Skip to content

Letter #8 from a Learn-it-all

5 min

Hello fellow learner,

Greetings from Petoskey, Michigan 👋👋

I really appreciate the written word and look forward to writing cards. It wasn’t always this way, I used to dread it when it felt like a chore to write. This was because of endless Thank You cards after my First Communion celebration when I was nine years old. Now, I see the power in putting words on a card to affirm why I love those that I do. More specifically I wrote my dad a birthday card for his 59th birthday yesterday.

This picture is from almost five years ago in June of 2015. It was a simpler time in this picture. I was sailing with my dad on his J-120 boat called “Nauti Boys” before it was struck by lightning. I spent many days alongside him working with the crew of 10+ people, navigating storms, and sleepless nights racing hundreds of miles across the lakes of Michigan. So much of who I am today is from what I learned from him. My dad never runs out of ideas and always tells the best stories. Words cannot explain my love for him, and I am grateful to be in northern Michigan with him and my family ❤️

Here is letter #8 from a learn-it-all, enjoy!

Some things I’ve learned through…


I did an experiment on Friday inspired by my friend Charlie Bleeker of doing 24 hours without technology. After setting my phone on airplane mode and disconnecting my laptop from the internet, I realized how much I rely on distractions to avoid work. Key takeaways are:

Moving forward I am going to be more intentional about distancing myself from constant dopamine hits of scrolling Twitter or LinkedIn and refreshing my email. I can add steps to break these unconscious habits by putting my phone in another room or deleting apps for periods of time. There is a mine of gold in our brains of ideas that we need to explore!


I wrote reflections from being laid off. It’s about my experiences of realizing how job security is a myth and how much I value my relationships.

Out of the blue, I received a meeting invitation from my company's human resources business partner. In this brief 15-minute call, I heard a bunch of legal corporate verbiage. It concluded with being laid off from where I had worked for the past 10 months. The uncertainty going on in the world with Covid-19 caused me to be on edge for weeks losing sleep leading up to this call. Nevertheless, I would have never been ready to hear this news.

The routine of my day was pulled out from under me like a rug on a slippery floor-- along with project plans I created and teams I collaborated with. I never felt comfortable in my employment because I feared complacency. I was always seeking out more opportunities for teams to collaborate with or skills to gain. I wanted to be indispensable. I was questioning my self worth on the work I had accomplished. I didn’t know if my termination was a consequence of my performance or why I was chosen the chose one.

I never knew I could cry as much as I did. I realized that I was sad because I cared. There’s nothing wrong with that. We should care about the work we do. This emotion is normal with loss of any kind.

Over the following days, I got flooded with supportive messages from colleagues. I appreciated the text messages, phone calls, and emails: it affirmed my beliefs that I did create value for the company.

You can read the rest of this post on my blog ➡️


I watched the Harvard commencement speech by Steven Spielberg from 2016. What struck me is that even though Spielberg began his dream career at Universal Studios without his college degree as an unpaid intern, he still went back to graduate from college later on. At age 55, he walked the stage at California State University. He wanted to model the way for his seven kids and walk the talk by finishing what he started.

For the first 25 years of our life, we are trained to listen to voices that are not our own. Parents and professors fill our heads with wisdom and information. Then employers and mentors take their place and explain how this world really works and usually these voices of authority make sense but sometimes doubt starts to creep into our heads and our hearts.

These voices of doubt need to be noticed. They are your internal voice and opposing views of what you could do. Paying attention to them allows your intuition to be heard, instead of your conscience that's shouting what you should do. Your conscience and intuition help define your character and it takes courage to follow it.

Spielberg believes that in order to understand who we are, is to understand who we were. This can be done by getting to know our family history. In order to create a better future, we need to find value in studying the past.


I listened to an episode of the Rich Roll podcast with Chase Jarvis being interviewed on how creativity is our birthright.

Chase Jarvis is an author, photographer, and co-founded Creative Live in 2011. He scratched his own itch in creating this company because he wanted more education. After pursuing his artistic career, Jarvis didn’t want to go back to school. He allowed for information to be easily accessible with its online education platform that broadcasts live classes to an international audience.

Jarvis believes that it is essential for us to take education into our own hands. Learning should not stop when we are 18. We need to stay nimble and not become calcified after leaving school.

Creativity is a muscle. It’s a habit, not a skill. It’s a process, not a product.

Everyone has creativity. Jarvis advises that we all acknowledge our creative curiosity and gain agency by realizing in small ways what we can create. Creativity is the new literacy, and because of this, it is the riskiest time in the world to stay safe. He recommends asking “what are you going to lose?” Write down your fear and if you barely trip on it, it's worth pursuing.

Word to define

Mea Culpa: Used as an acknowledgment of one's fault or error. In Latin, it translates to mean "through my fault" originating in 1602 from a prayer of confession in the Catholic Church. By itself, it is an exclamation of apology or remorse that is used to mean "It was my fault" or "I apologize."

Example: I must admit a mea culpa to my family that I could not find the TV clicker. Can you think of another example?

Quote to inspire

“The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn.” — Alvin Toffler

Question to ponder

What would the future me in 10 years want the present me to invest my time in today?

Thank you to my editors for helping me to make my writing the best it can be: Charlie, Avthar, Pranav, Hal, Lev, and Praveen. Also shoutout to my friend Ben for inspiring the question to ponder on his latest podcast episode on Subject Matter!

I appreciate you reading this! If any of the ideas resonated or you have comments to improve your experience, feel free to reach out to me at or on Twitter @JenVermet.

Never stop learning 😃

Until next week,



Subscribe to receive the latest posts in your inbox.