft along with sharing it and marketing yourself. When you have an audience you get a feedback loop on your work.

When you build or learn in public, you are being courageous and sharing the behind the scenes. In other words, "with the garage door open". Followers appreciate this and can help you along the way. It's like when I was struggling to push my car out of a snow bank in northern Michigan and then the cars behind me got out of their warm heated seat cars into the snow storm to help me push.

While doing this, it feels daunting because, it is easy to fear that people will copy your process. In reality, we all ideas but to actually execute on those ideas is sparse. Author Derek Sivers explains this concept or worth on ideas and execution best with this table:

  1. Through asking what we have spent more time on than the average person, it helps others to understand what makes each of unique. It's helping the person you are connecting with the answer to how to remember you. In high school, I got voted "most memorable" and I still to this idea have no idea why or what for.... Be more direct with what you want to be remembered for.

Four other insights I found helpful on audience building and intentional learning:

  1. With the intention and desire to share, you can organically build an audience along the way.
  2. She wrote her book in 49 days after spending three years before that building her audience. What seems easy on the surface actually took time to carefully craft.
  3. Validate the need for the project you want to start. Steph went out and sold her 3000 word outline a year after writing it for $10. She felt more urgency to write it after that.
  4. In 2015, Steph knew wanted to work remotely. She reverse engineered and intentionally learned the skills to make that ambition a reality through seemingly random freelance gigs that served as projects to learn coding.

👩🏻‍🏫 Write of Passage Writing Group

Something top of mind this week is research. Not just any type of research, but ambient research.

What the heck is that?

Well, ambient means: Something that surrounds or as, air . . . being a perpetual ambient.

So it's like saying how we writers research as if they are breathing air– subconsciously as an automatic habit to survive.

It means to write down things. You might think that all writers need to spend all day behind a computer. Some might, but most of the writing is done more organically by accumulating notes and spending time thinking to digest. In my world, this means holding a pen in my hand for long moments while looking out the window or long flaneur-esque strolls  to think instead of writing.

The better you are at taking notes, the better you will become at communicating ideas effectively. In essence, these newsletters each week are a hodge podge of my notes that I converge and distill the pieces I am most proud of to share.

That is what any piece of writing starts out as: a bunch of ideas turned into notes turned into a converged piece.

To read more about this concept, I wrote about it during the last Write of Passage cohort in letter 52.

🏖 Hawaii Update

I bought a ukulele and have been strumming her each night building up some calluses on my fingers. My roommate has been such a patient teacher and it has been so fun to play together.

Over the weekend, I also ventured along the west coast and up to Waimea on the north shore of O’ahu.

Some of the best free diving yet was at Electric Beach. It is called electric beach because of the power plant next to it. The two large cooling pipes outflow with warm water to the ocean and attracts schools of fish. I understand why the fish like it so much as it feels like a hot tub in the ocean and when you swim in front of it, you get skyrocketed away from the shore. It felt exhilarating like I was at a waterpark.

I also saw a really cute baby turtle with her momma and dove down about 30 feet to a school of fish. I’ve been trying to get better at holding my breath longer. The challenge is quite fun.

🔎 Word to define

Equifinality: Many different paths can lead to the same outcome

In behavioral psychology, it refers to how different early experiences in life (divorced parents, physical abuse, substance abuse) can lead to similar outcomes, like childhood depression.

In business, equifinality implies that firms establish similar competitive advantages based on substantially different competencies.


In writing letters to your future self, equifinality implies that the outcome of showing appreciate for yourself and being a friend.

🌟 Quote to inspire

"Take a simple idea and take it seriously." -Charlie Munger

❓ Question to think about

What would I like to write to my future self on?

📷 Photo of the Week

This spot on the west side of the island is called Mermaid Caves.

Not going to lie, this excursion down under felt scarier to me then swimming with a shark or sky diving. Caves freak me out. I've become way more cautious about the ocean knowing how fast the tides can change.

On top of that I have some claustrophobic tendencies. As Aerial from Little Mermaid would call them, here's to list some thing-a-mabobs:

  1. The first time I can remember going to the bathroom on an airplane was much later in my adult life. I was nervous I'd get locked in so I preferred just not drinking leading up to any flights to be dehydrated or holding it in. At least I knew I wouldn't have to disturb anyone in my row since I will always request the window seat for the VIP show of the clouds.
  2. If we ever meet in person, you should know elevators are not a great place to talk to me. I'm always on edge until the doors open again.
  3. I used to be afraid of the dark until I had sleepovers in middle school and it wasn't cool to bring your night light. I didn't want to dare risking banishment. I already was wearing headgear, so having any friends was already hard enough.

🙏 Shoutouts

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. If you want to learn more about who I am, I welcome you to visit my online home.

Never stop learning 😁

Mahalo 🌺


👣 Footnotes

Why don't more people take sabbaticals or invest in their adult education?

Night surfing is scary but invigorating. Who knew the moon could shine so bright?!

Listen to this song and it'll get you in the groove for September.

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:


Subscribe to receive the latest posts in your inbox.