My Story

(a Mini-Manifesto)


 What's Wrong with the Personal Development Industry? A Mini-Manifesto for  The Curated Soul

What's Wrong with the Personal Development Industry? A Mini-Manifesto for The Curated Soul


Why I Do This Work


Eight years ago the bottom fell out of my life. Massive internal and external transitions abounded.  I was used to being the de facto "counselor" in my circles, able to quickly diagnose the underlying problems and see the way out, but not this time. My talents for clarity, problem-solving, and wisdom were utterly foiled. I had to become better, but knew I couldn't do it without help, and professional help wasn't my best bet. So, with my friend Google by my side, I went searching.

I wanted a way to heal and excel that was private, safe, and independent—a way to see through the haze of overwhelming emotion and confused thoughts. I wanted to see the big-picture of my growth, to discern which way was up, and to assess my life so that I really understood what I most needed and why.

I wanted to cut through the cacophony of contradicting voices telling me what I should and shouldn't do, and instead to know it for myself. I wanted to know how to trust myself again after major failure, and to understand my own soul enough to pray for something beyond, "Please God, help."

I searched in vain. 

The more I combed the internet looking for what I needed, the angrier I got. Why wasn't anyone speaking my language? Why had no one provided what I needed so I could get out of pain, reorganize my soul, and develop my talents? Why was so much of the "personal development" industry focused on getting thin, getting rich, getting success, getting happy, and so little of it focused on getting meaning, understanding, and wisdom?

And why was it all so disjointed, fragmented, and lacking logical foundations?

My angry frustration agitated the conqueror in me and lit up the analytical side of my brain. Ironically, in feeling like I couldn't solve my own problems, I began to solve a much larger one. 

I learned that how you define the problems, challenges, and hope of personal growth determines how you frame the solution. Is it a practical, tactical problem? A psychological constraint? A personality deficit? A limiting belief? A moral failure? An emotional wound? A persistent bad habit? Or perhaps some combination of all of these?

We tend to think that providers of personal growth products are offering competing solutions to the same problem. They're not. They're offering competing definitions of the problem itself.

Figure out how a brand defines the problem and you'll have a better idea if its products will help you. As I defined the problem for myself, I designed solutions that helped me get my story moving.


Redefine the problem. The Curated Soul.jpg

The Curated Soul's definition of the problem


  1. We need to seek meaning instead of success (whether success is defined as accomplishment or pain relief).
  2. We need to see personal development as a personal and collective responsibility.
  3. We need to understand our pain isn't merely something to relieve or endure, but rather a call to answer.
  4. We need to comprehend how critical self-awareness is to our life story and our impact on the world.
  5. Sometimes we need to seek growth on our own, privately, independently, without fear of judgment, loss, or not being able to express ourselves clearly.


The Curated Soul's Purpose


  • To help change the personal growth and development industry to focus first on meaning instead of desires, goals, or simple (and simplistic) relief.
  • To increase meaning in the world by destroying the lies that personal development is an interest or hobby for the ambitious, spiritual, young, or driven. The more of us there are seeking meaning, the more collective meaning we'll have.
  • To frame soul-suffering as a call to grow in particular forms of meaning, acknowledging intense emotions while freeing us from slavery to them or desperation in them.
  • To make seeking meaning easier, clearer, and a lot more effective by creating a whole, connected, and logical process. 
  • To design products that help us work independently, learning to dismiss the voices, thoughts, and beliefs that have no meaning and to better integrate and showcase those that do.


I hope you're with me.



Here's to living in a world with more meaning.