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Letter #35 from a Learn-it-all

6 min

why to write, YouTuber Academy, wisdom from Hugh Jackman, cockamamie, decision-making mental model, storytelling, writing friend feature

Hello fellow learn-it-all,

Greetings from outside Detroit, Michigan!

I drove home this past weekend to have some extra family time for the upcoming Thanksgiving. I cannot believe it is already time to bring out the turkey and stuffing. Usually, every year I run the Turkey Trot downtown with my siblings. It’s always so fun to see all the costumes people wear. It’s also a great way to start the day before all the feasting of wonderful foods and family time.

Since this tradition will not be living on this year, here is a picture from last year with my family:

So much gratitude to acknowledge this time of year. 2020 has definitely been an eye-opener of realizing how grateful I am for community and connection with friends and family, near and far.

So, what's in store for this issue?

  1. Highlights explaining the rationale of how I write, what I write and create
  2. Sneakpeak of my future YoutTube channel’s first video
  3. Rich knowledge from the Guinness World Record holder for "longest career as a live-action Marvel superhero"
  4. A more descriptive word to describe a wacky person
  5. A mental model to make decisions from the pilot who I looked up to after my third-grade book report on her
  6. Questions to get you thinking in a storyteller mode
  7. A picture with a Michigander friend I made from Twitter who loves thinking loud as much as I do

Now, let’s jump into letter 35. Enjoy!

Some things I’ve learned through…

🚢 Shipping It

I reinforced my daily writing habit and published five Ship Its. Below are a few of my favorites surrounding the rationale behind my writing process:

With Curation Comes Creation - It is so tempting to think that curation is unoriginal. That you are simply a collector. However, to get better, we need to learn from the best. To know who they are, the experts need to be surfaced. It is like a quest to find the best treasures.

Why Write Online? - You can never predict nor imagine who your writing can reach. Your ideas magnetize and attract those interested in your knowledge. There is nothing but upward gains. You get to connect with like-minded people. The Internet offers a free platform to help find your voice.

Why Journal? - I originally started out thinking that writing every day would be good for my routine. To help me become more productive in seeing the goals I wanted to each day. I never knew all the benefits that would come along with the simple act. (Related from my longer-form article archives: Why Journaling has Transformed my Identity)

Each of the pieces is less than 400 words. I explained my rationale behind starting it here. I've written for 90 days of short-form pieces and have 10 left to go before I get to 100!

🗣️ Upcoming Videos

I completed my Performative Speaking course on Friday and present a compressed 4-minute speech on what I learned from 2020 and what is ahead in 2021. The key takeaway: be the storyteller of your life. (I'm going to record it again and make it even better before sharing it with you all.)

As that course came to an end, I have begun Ali Abdaal's Part-time YouTuber Academy. I realized how uncomfortable I got on video and am excited about this foreign type of medium. It's a great opportunity to explore a new skill on a YouTube channel and share more of my personality. My first assignment is to share a story about one of my favorite things. It will come in next week's edition. What I will be talking about: my journaling practice.

If there is anything that you would specifically like to know, I'd LOVE for you to leave a comment or respond back to this email.

From the first week of the PTYA course here are some key findings so far:

🎧 Listening

I listened to the Australian actor, singer, multi-instrumentalist, dancer, and producer  Hugh Jackman get interviewed on The Tim Ferriss Show. I know him most prominently from playing Wolverine in X-men and P.T. from the Greatest Showman. Time and Hugh spoke about Best Decisions, Daily Routines, The 85% Rule, Favorite Exercises, Mind Training, and much more. I can see why I received such stellar reviews for this conversation since it was filled with such inspiring stories.

My favorite insights from Hugh were that:

He makes reading a priority in his life. Hugh reads every morning (out loud with his wife) because he knows that if he waits until later in the day, it won't be a priority.

He studied journalism in college, but never pursued it as a job after trusting his intuition. In his last semester of college, a friend told him to take a theater class because "it’s the easiest thing possible. You turn out for four hours a week. There’s no exam, there’s no play, and you pass." There ended up being a play and Hugh spent 90% of his time committing to the minor elective.

I had this feeling all over my body that I’d made a mistake, that I should have been here; I should’ve been doing this course. I knew then. It was deeply frustrating to me to be three weeks away from graduation thinking,“Oops. I think I turned right and I was meant to turn left.” I went straight to study acting after that.

On his work ethic and outlook:

It’s a privilege when you get a job... Work your ass off, as though this is the last one."

On Hugh's humility and self-doubts:

"A bit of a habitual thought pattern with me is like, “Oh, well, you’re not that good.” Like, “You don’t know that much, man.” You know. “You’ve done all right, but you’re not the person that people are going to listen to on Tim Ferriss!” Again, you know, those doubts that clearly have fueled me in my life. ...just to be completely open and honest that I have those doubts, you know? That I’m not good enough, which have driven me.

Advice from his dad on religion:

“People should know you’re a Christian through your actions.” It is so much more powerful. If someone eventually comes up to you and says, you know, “There’s something about you, man. I don’t know what it is, but I’d love to know where I can get it.” You know? People have noticed how you act is far stronger than what you say.

🔎 Word to define

Cockamamie: A foolish or ridiculous person; or a decal, a design that can be transferred to a surface.

It came from earlier than 1940–45, Americanism; in its original sense, “paper strip with an image which could be transferred to the skin when wet,” as an alteration of a decal; the current sense “ridiculous” probably by association with cock-and-bull story or poppycock.

The etymology of cockamamie: Although the word was adopted by Jewish immigrants earlier in the 1940s in New York City to refer to transferable decals, it comes from French décalcomania. Cockamamie (or cockamamy) is now used to describe something wacky or ridiculous. It's often heard among those familiar with Yiddish.

Example using the word: Of all the cockamamy excuses I ever heard, my Resistance said I couldn’t film my video tonight because the dogs needed my attention.

🌟 Quote to inspire

"Decide whether or not the goal is worth the risks involved. If it is, stop worrying" -Amelia Earhart

💭 Question(s) to ponder

What are your go-to stories that you want to share with loved ones over the holidays? How can you frame the story as an adventure with adversity and triumph? What is the goal and big idea of the story?

📷 Photo of the Week

I made a little pit stop on my drive home from Chicago to meet up with my friend Cullin McGrath. I met him by joining the online writing community that he helped found called the Writer’s Bloc. Cullin also writes a weekly newsletter called Thinking Loud that I highly recommend subscribing to. His work inspires me to show up in the arena and challenge myself to be better.

We had a rich conversation across the topics ranging from: “should dos”, quarter-life crises, (non) productive pursuits, spontaneity, creation vs. curation, and unlearning beliefs like cutting it from the court record.

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. here’s a picture of me pursuing axe throwing for the first time last year. I remember it being great stress relief from my job. I love trying out new hobbies and highly recommend (but of course stay safe always).

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