I’m Ali Soufan, a new Contributor on the Valuable Newsletter. I always find it so difficult to introduce myself to someone new because, just like all of us, I am so many different things at any given moment in my life. I read this quote by Carl Jung a few months ago and it sums up my dilemma perfectly: “We meet ourselves time and again in a thousand disguises on the path of life.” As much as society likes to fit us humans into small, labelled boxes, I believe we are all multi-faceted and in a constant state of change. We experiment with different masks and meet ourselves over and again, until we happen upon our truest form.
Who Am I (really)?
Outside of the mandatory dramatic statement that must come with every opening piece I write, here’s a snapshot of my life. I was born and raised in Beirut, Lebanon for the first 18 years of my life. Although a beautiful country, I was forced to leave it due to a lack of opportunity and stability to pursue a life in the UK. Education was my gateway into a better world, and I found myself studying Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence at the University of Nottingham. It was a long and difficult journey to make, especially because I had little to no clue regarding what I was getting myself into. My three years there ended up being one of the most rewarding periods of my life as I battled impostor syndrome, a lack of direction and motivation, and a whole pandemic to graduate with a First class (All thanks to God!).
Despite excelling at my undergraduate, I was left wanting something more “me”. And so, as a result of the skills and hobbies I developed throughout my years at Nottingham (more on this later), I decided to pursue a Master’s in Entrepreneurship at University College London (UCL). And now, I’m sat here, one year later having just submitted my Master’s dissertation about the small business scene in Lebanon, helping out a friend build her super cool start-up in the creative industry, and preparing for my upcoming graduate job as a Data & AI analyst with Deloitte. Life’s crazy, right?
Everything Else About Me
Remember those skills and hobbies I mentioned? They’re what led me to this very moment, writing for the Valuable Newsletter. I’ve always been a creative at heart, but I never really had the opportunity to develop my skills prior to leaving Lebanon (outside of a Theatre course I took during high school which was absolutely amazing). Once the pandemic started and TikTok started to gain traction, I jumped on the platform and started my journey creating content for a wider audience. What first started as funny videos and skits soon turned into motivational and self-development content. I ended up starting my own live interview series on Instagram (Sit Down with Soufan), as I spoke to a range of guests from varying walks of life regarding their areas of expertise. Being on social media opened a lot of doors for me, and I was able to meet and network with so many great minds, just like the pioneer behind the Valuable Podcast: Victor himself. Needless to say, I have taken the last year off social media to recalibrate after the whirlwind of the last few years, and to realign my goals for this next phase of my life which involves being truer to my creative self. Now that I am ready, the path begins with this newsletter!
What to Expect
Over the next few months, I’ll be taking you with me on a journey as we explore a range of topics aimed at delivering new perspectives and insights that will help both you and I become more Valuable people, friends, learners, listeners, employees, and much more! The articles will cover a plethora of themes, from careers, university, and entrepreneurship, to psychology, philosophy, and even relationships; the ultimate goal is to provide room for us both to think, grow, and become. You can expect these articles bi-weekly on Sunday evenings at 6 PM, just in time to plan and reflect before the beginning of the new week. I’ll be leaving a few questions and maybe even a few small tasks to guide us throughout the journey. These articles are also meant to be a platform for open discussion, so feel free to leave any comments below or on the Valuable Podcast’s Instagram. You can also catch me on my personal handle on Instagram!
This is a new beginning, and I’m extremely excited to see what this chapter has in store for all of us. I see endless potential…
In the meantime, stay blessed!