Letter #28 from a Learn-it-all
apple picking, discovering dyslexia, build your life resume, crockpot vs. microwave, reflecting on habits, nobody's perfect, Charlie Brown
Hello fellow learner,
Greetings from Chicago!
I drove to a farm out in the western suburbs over the weekend to go pick some apples. It wasn't the best timing because it started raining upon arrival. It was still worth it because I got myself some apples and the cider doughnuts were phenomenal. Apples are one of my favorite fruits, so this orchard was like a treasure trove of goodies. There were a lot of bad apples but I found some tasty tart and sweet ones.
I want to get into the groove of fall, so if you have any apple dish recipes, send them my way!
Now, let’s dive into letter 28 from a learn-it-all. Enjoy!
Some things I’ve learned through…
I finally published the first piece of a series I will be writing surrounding the topic of dyslexia. This piece has been churning within me for quite some time now. Discovering Dyslexia is one of the most vulnerable pieces that I have written yet and I am excited to hear what you think.
Four years ago, when I was 20, a doctor uttered three words that broke my world.
“You have dyslexia.”
I didn't hear much else after that. I had no idea what it meant and was speechless. I didn’t want to know. It was something that made me an outsider and different. It changed how I view myself.
Prior to this, dyslexia was not something I knew existed. It was not remotely on my radar of possibilities. I just thought I was a bad reader. I accepted the fact that I would not be one of those people volunteering to have their nose in a book. It turns out I have plenty of company. In America, the Society of Neuroscience reports that as many as 43.5 million adults and children may have dyslexia. Between 5-10% of the population has dyslexia, but this number can also be as high as 17%. Many children go undiagnosed with dyslexia. They are more likely than their non-dyslexic peers to drop out of school. This ignites a snowball effect to becoming unemployed, underemployed, or incarcerated.
🚀 Shipping It
This past week I reflected on a favorite course I took in March of 2019 called Build Your Life Resume. It was taught by entrepreneur and author Jesse Itzler. It was a pivotal point in how I view my life. I started to live intentionally after taking this course and take ownership of what I can change. Of the many lessons, Jesse introduced me to building monthly habits, eating more fruits in the morning, and building a life of experiences I am proud of. If you are interested, you can check out my 2019 life resume here. My 2020 edition is in the works.
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. I distilled some of my favorite lessons from Jesse’s course for each of my posts last week:
Bus ride of life - The bus never stops and people are on your ride with you for only certain periods of time, so make the most of each experience.
Normal is broken - Settling to be normal is letting down your future self. Challenge the status quo. Daring to be different is scary, but that feeling makes it worth it. Take the risk because inaction is a crime against your future self.
Student of mindset - Jesse’s wife Sara Blakely shared that: "I just started to become a student of mindset. I'd been sitting in school for 16 years being taught what to think but never how to think."
Build your life resume - We control the effort that we put into anything we pursue in life. Take note of that saying in school of getting an A for effort. That is what counts when you look back in life about how much you really pushed yourself to succeed.
Rip the playbook - The playbook is set and stone, but our lives are always evolving. Creating some flexibility opens the door to introduce change and venture outside of your comfort zone. Only there can your true potential be met, so don't live by the stagnate playbook. Create your own and never stop.
🍲 Crockpot vs. ⏱️ Microwave
This week I came across a metaphor that resonated with my writing: crockpot vs. microwave.
My pieces that are in the crockpot have been stewing and take longer to process. I have to ponder and put more thought to them. These are my blogs. The pieces where I know I have to sprint during a finite amount of time are in the microwave. These have been my daily Ship Its. This comparison helps to frame my mindset while creating.
To all my fellow creators out there: what metaphors help you understand your creative process?
🤔 Reflecting on Habits
I did a review of progress in September and the third quarter of the year. I will share the highlights of metrics below in six buckets: meditation, running, Twitter, newsletter, word count, and hydration. (This is my first time tracking any of these metrics)
🧘 Meditating - 300 minutes
Every morning of September for at least ten minutes, I meditated. This adds up to 300 minutes or 5 hours. This time is well worth it.
With this practice, I started to notice little moments in between different activities and became more conscious. Life breezes by without acknowledging those split seconds periodically.
I also realized that we only have our minds to experience life. Meditation helps us to notice what we are already noticing. It starts to bleed into everything in life. For instance, noticing a cranky mood, and being mindful for a moment creates awareness of the half-life of that emotion. It will more easily float away.
I’ve also started to notice the power to trigger emotions with my mind from past sensations, like plopping an image of a smile in my mind makes me happier. This feels like an emotional superpower that I am starting to get a hint at yielding. I am so glad I started meditating again, and I am looking forward to continuing.
🏃 Running - 182 miles
I decided in July I wanted to turn my attitude on running on its head and actually enjoy this form of fitness. This added up to 182 miles over the last 3 months. In August I ran 100K (63 miles) and in September I ran 100 miles. I shared this blog compiling the 15 lessons I learned along with this thread:
🐦 Twitter Analytics
I have started to track my Twitter since I spend drastically more time on this platform than any other. My main reasoning behind this is that I usually leave the platform feeling more inspired to create.
My following has increased by 49% (226 new followers / 457 current following) and my output of tweets has increased by 43% as well.
✉️ Newsletter - 67 new readers
This has been a 55% increase in the following of these letters! As of September 30, there were 120 readers in the community. Though, this metric is not the numbers game I am playing. I am here to build a stronger audience and share value with you from what I experience and can create. I find the most fulfillment from the ideas and actions that are taken after reading this.
😶 Word Count - 32,700
My philosophy for writing has been similar to that of running: the repetition with quantity will create quality.
32,700 words. I am speechless. That is all I have to say. Technically speaking, if I printed out my blogs, Ship Its, and newsletters, they’d make a mediocre sized book. Since starting to ship daily short ideas on July 23rd, this is a testament that when you break something down, it builds itself back up.
🚰 Hydration - 10 liters
As for my habit in October, I have started to intentionally track my water intake. I am aiming for 2 liters per day, so over the last 5 days, I drank 10 liters. There are so many apps out there for tracking. I am still experimenting with which one I like most. I have already found myself being mindful drinking more throughout my day and it has been helping. Perhaps by the end of this month, I can push my goal from 2 liters a day to 3. We shall see.
I came across an old comic book from my dad's bookcase. Nobody's Perfect, Charlie Brown Volume 1 comics written by Charles M. Schulz in 1969.
I found myself giggling like a little girl reading these. The audience is for children, but I found all of it relatable. Charlie is a goofy optimist. Lucy is such a grumpy control freak. Snoopy is a sweet and silly pet. Charlie's younger naive sister Sally has a crush on Linus. He is crying because his beloved blanket blew away as a kite.
I appreciate Charlie's attitude in this comic. He has constant determination and shows up to the baseball games even in the rain when no one else does. Charlie starts to feel like a victim of losing, but Lucy snaps him out of it. She helps him realize that we must value the losses as much as the wins. It is easy to focus on the wins, but putting a magnifying glass up to our losses is ever more valuable.
Mistakes and failures progress our learning and create wisdom.
🔎 Phrase to define
“How do you like them apples”: directed jestingly or mockingly at someone who has received surprising information, ridiculing the situation.
The origin of the expression is from during the first World War, when the Allies' anti-tank grenade was colloquially called a “toffee apple” because of its bulb-like appearance on a stick. The phrase was a taunt against the enemy.
It became more popularized being used by Matt Damon in the 1997 movie Good Will Hunting after my favorite scene that I mentioned in letter 23.
🌟 Quote to inspire
"What gets measured gets managed." -Peter Drucker
I am realizing that many of the metrics I could easily quantify for my quarterly review aren’t what I truly value. Moving forward, I am going to see how I can change what I track to be what I find most important.
💭 Question to ponder
The saying goes: an apple a day keeps the doctor away.
I have been prioritizing my health by eating more fruits and vegetables lately. I have never regretted making my health or fitness more important. How can you prioritize your health more?
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. if you are interested in dyslexia or neurodiversity, I would love to connect for the next part of my series.
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