Namaste friends. This post is a collection of quotes from the book - Think Like a Monk by Jay Shetty. In Think Like a Monk, Shetty draws on his time as a monk in the Vedic tradition to show us how we can clear the roadblocks to our potential and power.
When you get stressed - what changes? Your breath. When you get angry - what changes? Your breath. We experience every emotion with the change of the breath. When you learn to navigate and manage your breath, you can navigate any situation in life.
Unconsciously, we're all method acting to some degree. We have personas we play online, at work, with friends, and at home. These different personas have their benefits. They enable us to make the money that pays our bills, they help us function in a workplace where we don't always feel comfortable, they let us maintain relationships with people we don't really like but need to interact with. But often our identity has so many layers that we lose sight of the real us, if we ever knew who or what that was in the first place.
Society's definition of a happy life is everybody's and nobody's. The only way to build a meaningful life is to filter out that noise and look within. This is the first step to building your monk mind.
No matter what you think your values are, your actions tell the real story. What we do with our spare time shows what we value.
When we criticize others, we can't help but notice the bad in ourselves. But when we look for the good in others, we start to see the best in ourselves too.
Remember, saying whatever we want, whenever we want, however we want, is not freedom. Real freedom is not feeling the need to say these things.
If I only find joy in my own successes, I'm limiting my joy. But if I can take pleasure in the successes of my friends and family - ten, twenty, fifty people! - I get to experience fifty times the happiness and joy. Who doesn't want that?
The material world has convinced us that there are only a limited number of colleges worth attending, a limited number of good jobs available, a limited number of people who get lucky. In such a finite world, there's only so much success and happiness to go around, and whenever other people experience them, your chances of doing so decrease. But monks believe that when it comes to happiness and joy, there is always a seat with your name on it. In other words, you don't need to worry about someone taking your place. In the theater of happiness, there is no limit.
Anger is a great, flaming ball of negative emotion, and when we cannot let it go, no matter how we try, the anger takes on a life of its own. The toll is enormous.
The less time you fixate on everyone else, the more time you have to focus on yourself.
When we acknowledge that all of our blessings are like a fancy rental car or a beautiful Airbnb, we are free to enjoy them without living in constant fear of losing them. We are all the lucky vacationers enjoying our stay in Hotel Earth.
Life isn't a collection of unrelated events, it's a narrative that stretches into the past and the future.
Fear motivates us. Sometimes it motivates us toward what we want, but sometimes, if we aren't careful, it limits us with what we think will keep us safe.
Success doesn't guarantee happiness, and happiness doesn't require success. They can feed each other, and we can have them at the same time, but they are not intertwined.
There are two lies some of us hear when we're growing up. The first is "You'll never amount to anything." The second is "You can be anything you want to be." The truth is - You can't be anything you want. But you can be everything you are.
A monk is a traveler, but the journey is inward, bringing us ever closer to our most authentic, confident, powerful self.
A person who isn't living their dharma is like a fish out of water. You can give the fish all the riches in the world, but it will die unless it's returned to the water. Once you discover your dharma, strive to play that role in every aspect of your life.
To build your competence without regard for character is narcissistic, and to build character without working on skills is devoid of impact. We need to work on both in order to serve our souls and a higher purpose.
Eventually, I learned the one infallible trick to successfully getting up earlier: I had to go to sleep earlier. That was it. I'd spent my entire life pushing the limits of each day, sacrificing tomorrow because I didn't want to miss out on today. But once I finally let that go and started going to sleep earlier, waking up at four became easier and easier. And as it became easier, I found that I could do it without the help of anyone or anything besides my own body and the natural world around it.
Looking at your phone first thing in the morning is like inviting one hundred chatty strangers into your bedroom before you've showered, brushed your teeth, fixed your hair. Between the alarm clock and the world inside your phone, you're immediately overwhelmed with stress, pressure, anxiety. Do you really expect yourself to emerge from that state and have a pleasant, productive day?
Being present is the only way to live a truly rich and full life.
Change happens with small steps and big priorities. Pick one thing to change, make it your number one priority, and see it through before you move on to the next.
Routines are counterintuitive - instead of being boring and repetitive, doing the same tasks at the same time in the same place makes room for creativity. The consistent energy of location and memory of time help us be present in the moment, engaging deeply in tasks instead of getting distracted or frustrated. Build routines and train yourself as monks do, to find focus and achieve deep immersion.
Just as the past is unchangeable, the future is unknowable. A certain amount of planning is useful and good preparation for the various scenarios ahead, but when these thoughts tip into repetitive anxiety and worry or unrealistic aspirations, they are no longer productive.
The body is a vessel. It contains us, so it's important. We have to take care of it, feed it, keep it healthy, but the vessel is just a carrier. What it carries is the real value.
The arrogant ego desires respect, whereas the humble worker inspires respect.
You can only keep up the myth of your own importance for so long. If you don't break your ego, life will break it for you.
The ego is two-faced. One moment it tells us we're great at everything, and the next moment it tells us we're the worst. Either way, we are blind to the reality of who we are. True humility is seeing what lies between the extremes.
We think we're everything we've achieved. We think we're our job. We think we are our home. We think we are our youth and beauty. Recognize that whatever you have - a skill, a lesson, a possession, or a principle - was given to you, and whoever gave it to you received it from someone else. [...] No matter what you believe in spiritually, when you recognize this, then you see that you're a vessel, an instrument, a caretaker, a channel for the greatest powers in the world.
When you ask for feedback, choose your advisors wisely. We commonly make one of two mistakes when we seek feedback: We either ask everyone for advice about one problem or we ask one person for advice about all of our problems. If you ask too broadly, you'll get fifty-seven different options and will be overwhelmed, confused, and lost. On the other hand, if you drop all your dilemmas on one person, then they'll be overwhelmed, unequipped, and at some point tired of carrying your baggage. Instead, cultivate small groups of counsel around specific areas.
The measure of success isn't numbers, it's depth. Monks aren't impressed by how long you meditate. We ask how deep you went.
Real greatness is when you use your own achievements to teach others, and they learn how to teach others, and the greatness that you've accomplished expands exponentially.
The most powerful, admirable, captivating quality in any human is seen when they've achieved great things, but still embrace humility and their own insignificance.
When you start your day with gratitude, you'll be open to opportunities, not obstacles. You'll be drawn to creativity, not complaint. You will find fresh ways to grow, rather than succumbing to negative thoughts that only shrink your options.
Gratitude is the mother of all qualities. As a mother gives birth, gratitude brings forth all other qualities - compassion, resilience, confidence, passion - positive traits that help us find meaning and connect with others.
Listening is one of the most thoughtful gifts we can give. There is no better way to show that we care about another person's experience.
Take some time to get to know yourself better. Build your self-esteem. Invest in your growth. If you've lost yourself in the relationship, find yourself in the heartbreak.
Selflessness is the surest route to inner peace and a meaningful life. Selflessness heals the self.
Monks live in service, and to think like a monk ultimately means to serve. [...] We seek to leave a place cleaner than we found it, people happier than we found them, the world better than we found it.
When you're living in service, you don't have time to complain and criticize. When you're living in service, your fears go away. When you're living in service, you feel grateful. Your material attachments diminish. Service is the direct path to a meaningful life.
Life is not going to go your way. You have to go your way and take life with you.
Life's too short to live without purpose, to lose our chance to serve, to let our dreams and aspirations die with us.