📗 Letter 133: Derek Sivers taught me how to live
5 projects, 4 articles, 3 quotes, 2 podcasts, 1 book I recommend by Derek Sivers
Welcome to the 23 new readers! 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 468 learn-it-alls:
Aloha fellow learn-it-all 👋
Greetings from a cal 20 sailboat in Honolulu, Hawaii 🌺
What a fun week it has been. I want to share some wins real quick.
Apart from fitting into a pair of denim cutoff shorts from college and catching some gnarly waves at White Plains Beach in Ewa, I’ve been loving my “Gallivanting Gratitude” ritual to mail daily gratitude notes. It has been a practice with writing, giving, and walking to the mailbox. What a lovely trio to start my day.
I’ve also been loving my “Thread-vember” project of posting daily threads. One of them hit a spike in the history of my four years of Twitter usage and that is why I am writing this long overdue curation of Derek Sivers.
Now, let’s sail into letter 133 from a learn-it-all. Enjoy!
❓ Question to think about
How has Derek Sivers taught me how to live?
📖 One Book I Read
Page 95 of How to Live: Create.
This chapter, again and again, resonates the most with me. It it my favorite page in the whole book that I read whenever I feel down in the dumps and dissuaded fro my journey as a creators. As I read through the pages, I can't help but feel like that is my calling or way of being. I’ve added the page here for your enjoyment as well (along with my marginalia):
🎧 Two Podcasts to Listen to
Four quotes from Derek Sivers on Developing Confidence, Finding Happiness, and Saying No to Millions on the Tim Ferriss Show:
Advice for your thirty-year-old self [1:54:36]
A donkey can’t think of the future. If he did, he would clearly realize that he could just go first drink the water and then go eat the hay. So my advice to my 30-year-old self is, “Don’t be a donkey” that you can do everything you want to do. You just need foresight and patience.
A framework for developing confidence [15:41]
You are whatever you pretend to be. I think I just realized somewhere in there that you could just choose to be confident.
Lessons learned from the Santa Monica bike path [28:31]
I looked at my watch and it said forty five minutes, and I was like, No way. How the hell could that have been forty five minutes as compared to my usual forty three? There's no way. But it was right, forty five minutes.
And that was a profound lesson that I think changed the way I've approached my life ever since…
we could do the math… ninety three point something percent of my huffing and puffing and all that red face and all that stress was only for an extra two minutes. It was basically for nothing.
On saying “no” to millions and creating CD Baby as an act of community service [49:06]
I still considered CD baby to be a bit of a distraction. I remember I was making my living as a professional musician, which was my original goal and dream. So I was living my dream like I was. I was touring playing on people's records, producing people's records, played about five hundred colleges in the Northeast. I was making good money as a professional musician, like That's what I really wanted to dio. And this little CD baby thing was just like a favor. I was doing to my for my friends to kind of give back to the community, right? So as it grew, well, I didn't want it to grow because yeah, it was taking me away from my music, which is my real love.
The difference between being self-employed and being a business owner:
To me, that was the lesson. Like the huge difference between being self employed and being a business owner. There was actually from the book Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki That I kind of learned this idea of, um if you know, you're a true business owner when you could leave your business for a year and come back a year later and find that it's doing better than when you left, that's when you're no longer self employed. You're a business owner.
🌟 Three Quotes to Inspire
“Most people don't know why they're doing what they're doing. They imitate others, go with the flow, and follow paths without making their own.” ― Derek Sivers, Anything You Want
“Learning without doing is wasted. If I don’t use what I learn, then it was pointless! How horrible to waste those hundreds of hours I spent learning, and not turn it into action.” – Derek Sivers, Hell Yeah or No: what's worth doing
“Steve Jobs gave a small private presentation about the iTunes Music Store to some independent record label people. My favorite line of the day was when people kept raising their hand saying, "Does it do [x]?", "Do you plan to add [y]?". Finally Jobs said, "Wait wait — put your hands down. Listen: I know you have a thousand ideas for all the cool features iTunes could have. So do we. But we don't want a thousand features. That would be ugly. Innovation is not about saying yes to everything. It's about saying NO to all but the most crucial features.” ― Derek Sivers
📖 Four Articles to Read
Ideas are just a multiplier of execution
“Ideas are worth nothing unless executed. They are just a multiplier. Execution is worth millions.”
Instead of merely valuing ideas, I value showing up and executing on them. This is why I've shown up for 133 weeks writing my newsletter.
You don’t have to be local
“If you’re local, you focus on your community, doing things in-person. But this means you have less time to focus on the rest of the world.”
I’ve chosen to be local. I've found a local job, I build a local community around mindful journaling and best perk about my job is free shave ice 🍧
No yes. Either HELL YEAH! or no.
“Use this rule if you’re often over-committed or too scattered. If you’re not saying “HELL YEAH!” about something, say no.”
If an opportunity doesn’t totally excite me like meeting a new person or a new project idea, I shut it down to create spaciousness for another idea to come my way that is a hell yeah!
Cutting out everything that's not surprising
“People only really learn when they’re surprised. If they’re not surprised, then what you told them just fits in with what they already know. No minds were changed. No new perspective. Just more information.”
At the end of each month, I write down what surprised me. These are the lessons that stick out the most to me.
💡 Five Projects that inspire me
Most websites have a link that says “about” with something about someone’s background. Most websites have a link that says “contact” to get in touch. Websites today with a link that says “now” goes to a page that tells you what this person is focused on at this point in their life.
Things I’ve read
Books are Sivers’ main way for idea generation, as opposed to learning through podcasts, TED Talks, or other online articles. On this page, he rates and shares his book notes. It used to be private on a hard drive file on a plain text file but then figured it could be useful to others. (Side note: The 320+ books can be overwhelming)
The most successful email I ever wrote
A fun way to align with a mission of bringing more joy to the world by turning an automated confirmation email into a goofy one to make it remarkable and more human.
What I use
It is a frequently asked question to Derek so he outlines the hardware, software and services that he uses. This is similar to Charlotte Grysolle’s Life Tech Stack explaining favorite apps and tools. (Creating one of this is a fab way to be more intentional with your budget)
Frequently Asked Questions
This is a curation of his own work. It shows how practical his writing is that there’s all the advice already written out in case people ask him questions. I accidentally emailed asking about how he was such a distilled writer and of course his writing process is online. (he starts with a rough draft is so verbose, like a diary and then only edit edit edit edit at the final stages.)
🔎 Word to define
Live: To be alive; to have life; to have, as an animal or a plant, the capacity of assimilating matter as food, and to be dependent on such assimilation for a continuance of existence; as, animals and plants that live to a great age are long in reaching maturity.
📷 Photo of the Week
In July 2021, the universe dropped this girl to the right of me into my life. She saw me near drowning with hair in my face getting pounded by waves and taught me how to turtle roll at the Canoes surf break in Waikiki, Hawaii. A few days later, we met up to surf again. The following day, I moved into her spare bedroom in her Airbnb. Good riddance to the hostel I was living in. I almost left the island because of how lonely I was until I met her.
She’s the best friend and roommate I’ve ever had. She teaches me more about surfing and spices, and I’ve taught her more about sailing and swimming. We both value growth, adventure, creativity, and emotional intelligence. This little anecdote of my friendship is in appreciation to Em.
One person can truly change the trajectory of where you are in life and how you live life.
To Derek Sivers for creating and sharing so openly about his life that inspires the heck out of me. He is writing yet another book based on a daily run, part one and part two. Offer some feedback to him in the comments section.
To Mari Andrew whose Out of the Blue publication switched to Substack. I look forward to reading her fully human writings each week who makes me feel seen. I recommend checking out!
To Arman for recommending (via this tweet) to listen to the Tim Ferriss Show episode of Derek Sivers
I appreciate you reading this!
If ideas resonated, I’d love you to leave a comment, reply to this email, or send me a message on Twitter @JenVermet.
Never stop learning 😁
Sending sunshine 🌞
PS- If you missed last week, you can read 🚶♀️Letter 132: My 12-Hour Walk here.
If you’re reading this because someone shared this newsletter with you, welcome! I’d love it if you subscribed:
🐣 Seven Tweet Threads
On 10 simple ways to take action on your ideas:
On why I keep showing up to seven cohorts of Write of Passage:
Ten tips on how to become a surfer here: