Jay Shetty’s goal is to make wisdom go viral. So far, the British-born author, podcast host and former monk has succeeded: He’s a best-selling author of “Think Like A Monk: Train Your Mind for Peace and Purpose Every Day”, the creator of over 400 videos with a total of over eight billion views, a life and purpose coach with over 48 million followers across social media, the host of the popular health and wellness podcast “On Purpose with Jay Shetty” on which he’s interviewed everyone from Novak Djokovic to Oprah Winfrey, and, most recently, a co-founder—along with his wife, Radhi Devlukia-Shetty—of Sama Tea, an organic tea line that launches this month.
“I grew up in a family where I felt like I had three options—I could be a doctor, lawyer or a failure,” says Shetty, 34, from his home in the Beachwood Canyon area of Los Angeles. On top of that, he was bullied for being overweight and for being one of the few Indian kids in his school. But around age 14 things began to change. He lost weight, found sports, became a bit of a class clown and began to think about what he cared about.
Here are some things Jay Shetty revealed to WSJ. Magazine…
Shetty on his parent’s approach to raising him:
“My parents started to recognize that I was treading my own path, and they started to almost back off a little bit and just say, Let him explore and let him experiment and see where he wants to go.” Jay Shetty Podcast
Shetty on his first experience listening to a monk named Gauranga Das in college:
“I genuinely had zero interest in hearing a monk speak, because I thought to myself, I’m interested in people who’ve gone from nothing to something, not nothing to nothing. And what am I going to learn from this? What is he going to teach me?” Shetty recalls. “The monk starts speaking—he’s wearing robes, he has an Indian accent, he doesn’t look cool to me…and slowly I’m listening and I’m just becoming more and more captivated because he’s talking about things that I’ve never heard before—about how to use your talents and gifts in the service of others.”
Shetty on deciding to study with the monk at his ashram in India:
Shetty, then 18, became infatuated with the monk and was invited back to the ashram in India. Not everyone in his life got it. “When I told my friends in my final year of university that I was turning down my corporate job offers to go live as a monk, they were just like, ‘What’s wrong with you? Why would you do that? Why would you give this all up?’”
Shetty on what he was told at his first day of joining the monastery:
“On the first day when we joined, we were told, ‘This is not heaven, this is not a perfect paradise; this is a hospital.’ And it means that each and every one of us has a disease, we have an impurity,” Shetty says. “We are not that disease, we are not that impurity, but you’re going to find teachers who act like patients. You’re going to find doctors who have the same challenges as you.” Jay Shetty Podcast
Shetty on being told he had to leave the ashram:
“I think it was their nice way of saying, ‘We don’t think you’re a monk,’” Shetty says. He had given up everything, from his prized soccer jerseys to his chocolate habit. He returned to his parents’ home in England not knowing who had won the last World Cup or who the prime minister was. He acted like someone who had just been dumped, eating Cadbury chocolate, listening to Drake and binge-watching How I Met Your Mother.
Arianna Huffington, the founder and CEO at Thrive Global, on Shetty:
“We didn’t exactly have a specific role open, but when I met with Jay I was so taken with him and his mission—to make wisdom go viral—that we agreed to produce three videos together, see if they got any traction and then talk about next steps,” Huffington says. “The first video got two million views, the second 10 million views. And the third got another five million. It was clear to us, to our audience, and to the world, that Jay Shetty was something special. And I knew he’d be a star.” Jay Shetty Podcast
Rapper Big Sean on Shetty:
“I’ve been into that spiritual community of people from Ram Dass to Deepak Chopra to Abraham-Hicks to Marianne Williamson—somehow Jay Shetty just came into my frequency. As soon as we met, it literally felt like my long-lost brother I haven’t seen since another lifetime,” the rapper says. “I learned a lot from him. If you just spend an hour or two around him, you’re bound to pick up on some great advice.”
Shetty on the new tea company, Sama, launching this month:
“The wellness scene?” he says. “I don’t know if I pay much attention to it.” Sama, his tea line with his wife, who is a plant-based ayurvedic cook, was inspired by a time when his immigrant mother would pick him up from day care and they’d have a cup of tea together to mark the end of the day. “I equated tea with presence,” he says, “I equated tea with my mom’s love.”
Shetty on his particular mission:
“Purpose and service,” he says. “I want people to discover their purpose. I think the greatest lack in the world is purposeless living. I believe we become better people, better partners, better professionals, better parents when we know our purpose and we live our purpose.”
Shetty on coining a term for his approach:
“I’m trying to find a conscious word for this, I’m trying to coin it. I haven’t figured it out yet. It’s almost been trying to build an empathetic empire or a conscious empire. And the word empire to me is too aggressive and too strong for who I am, but it has that element of strategy and sincerity together,” he says. “I want to be the person that unites both those worlds.” Jay Shetty Podcast
Read full interview here.
Photo: Justin Bettman | courtesy of WSJ. Magazine
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