personal development

An Open Letter to Seekers

Isn’t it mind-blowing how many of us pay for truth, connection, and reality—but don’t show up when it’s right in front of us?

We buy an online course and do 20 percent of it.
We buy books and read a third of them.
We sign up for events we never attend.
We follow “gurus,” or pedestal prophets, hoping to get a glimpse at their human existence or hear something we already know but are too afraid to admit.
Look, I get it.
So many of us are searching for something we feel is missing or broken, thinking we won’t be happy and whole until we find it.
We struggle to feel content no matter what we are doing, who we are with, or what we’ve accomplished. So we pay for something, hoping and praying it will connect us to some “absolute truth.”
Seekers—I see you.
You’re not lost.
You’re definitely not alone.
You’re not broken, or empty, or wrong.
You just are.
You’re looking.
And that’s okay.
Honestly, for years I was in the same position. I looked in every crevasse of the human experience to find some universal truth in my existence.
It was the classic existential crisis: Why am I here? Who am I?
There is one universal truth I’ve learned through all of this, and I wish I could tell every seeker on the planet:
We’ll never find answers to these questions if we don’t give everything we’ve got.
I don’t mean this in some motivational “rah-rah” way. More in the “we need to jump in feet first and learn how to swim” kind of way.
Play full-out.
Buy the online course and do the whole damn thing—not because we paid $97 for it, but because it could literally hold the key to our enlightenment.
And perhaps that sounds dramatic, but think about it:
What if the answers we have been looking for were in one of the countless books we started but never finished?
Or on the other end of that coaching call we committed to, but didn’t show up for?
Or in the yoga class we paid $25 for, but decided to sleep through instead?
The worst thing we can do as a seeker is to sign-up for everything and show up for nothing.
I know this because my life didn’t change until I did.
I spent an entire week unsubscribing from email lists I didn’t open, giving away books I knew I had no interest in reading, and deleted courses I knew I’d never finish.
All of the unread, unfinished, uncommitted things had a cost—a weight that was holding me back from seeing my actual truth.

Every unfinished course, unread book, and half-assed therapy session seemed to push me further and further away from my ability to find answers.
It became increasingly clear to me that the problem wasn’t the programs or the books—the problem was my (lack of) commitment to finding answers.

So from one seeker to another, here are three things I learned after wandering for years.

1. The Four Life-Changing Words.
“Belief clings and faith allows.” ~ Alan Watts
These four words can change our lives. Our brains are meaning-making machines. They are pattern recognition pros, which constantly look to understand and make meaning out of things which often can’t be fully understood.
Therein resides the problem.
The challenging aspect of belief is that sometimes there is no evidence. Sometimes we have no real proof that we should believe. Because of this, sometimes it seems impossible to do so and sends us on a journey for answers we may never find.
Our job isn’t to constantly seek out evidence to believe something will happen the way we want. Our job is to have action-based faith. What I mean by “action-based faith” is this:
We need to take action in the right direction (or at least the direction we feel we should go) and have faith that whatever is meant to happen will happen. We need to notice where our mind is seeking evidence to believe and shift by asking ourselves, “What action could I take to have more faith?”
Faith is not blind; it helps us see what our minds cannot, but only when we’ve taken action that allows faith to be present.
2. Stop Saying Yes to Sh*t That’s a No.
“No: It’s a complete sentence.”
But how? How do we know what to say no to? Simple—if we aren’t going to complete something, press ctrl + delete.
Unsubscribe from the email lists we never open. Donate the books we aren’t going to finish. And say no to people who drain our time, happiness, resources, and faith in humanity. (You know the ones I’m talking about.)
So many of us are seeking happiness because we don’t know what it looks like. We say yes to everything and only enjoy some of it. We confuse ourselves about what’s a “f*ck ya!” and a “f*ck no.” It’s all just “meh, I guess so.”
We will never find answers living a “meh” life.
3. Stop Half-Assing Everything and Start Whole-Assing One Thing.
There are a lot of people who know a little about a lot of things, but not many who know a lot about a few things.
We put a half-assed effort into a bunch of courses or books and never really implement the content in those courses.
Last year, I implemented the “would I read this three times?” strategy and found it immensely powerful.
The reason this works so well is because most people buy books they don’t even plan on reading once, never mind three times. It forces us to really chose something, to be intentional, and to commit to something deeply.
Find a book you want to read and commit to reading it multiple times. Take notes, highlight it, implement one of its strategies for a week, and then see how this shifts your understanding of the core principles within the book.
We can use this concept in so many areas of our lives—dating, for example:
We swipe left and right so fast now we hardly see a person’s face. Instead, imagine that swiping right meant you had to go on three dates with this person. We’d be much more intentional, wouldn’t we?
So choose what you want to whole-ass. Choose, intentionally, what you want to commit to and then dive in like a navy seal.
So have action-based faith, say no, whole-ass the things that bring you joy, and before you know it, you’ll have the answers you’ve been seeking for years.
**This post was originally published on Elephant Journal**
An Open Letter to Seekers
Connor Beaton is the founder of ManTalks, an international organization focused on men’s health, wellness, success, and fulfillment. Before founding ManTalks, Connor worked with Apple, leading high-performance sales and operations teams. Since founding ManTalks, Connor has spoken on stage at TEDx, with Lewis Howes, Gary Vaynerchuk, Danielle LaPorte, taken ManTalks to over a dozen cities internationally and has been featured on platforms like Forbes, Huffington Post, HeForShe, The Good Men Project, UN Women, CBC, and the National Post. Catch up with Connor on his website.

Your Ultimate Pathway To Personal Growth: Feedback That Hurts

One of our deepest human needs is to grow, develop and become better today than we were yesterday, and that is not easy.
We associate growth and development with pain because they usually mean change; we need to do things differently to achieve different results and get different outcomes.
To do things differently is to explore areas we aren’t familiar with, use skills we haven’t mastered, develop and evolve processes we haven’t perfected.
What it comes down to is stepping into unfamiliar grounds, putting ourselves on the line and being more liable to fail. That scares the heck out of us and makes the pathway to our personal growth seem harder than it really is, to the point we avoid it at any cost.
That pathway is feedback; it’s the one thing that matters most for any personal growth or development to take place. Without feedback, you have no idea what’s the true value you’re creating, what your impact is and how your results are received by the outside world.
However, not every feedback is valuable feedback. In fact the only feedback that really matters, the only feedback that is valuable, and the only feedback that makes a real difference, is the feedback that really, really hurts!
What is feedback that really hurts? It’s the one that looks like an attack on you, your personality, ideas, values, what you stand for, your work, what you do, your actions, behaviours, everything you’re part of, everything you represent, everything you are, everything that is you.
The worst part about feedback that really hurts is that it never looks like feedback. It always looks like an attack, it comes with anger and it usually forces you to shut down, stop listening, raise your shields, put up your defences, and attack back.
Why feedback that hurts? Why not regular feedback?
When people are angry and in an attack mode, they’re usually not reserved, and the rational part of their brain that usually sugar coats feedback with bullshit icing is temporarily unavailable to them. As a result, they will share their raw thoughts using the first words that occur to them. That is the most honest and most valuable feedback you can get.
Could that be why Steve Jobs got remarkable results from his team? Jobs is known for being unapologetically direct and rude. So if he thought a piece of technology is shit, he would not say “thank you, why don’t you try harder and do your best the next time.” He would get angry and call it “a piece of shit.” That is a super clear response that means you really need to go back to the drawing board and rethink the whole damn thing.
If you got that kind of feedback, there is no doubt in your mind that you need to be rethinking the whole thing and innovating the heck out of it. You just can’t rationalize your way around such feedback, and you won’t misunderstand it.
Recently I got into an argument with someone I work with, we both got angry and the argument turned into a shouting match. I wasn’t listening, I was ready to defend myself, I wanted to win and prove I was right.
When I calmed down and thought things through, I saw things differently; ‘that was feedback.’
Yes, he probably didn’t intend for what he said in the argument to be feedback, he was just angry about a few things and upset from me. But when I thought about it as feedback, that completely shifted my response, and instead of seeking an apology from him, I asked for more ‘feedback.’
So we met a couple of days after and I asked him to share with me everything that was coming in the way of us working together as one team and preventing us from collaborating. In plain terms I asked, ” tell me where you think I fucked up, what was I doing wrong and what issues do you have with me?”
I listened as he shared all the things that caused him to be angry at me. I realized that I had no idea of the unintended impact of things I said or did. It was the best feedback anyone could’ve given me about how I show up for that team and the impact I have on them.
I recalled some arguments I had with people I worked with in the past. How different would our results and relationships be if only I saw their anger, frustration, and the hurtful things they said as feedback?
How valuable would it be for you to get this kind of unedited, unfiltered, honest feedback? Are you able to see anger, argument, and disagreement as feedback? Are you able to get curious about the reasons behind these reactions and ask questions to find out?
You don’t have to wait until you get involved in an argument or someone gets angry at you. You can start getting feedback today by asking the people in your life and the people you work with open questions like:
– What is there between us that is unresolved?
– What is there for me to clean up or address?
– What do you really think of my work?
– What do you really think of my behavior?
– What do you really think of the way I conduct myself?
– What impact do I have on our work and our relationship at work?
– What do you really think of the way I show up at work?
– What are my strengths?
– What are my weaknesses?
– Where do I mess things up?
– Where did I fuck things up?
Make sure you ask the questions and listen intently to the answers. Create a safe space for them to be brutally honest and direct with you. The last thing you want to do is argue with them, negate what they are saying, or point out how they are wrong. That will not go well. The moment you start doing that, people will shut down and will get back to sugar coating their answers and giving you bullshit feedback. What’s worse is that you will mostly show up as someone who doesn’t listen and only interested in your own opinion.
Warning: Honest and direct feedback is going to be hard, sometimes very hard. So breathe through it. And remember feedback about you is not an accurate representation of who you really are, it’s just the way that person sees you and how you showed up to them in the past. You can change that and turn things around.
With every feedback session you conduct, you will have a more accurate representation of your personal brand and how you show up in the world. You will start to recognize certain patterns of things you say and do that are shaping how people see you and deal with you.
Such valuable feedback paves the ultimate pathway to personal growth. Even before you start doing or saying things differently, just the fact that you are asking for this kind of feedback will cause people to start to see you in a very different light. They will respect you more, they will be more open and honest in how they deal with you. This is a very different way to operate, one that will enable you to generate very different results.
You now have information you can act on. It’s up to you to choose what you’re going to do with it. You can ignore it, or use it to become the person you are meant to be and create a remarkable impact in the world.

Hussein Hallak is a serial entrepreneur with 22+ years of startup experience in strategy, branding, marketing, and growth. Hussein started 6 successful companies, worked on projects for Fortune 500 companies and World’s Top 100 Brands, and was featured in Forbes, BBC, and Entrepreneur. 

Currently Hussein is the Director of Strategy and Marketing at 3 Tier Logic, a shopper marketing and engagement software startup out of Vancouver, BC. Hussein is also the Director of Marketing at TEDxStanleyPark, Advisor at Spirit Games Ltd, Head Instructor – Lean Entrepreneur Program at LaunchAcademy and Founder of

Hussein lives to inspire possibility, to enable people, to achieve the remarkable.

Connect with him through his websiteFacebookLinkedInTwitterPinterest, and Instagram 


Embracing Pain with an Open Heart as an Emotionally Sensitive Guy

Growing up, it was a struggle for me to feel a sense of belonging regardless of where I lived or who was in my life. It seemed like I was living in my own world most of the time and seemingly oblivious to what was going on around me. I always felt somehow different and disconnected. It felt like there was something wrong or missing in my life that I couldn’t quite grasp.
This presented me with a massive challenge throughout most of my life, as the core need I sought after was to feel loved and connected to others. But it seemed that no matter how hard I attempted to prove to others how “worthy” I was of their acceptance, it would only push people away.
This led to a lot pain and suffering as I could not understand why others would seemingly just gravitate towards each other in close friendships and romantic relationships and yet I was struggling to barely fit in.
My subconscious belief at the time was that people didn’t accept me because I was not “good enough” for them. I believed that if everyone simply saw how smart, resourceful, creative, and kind I was, that people would finally accept and love me.
But the harder I tried, the more people pushed me away. I was constantly ostracized by my peers and rejected by women that I conveyed interest in. These experiences further ingrained the belief that I was inherently unlovable and worthless if others would not accept me.
It was only later in my early 20’s, when I began to work on myself more seriously, that I realized how disconnected I was from my emotions and learned to shut myself down to avoid feeling all the pain and heartbreak I experienced in my life.
I actually took pride in my ability to remain completely emotionally detached from life and live up in my head. I believed that relying on emotions was a weakness and made us flawed and illogical which held us back.
This inclination towards valuing knowledge over emotion served to help me grow intellectually very rapidly. However, my relationships suffered immensely. I began to see that no matter how “smart” I got, or how much stuff I knew, it did not seem to win me any friends or make me any happier. I only managed to grow more lonely and depressed as time went on.
It was time to make radical changes in my life. I needed to shift my priorities and values to allow myself to begin truly experiencing my emotions and doing what it took to finally be “happy” and feel connected to others. This decision took me down the path of serious emotional healing work.

“… without a doubt the heart is an inexhaustible source of love, insight, and intelligence that far surpasses that of the mind.”
― Baptist de Pape

It felt like I had opened my own emotional Pandora’s box and was not prepared to handle what came out. All my old wounds involving my insecurities, abandonment, rejection, and heartbreak rushed to the surface screaming for my attention.
Growing up I had accumulated a plethora of experiences to ingrain the belief that I was worthless and unlovable, from regular bullying in school to mental abuse at home. I adapted to absorb it all by shutting down emotionally so I wouldn’t have to feel the pain. However, if you shut yourself off from feeling pain, you also shut yourself off from experiencing much of anything else too.
Until then, I never considered myself an emotionally sensitive person. But after beginning to navigate this unknown emotional landscape, my only impulse was to attempt to shut down again in the hope of avoiding the intensity of a lifetime’s worth of pain.
On this journey of healing, I recognized and began to embrace my emotional sensitivity as a gift. And the lesson that I am continually reminded of (often painfully) is that we must learn to keep our hearts open despite the pain.

“When you open to your heart, your entire world changes–it opens up around you. You see yourself as part of a friendly universe, one that is full of possibility, one that is generating and regenerating a positive energy.”
― Baptist de Pape

My greatest breakthroughs and lessons came from staying with the pain and continuing to remain present with my feelings rather than shutting down. As an emotionally sensitive person, it’s easy to become overwhelmed and simply to shut down and build up walls in attempt to protect your heart.
I had suffered many years before I learned this powerful lesson that completely shifted my experience. It didn’t shield me from other inevitable pain and disappointments, but it provided me with the capacity to continue feeling my feelings despite the circumstances.
It has made me and my heart stronger knowing that I am capable of moving through any experiences that may arise, no matter how challenging. In the face of great emotional turmoil, I will stand my ground and not run away or shut down.

“The power of the heart is to be connected with who you are at the deepest level.”
~ Eckhart Tolle

This is ultimately the path of true transformation and growth. If we truly wish to experience the fullest depth of our being and what is possible for us, then we must have the courage to face ourselves and continue to keep ourselves open.
27452285564476.LvXmKGeoHA8XFcMkttiQ_height640Alexanndre Levan is dedicated to living a self-actualized life. He shares his facility to bring wisdom and consciousness teachings down-to-earth to empower those on the path of spiritual awakening. He is especially committed to illuminating and activating the path for Millennial Leaders to live meaningful and purposeful lives, realizing their potential through embracing the higher-consciousness that is coming into the world today.
Connect with Alexanndre on his blog and Facebook Page


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