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Letter #30 from a Learn-it-all

5 min

Internet skepticism, Solomon's Paradox, Cell phone advancements, culture, puppacinos

Hello fellow learner,

Greetings from the Great Lake State!

To those of you who haven't spent the majority of your life living in the Midwest like me, that state surrounded by lakes is Michigan.

I am going to keep this letter short. To be frank, I didn't consume much on the Internet. I have felt like I am in a funk. I'm typically a glass half full type of gal, but this past week I grew skeptical about the Internet and everything it brings. Instilling creative inspiration is challenging when you feel more naive than normal. Long story short, I was scammed on the phone. Lessons are being learned. I might write a piece about what happened eventually but for now, it's still processing. Apparently, this happens often. If it's happened to you or someone you know, I'm curious about the learnings and mindset moving forward. Your response has a high likelihood of making my day, so thank you in advance.

Now, let’s dive into letter 30. Enjoy!

Some things I’ve learned through…

🚢 Shipping It

I reinforced my daily writing habit and shared five Ship Its. Each of the pieces is less than 400 words. I explained my rationale behind starting it here.

My pieces from this past week were:

📖 Reading and Rewriting

I dusted off an essay I wrote in 2011 called "Advancements Lead to Benefits". I wrote this my first year of high school. It was the second formal research paper I had ever written. The first one I wrote was about how science shows that cats and dogs create happier lives for humans. I sadly cannot find it. Nevertheless, this one will suffice. The thesis for this essay: cell phones represent a positive development in technology and a huge benefit to society.

This version from fifteen-year-old Jen makes me slightly embarrassed, while simultaneously, pleasantly surprised. I made some insightful arguments and attempts at persuasion.

My beliefs on the topic of cell phone use have drastically changed over the past decade. I find myself laughing out loud at some of the benefits I listed that I now see as burdens:

  1. "When someone has a cell phone, it makes people easily keep in touch with everyone all the time." Thank goodness for Do Not Disturb and airplane mode.
  2. "The upside to cell phones is that no one ever has to be bored to death anymore because they are always entertained." I oddly take pleasure in boredom now since writing a letter to her. I see it as making the exciting moments evermore so.
  3. "Another convenient feature is instant email, so if someone is expecting an email from work or a sports team, they just have to check their email a few times every now and then, and this person doesn’t have to sit at their computer." I kind of wish I could only respond to email on my laptop so I wouldn't be tempted to on my phone.

Please keep in mind, I was pretty naive when I wrote this essay. I had just upgraded to an iPhone from my LG EnV2 flip phone, which I am flabbergasted that Sears still sells in their stores for $49.

My iPhone gave me a cool factor in high school and I was obsessed. I mainly played Tiny Wings and took selfies. Nevertheless, my dependency on technology already skyrocketed with this new relationship.

I'd love to publish the second edition of this essay and drastically change the claims I make. I look forward to seeing how I can rework this piece to make it relevant again. I would love to know your thoughts.

Please feel free to poke holes and add comments to the Google Doc.

🔎 Word to define

Culture: the characteristics and knowledge of a particular group of people, encompassing language, religion, cuisine, social habits, music, and arts. More specifically it can dictate what we wear, how we wear it, what we believe is right or wrong, how we sit at the table, how we greet visitors, or how we behave with loved ones.

The word culture derives from a French term, which comes from the Latin word "colere". This means to tend to the earth and grow or to cultivate and nurture.

There are so many different cultures we are surrounded by without fully acknowledging. The corporate culture of values where we work. The language with family and among our friends. Even with yourself, there can be a culture of what it's like to actively foster growth in your own personal relationship.

It correlates with a term author Tim Ferriss introduced me to: Kaupapa (Māori, or te reo). “Kaupapa means principles and ideas which act as a base or foundation for action. A kaupapa is a set of values, principles, and plans which people have agreed on as a foundation for their actions.”

What is the difference between culture and kaupapa?

🌟 Quote to inspire

"The master has failed more times than the beginner has even tried.” –Stephen McCranie

💭 Question to ponder

How would you describe your relationship with technology?

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. enjoy this shot of Polo enjoying his first “puppacino”

P.P.S. I live with some artistic people who make food look like spooky art.

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