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📈 Letter 57 from a learn-it-all

7 min

How can you allow yourself to fail forward in an experiment?

Hello fellow learn-it-all,

Greetings from Chicago!

Last week was a bit odd. I had gotten back from Denver and was paranoid that I had covid from the five days of incubation it would have been. Note to self: WebMD never helps my mental anxiety.

My test results took way too long to get back to me. I locked myself in my 63 square foot bedroom for majority of the week and crossed my fingers. While probably taking above the advised dosage of Vitamins C and D.

When I got back the result it clarified that my allergies are in fact up the wazoo and I probably should be prioritizing my sleep more. To make up for this lack of fresh air my walk on Sunday culminated to 14 miles. I phoned some friends, jammed to my new playlist , listened the album listed down yonder, and snapped some sweet shots. I love walking. Mike Posner walked across the US from New Jersey to California in six months by himself in 2019 and I get why. It reminds us of our humanity. Maybe Forest Gump wasn't so silly after all?

Here's an irrelevant picture of a puppy just for fun.

My parents were dog sitting George, who legitimately looks like a stuffed animal. I had an American Girl Doll name Kit growing up and this pup looks identical to Kit's dog "Coconut". Funny enough my first time ever coming to Chicago was when I was nine years old when Kit told me she absolutely HAD to visit the American Girl Doll Store. Who would have thought over a decade late here I'd be?

I hope it brings a smile to your day just as it does for me.

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, what's in store for this issue?

  1. Some writing about rethinking my thoughts
  2. Some lessons on the 3 P’s for an online course
  3. An new archived album revealing process and vulnerability
  4. Three ponderings on humanity, adulthood, and trees
  5. A fun word
  6. A quote from that encourages you to read "bad" books
  7. A question to get you thinking about experimentation
  8. A gezellig storytelling picture
  9. Some shoutouts to fatherhood, yoga, and curation helpers

Now, let’s dive into letter 57 from a learn-it-all. Enjoy!

🖊 Writing

So I Googled my name. I know a bit odd right? I surfaced an old WordPress website I made as a mandatory assignment for my creative writing class in 2016. This was one of my favorite classes I took in college despite my career counselor saying it was a waste and jeopardizing my timeline towards my degree.

It was September 9th 2016. The day my sister could officially vote. The day my brother moved to Chicago. And the day I switched my university minor from marketing to management. I thought this was such a big deal at the time.

If you fancy to read my chicken scratch decision journal, here is is:

I meshed a lot better with my management Professor Rode and loved the focus of psychology and motivation theory in the workplace that we studied. Meanwhile, marketing Professor Hoffer was on his last leg before retiring. He had epileptic seizures during class that frightened me.  I wasn't entertained or intrigued by the content. He might’ve been an effective teacher before but his technique wasn’t make marketing appealing at all.

At the time I viewed marketing with a negative lens. One where it was segmenting people into boxes.  Furthermore, I viewed marketing as the easiest degree to get in business school. I wasn't in business for easy. I opted for challenge. So I changed my mind and that was what I based my decision off of: how much I liked my teacher, how stimulating it was to learn about and longevity of the challenge.

I sometimes imagine a "what if story" going on in my head: if I hadn't changed my minor, would I feel more competent at my roles being a marketing manager today? Would media make more sense with more than one college course under my belt?

I don't know, but I do know I never pictured myself today learning and obsessing over marketing today. With Professor Hoffer’s dry textbook out of the picture, I get to learn marketing on my own. A handful of books I have been reading just-in-time have been Content-Based Networking, Doing Content Right, Marketing for Dummies,  and Alchemy: The Surprising Power of Ideas That Don't Make Sense.

Let me know if you’re interested in exchanging ideas around this!

👩🏻‍🏫 OnDeck Creator Course

My favorite takeaways from the course this past week was the framework for the three Ps of a transformational online courses:

Here's a video on it.

🎬 Watching

Maggie Rogers is one of my favorite musicians. I first discovered her a few years ago. I would listen to her nearly every night at 1AM when I'd be driving my mini-Cooper home from my shift at the restaurants. She made me feel at home before I was ever even home.

Her most recent album is not actually new. She shared notes from the archives from recordings in 2011 through 2016. This album was released in its original format to showcase the time it takes to grow into your voice and fully develop into being an artist. I think it is beautiful.

She was high school for much of this time. Maggie started writing songs as a way to process and document her life. Music production became the vehicle to allow those songs to come alive.

I love the way that she accepts this reflective record: Looking to the future by honoring the past.

All of her past is a part of who she is in the present. Maggie wanted to share the process, so that we can hear her grow and make mistakes.

I don't feel complete without them in the world.

She released the record in reverse chronological order because that is how she remembers it. We always tell the story from the beginning to make sense linearly but it's impossible to tell where it started. We think from back to front, so we get to hear Maggie get younger. I love how intentional she is in making the story be told in the way she wants rather than following the rule that you have to start from the beginning.

This reverse timeline makes more sense. She started to question when her musical journey began and she doesn’t really know. Does it start with your first music lesson on a harp at age six or writing in high school with too many hormones?

💭 Pondering

  1. Being human is hard enough so no wonder most of the population is living life on default mode just trying to live all while knowing our mortality is somewhere on the horizon.
  2. Much of life is viewed through the lens of two stages. Either being a dependent child and an independent adult. Once you hit the 2nd phase, it is assumed that you know more than the first phase. That you have more “figured out”. Nobody tells kids this in the first stage, but adults are always winging life. Adam Grant would say this doubt is a reminder to stay humble and an invitation to keep an open mind.
  3. I can’t remember the last time I climbed a tree. 🤷🏻‍♀️

🔎 Word to define

Oy vey: used to express dismay, frustration, or grief.

Etymology: late 19th century in Yiddish, literally means ‘oh woe’. It is an exclamation of dismay first used in 1892 American English. Extended form oy vey (1959) includes Yiddish vey, from German Weh "woe"

Example: Being a yes girl is great and all, until you look at you calendar, remark oy vey and recognize you need to carve time for yourself.

🌟 Quote to inspire

"Every book you pick up has its own lesson or lessons, and quite often the bad books have more to teach than the good ones." –Stephen King

❓ Question to think about

How can you allow yourself to fail forward in an experiment? (This is a surefire way to test your boundaries.)

📷 Photo of the Week

This picture is from April 2017 in Delft in the Netherlands. It was in the middle of my semester living there. I was curious about how hard it would be for me to read this Dutch story to my cousins before bed. They know French and Dutch. Not English They laughed at every word I spoke because I had no idea what I was saying. I was curious and could tell from the pictures, but I felt like a hooligan.

It's been four years since, and I miss Bruno and Delphine very much.

🙏 Shoutouts

I appreciate you reading this!  If you’ve forgotten who I am, here’s a little bit about me. 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. to those of you who follow me on Twitter thank you for being one of the 700 feeding my inspiration.

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