When I was growing up I always knew I wanted to be a professional athlete. Like many people, and probably you as well, my life changed in a very unexpected way.
There is no way any of us can know where our life will go, and today’s guest took his life in a very different direction.
Jay Shetty grew up thinking he would he an art director and loved design. As a teenager he was a troublemaker. He never would have thought his life of drugs and stealing cars would turn into the life of a monk.
He made it to college and did well, but as soon as he graduated, he decided to go to India to spend three years studying how to find inner peace with monks.
After three years Jay was asked to leave the monk hood. He was told he could do more good sharing to the world than staying in the monastery.
Heartbroken, Jay left and eventually found the power of YouTube. He has gained amazing international success sharing the lessons he’s learned from his time as a monk teaching ancient wisdom on modern platforms.
You will be surprised at how much of these lessons don’t just apply to life but also to business.
He’s mastered the power of video marketing and storytelling and on this episode, he shared his insights on how to create powerful impact with media. We discussed the lessons he learned from spending time as a monk, what motivates people to take action, and how to find your purpose in the world.
Discover all of that and much more, on Episode 608.
Lewis Howes: This is episode number 608 with Jay Shetty.
Welcome to The School of Greatness. My name is Lewis Howes, former pro-athlete turned lifestyle entrepreneur and each week we bring you an inspiring person or message to help you discover how to unlock your inner greatness. Thanks for spending some time with me today. Now, let the class begin.
Joseph Wong said, “Influence is our inner ability to lift people up to our perspective.”
I am super excited about our guest today. I got to know Jay Shetty over the last year and just feel a great brotherhood with him and really appreciate the way he thinks, the way he acts and the way he delivers his message to the world. And for those that don’t know who he is, he is a former monk, who’s known for making wisdom go viral.
He’s an award winning life coach, online personality host and filmmaker. His videos go viral on facebook. Some of them get 20, 30, 50 million views. He’s named in the Forbes 30 under-30 class 2017. He’s coached millennials all over the world and changed lives on a global scale. Jay went from living as a monk, to hosting a digital morning show for the Huffington Post, and he continues to transform the world with his message.
In this interview we talk about why Jay fell in love with the monk lifestyle. The similarities between monks and athletes to achieving peak performance. Also, why most of us pretend to be someone else. How Jay grew his social media to millions in just two years. What people aren’t understanding about the power of video and so much more.
Love this interview. Again, take a screenshot of this app right now and post this on your Instagram Story, on Twitter, with the link, lewishowes.com/608 to get your friends to listen to this as well.
And before we dive in, give a shout out to the Fan of the Week. This is from Julie, who said, “Lewis, thank you so much for this podcast. I’m an audio-book producer and a writer, and I found it to be a professional and a spiritual journey. I love the variety of guests you have on the show, your insightful questions get to the core of your guests, and you get them to share surprising daubs of wisdom. I hope our audio paths cross sometime in the future.”
So, Julie, thank you so much for being a fan, and, yes, hope our paths do cross sometime in the future. And if you guys want a chance to be shouted out on the podcast, then make sure to leave us a review over on iTunes, or right on your podcast app. You can do it right there.
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Alright, guys, I’m super pumped about this episode. Again, my good friend Jay Shetty is in the house to bring you some powerful wisdom, so without further ado, let me introduce you to the one, the only, Jay Shetty!
Welcome back, everyone, to The School of Greatness Podcast. We have the living legend, Jay Shetty, in the house.
Jay Shetty: Namaste! Lewis, this is the new greeting at The School of Greatness!
Lewis Howes: Namaste! This is the new greeting! Good to have you here. Very excited! You came and spoke at my Greatness Mastermind over the weekend and people were blown away through your wisdom. We talked a lot about viral video and social media there, which maybe we’ll get into a little bit, but I want to talk more about the things you’ve learned, from pre-monkhood, to being a monk, to now not being a monk.
When I met you, I didn’t know you were a monk, I just saw you as the guy who had 50-100 million views of video on Facebook, which I think a lot of people are familiar with you from Facebook. You make wisdom go viral. You do these great parables, you do these great stories, lessons, insights, but I don’t think you started talking about being a monk until recently. So, I think people were just, like, “Who is this guy and how is he so insightful?”
But then, when I met you, I was, like, “Oh, it all makes sense now, the you have all this wisdom.” And you told me that a lot of your videos were just notes from your books that you were writing, you know, your journal when you were a monk. You would take all these notes down from the lessons you were learning, and now you’re just going back and looking at those notes and saying, let me shoot a video about this, and it’s 50 million views.
Jay Shetty: Yeah, it’s crazy.
Lewis Howes: Why did you decide that you want to be a monk in the first place? And how old were you when you did that?
Jay Shetty: Absolutely, so the story starts with something I’ve been saying a lot, called, “You can’t be what you can’t see.” So I didn’t grow up wanting to be a monk.
Lewis Howes: What did you grow up wanting to be?
Jay Shetty: Yeah, I grew up wanting to be a mix of an art director, for a big magazine or online company, because I loved design, I loved graphics, I loved video and art while I was growing up. I loved philosophy and I loved economics. Those were my three favourite subjects: art, design, philosopy and economics. And I always thought I’d be something boring like and investment banker.
Because, I often say, when you grow up in an Asian or Indian family, and if you have any Asian or Indian followers, they’ll agree. I had three options. I could either be a doctor, a lawyer or a failure. Right? Those were my three options. So that’s what I was going to be. I couldn’t be any of those, I was going to be an investment banker or a strategy consultant, because I was, like, “I’m rubbish at medicine,” you know? “I’m not very good at law.”
So I was kind of like going down that route, because you can’t be what you can’t see. And growing up as a young Asian person in London, you don’t see many people in the media, you don’t see many Asians in sport, you don’t see many Asians in anything apart from accountancy, business, medicine and law. That’s literally what you see.
And then I was eighteen, I’m at university, I’m studying my undergraduate, which is in Behavioural Science, in London. So, I’ve always be fascinated by why people do what they do, always fascinated by why we make decisions, why we lie, why people cheat, why people pretend to be someone they’re not. All those question, always fascinated me, but just from an intellectual view, rather than helping people unpackage it.
So I was studying that, and then, at my university, we’d have some of the best entrepreneurs coming to speak every week, in London, at Cass Business School. So, there’s people coming in every single week and then I found out that a week later, after watching entrepreneur after entrepreneur, loved hearing from CEOs, their success stories, I was a huge fan of rags to riches stories. And not the riches because of wealth, but just that whole thing of people going from nothing to something. That fascinated me.
So I used to read autobiographies. I thought I hated reading until I was fourteen, until someone handed me an autobiography. I think I remembered reading the Rock’s autobiography back then too, because I used to watch wrestling. But anyway, so, I’m fascinated by people who go from nothing to something. And then a monk’s invited to speak at my university, and I actually get forced along. I’m actually not that interested. I’m like, “What’s a monk going to teach me? Who cares? I’ve never seen a monk in my life. Don’t really know what they do.”
I get forced by one of my mates to come along, I basically have nothing better to do that night. I turn up. I’m hearing this monk speak and he captivated me like the most beautiful woman in the world. I was just completely enthralled and addicted to everything that he said. I was just hanging off every word and there was a voice in my head that was just, like, “Who is this guy?” And then I find out that he’d given up jobs at Google and Microsoft to become a monk.
And I’m thinking, “Wait a minute. Who does that?” Everyone that I’ve ever met, that’s all they’ve been chasing. And all the stories that I’d followed in life, were people that went from nothing to something, and here was a guy who had something, but had traded it to have nothing, but looked like the happiest person I’d ever met. So it looked like the paradoxical moment of my life, like the most ironic thing that could have happened.
So, anyway, I go and speak to him afterwards. I loved networking with speakers. I’d always approach people after their speech if I was moved. I went up to him and I just said, “You know what? Everything you said just resonated with me.” And there’s one thing that he said that stood above everything and he spoke about this principle about “Plant trees under whose shade you do not plan to sit.”
Plant trees under whose shade you do not plan to sit. What he meant was, selfless service. Giving without expecting. Using everything you have. Doing something for nothing. Just being able to give. And for some reason, that eighteen-year-old me, hearing about selflessness, that word kind of just… I don’t know what it was. It was just one of those moments that just penetrated through every desire I had, and service and selflessness became my biggest aspiration, in a moment.
And I started talking to him, and so, I started interning with him, in India as a monk, every summer holidays.
Lewis Howes: You were in your freshman year when you started.
Jay Shetty: Yeah. Eighteen, I guess so, yeah, I guess that’s what you call it, when you just started out.
Lewis Howes: Yeah, I got it. So after the first year you had a summer break, you go to India to be with him for a month, two months.
Jay Shetty: Yeah, a month or two months, I remember. So, I’d get a summer holiday, I’d spend half of it working at a big corporate firm, because I thought that’s what I was going to do. And then I’d spend the rest of it and Christmas holidays, that we get in London, I’d spend in India, just kind of shadowing him. And I described it like that. I was literally interning to be a monk, where you live like a monk, you practice monk principles, you follow what they do on a daily basis and you get to experience what it’s like.
And I’d work at some of the biggest companies in the world, and then I’d go to living as a monk, like, polar opposites. We’d be out at night, drinking, networking after this, work related, right? The stuff you do, bars, clubs, et cetera, and then for the rest of the months I’m meditating and spending time with these enlightened beings.
And I can now honestly say, having tested and experimented both, I fell in love with that lifestyle more. So, having everything on that side, versus having nothing on that side, I fell in love with having nothing. And so it was like a perfect A & B test. The perfect process.
Lewis Howes: Everything and nothing, yeah.
Jay Shetty: Yeah, so I always say you can’t be what you can’t see. I wouldn’t have become a monk if I didn’t see a monk. That’s my journey to why it started. Why did I decide to become a monk? Because I got to meet a monk which exploded the horizons and possibilities of what I could be, first of all. I became a monk because I got fascinated by giving everything you have in the service of others. At a very early age I just got fascinated by that principle, and the third thing was, I fell in love with the lifestyle of a monk, more than I did of a modern person.
Lewis Howes: Why did you fall in love with that?
Jay Shetty: I fell in love with it because I got so fixated on the fact of what if you could could spend your whole life, just helping people? Like, what if that’s all you did? What if you had to learn, grow, create, just to make a difference in people’s lives, and you didn’t need anything back, and you didn’t want anything back. And the only example I’d seen of that, at that age, was the monk. So that was the only test I had. That was the only person I’d experienced.
Lewis Howes: Right. You hadn’t met someone who started a non-profit or something like that?
Jay Shetty: I had, I had met people who had done NGOs and not-for-profits, but I always found that they were still looking for funding and I didn’t necessarily fall in love with their character. And I think that’s a big part of it. When I was with the monks, I fell completely in love with their character, the way they behaved, they way they spoke, their purity, their whole demeanour was just so attractive, and I was like, that’s what I want to be when I grow up. So, when everyone else wanted to be other stuff, when I was eighteen I wanted to be a monk.
Lewis Howes: Wow. How many summers did you spend with him before you said, “Okay.”
Jay Shetty: Three. Throughout the whole of university, I spent, three years, every break I spent with him.
Lewis Howes: And then after college?
Jay Shetty: Then after college that was it. I didn’t even go, I graduated, but I didn’t turn up to my graduation ceremony, so my mum’s still upset that she doesn’t have a picture of me holding the scroll, wearing the hat. I left for India straight away.
Lewis Howes: Why didn’t you complete it then?
Jay Shetty: I finished it, I graduated in the sense that I had my degree.
Lewis Howes: But why didn’t you see it all the way through?
Jay Shetty: Because I remember it being delayed till December and we finished in May and I was just like, “I’m going. I’m not waiting till December, and I’m not coming back for that. It’s meaningless. What does it even mean?” And I left.
Lewis Howes: “I don’t care. I want nothing of my life here.”
Jay Shetty: Yeah, yeah. And then I went, yeah. So I left, and I was twenty-two years old and I just left. I just wanted to be there and be with him and be with the other monks. And I saw them doing all this incredible work. It’s not like they were being monks in the way people think.
I always talk about how half the day was silence and half the day is service. So the service side is building sustainable villages. Building food distribution programmes, teaching, helping communities. It wasn’t just being, it was doing as well. So, I loved that aspect of half the day to grow myself and then half the day to give. And I was just, like, “When am I going to have time to do this, if I work a job?”
Lewis Howes: What’s a typical day like, then? What time did you wake up? Did you wake up on a concrete floor, on a yoga mat type of thing? Or a bamboo mat or something?
Jay Shetty: Literally, yeah, we’d sleep on the floor. The first wood, it was like this: this nice wood that you have, it was decent wood, but yeah, it was wood, and thin yoga mats, so anyone who does yoga knows those thin yoga mats, not the posh ones. And then your sleeping bag, literally.
Lewis Howes: So you had a sleeping bag?
Jay Shetty: Yeah, you got a sleeping bag.
Lewis Howes: You got a pillow or without a pillow?
Jay Shetty: Most people didn’t use their pillows, but I had a nice sleeping bag. I was still that monk from London. Everyone could tell, right? Whose sleeping bag looks a bit too premium. But I was like, “This is the least I can do.” So I still had the premium sleeping bag. We’d wake up at about 4am every day. Every single day, 4am.
Lewis Howes: So the first week must have been a little rough to get into that.
Jay Shetty: Well, you know what, the way I remember it is, I was so pumped that I talked myself into it. Plus, I’d been doing it every summer, so it wasn’t new. It wasn’t like I just threw myself in. I’d lived like that for three summers, so I was kind of aware of what it was like, but I pumped myself so much. I was going, “Yeah, I’m going to be there at 3:30! I’m going to wake up earlier than everyone!” And you know, I’ve always been like that. I’ve always been someone who wants to push.
Lewis Howes: “I’m going to do a workout before everyone’s up!”
Jay Shetty: Literally, I was like, “I’m going to meditate two hours before everyone’s awake.” And so, I’m pushing myself to limits that I didn’t know, and I wanted to test. And I was like, “I’m going to be here for the rest of my life.” So, I was like, “So I’m just going to do this properly.” So I ended up waking up at 4am, from 4:00 till 5:15 you have collective meditation, collective prayers, collective chant.
Lewis Howes: Group?
Jay Shetty: Yeah, group.
Lewis Howes: Chanting? You had group chanting?
Jay Shetty: Yeah, group chanting.
Lewis Howes: It must have been very healing almost, at the same time, chanting together, and just the symphony that you create with the melodies.
Jay Shetty: Yeah! We underestimate what it feels like to be in place where people have meditated for hundreds of thousands of years. Places take on energies. And that place was a place where people had meditated, those two monasteries, people had meditated for like, forty years in that space. For over four hours a day. So you’re walking into the most spiritual, sacred atmosphere in the world. You only tap into that more.
You know, when we go to a place, we know what it feels like when you’ve been on a stage that Michael Jackson performed at or when you’d been in an arena where your favourite artist, you know, whatever it is, the analogy that works for you. It was like walking into the arena of the monks.
Lewis Howes: The legendary monks.
Jay Shetty: Yeah, the legend of meditation. Everything you expect a spiritual atmosphere to contain, you’re getting that because it’s amazing. So, yeah, 4:00 to 5:15 is group meditation, and 5:15 to 7:00 is private meditation. So that’s your personal practice. So that’s already three hours since you’ve been awake, right? Seven o’clock till 7:30 is group chanting again, and then 7:30 to 8:30 is a wisdom class, on the Vedas. So the Vedas are five thousand years old, linguistically and philosophically the oldest books on the planet and so you’re trained in the Vedas for an hour, 7:30 to 8:30.
Lewis Howes: Five-thousand-year-old book? Wow.
Jay Shetty: Yeah, it’s the oldest book, the oldest dated book I’ve heard of. So, yeah. Over five thousand years old. It’s crazy, it’s absolutely crazy. It was funny actually, I was sharing this, and I share this all the time, but then I’m going to throw this in. When I was at Tai’s house, he said this to me, he said that, and I was telling him about the Bhagavad Gita which is 5000 years old. And he said, “Five thousand years old?” just like you did, and I was just like, “Yeah. Five thousand years.” He goes, if it lasted five thousand years, that must be a really good book.” And it’s true, if you think about it.
Lewis Howes: Yeah, if people keep using it.
Jay Shetty: Yeah, how many things still matter and change lives today, that did 5000 years ago? Will the Beatles be around in 5000 years, will Elvis, will me, will you, will any of this? But the fact that a book has withstood 5000 years. That’s pretty impressive.
Anyway, so we do that from 7:30 to 8:30. And then at 8:30 you get breakfast, right, you finally get breakfast, and from 8:30 to 9:00 or whatever, you eat breakfast and then for the rest of the day you’d spend the morning studying the books on a personal level, you do basic things like cleaning, you’d wash your clothes, you know, all the domestic stuff that you have to do, clean the space you live in.
And then, usually by lunchtime, everything changed. I’d either be out teaching local communities, or we’d be helping build these sustainable villages, food distribution programs, et cetera. So the rest of the day was not as planned as the morning. So when we now talk about morning routines, when I hear about that, I’m just like, “Yeah, that’s a monk thing!’ As a monk you’re trained to have an incredible morning routine, and then whatever you do in your day, will be incredible, because you started off correctly, so it’s interesting to see the rise of the morning routine as habits and success, because, as a monk, that’s what you’re trained in. So, that’s roughly the schedule. And then it changes after 9:30am.
Lewis Howes: Wow. Now where in India was this?
Jay Shetty: So, this is now in Mumbai and four hours south of Mumbai. But when you go outside of Mumbai, I’m looking at these beautiful plant things you have here, it’s almost like that. It’s just woodlands, it’s green. No cars, no traffic, no noise, fresh air.
Lewis Howes: How would you guys commute then, or travel to speak or teach or build homes?
Jay Shetty: So, we would have cars that we would either drive ourselves, I never drove in India. I never would drive in India. It’s the scariest experience in the world. People get scared about New York. India’s just a different level. So, I never drove, but they would have drivers who would drive us around, monks that drive.
Lewis Howes: So, what’s it called, the place you were at?
Jay Shetty: Ashram, or a monastery. So a monastery is an ashram, it’s just a Sanskrit word for a monastery.
Lewis Howes: So, it had some funding so you guys could rent cars or whatever?
Jay Shetty: Yeah. So the funding comes from donors who really believe in the work you’re doing, and then that money is used effectively. Again, people say, “Oh, how do monks drive? How do monks use money?” Well, we’d never use it for ourselves. We had two sets of clothes, we didn’t have any possessions, but we were using the cars and what we had to create these communities, to create sustainable villages, to create change in the world.
So, again, everything’s being utilised for a higher purpose, rather than the mentality of, “Oh, you can’t use that.” So, if we didn’t use that, we might be happy, but how are we going to help the rest of the world. So that was how we were trained.
Lewis Howes: Were you in contact with your family as well during this time?
Jay Shetty: Yeah. I used to connect with my family because the tradition was that balance between detachment and attachment. So, it said that detachment and attachment are two sides of the same coin. Attachment and aversion. So, some people just want to be monks or want to have isolation, because they want to get away from reality. Which is no better than being fully attached. So the Bhagavad Gita says that attachment and aversion are two sides of the same coin.
So, actually, the ideal is the central balance, where you’re able to talk to your parents, you’re able to give them love, you’re able to be grateful, but then again, you’re still realising that there’s more impact you can have in the world, than just making your parents happy. So, it’s that perfect dynamic balance between the two.
So, I’d speak to my mom and dad every month, probably, catch up with them on the phone. If I was in Europe, travelling for what we were trying to do as monks, then I’d come and see them, say hallo to them, so I wasn’t completely detached, but it was always making sure of that balance.
And we were always trained that it should never be an escape from reality. It shouldn’t be that you can’t do anything else in life, and you don’t want responsibilities, that’s why you become a monk. So, it was very much ingrained in us that you’re not here because you can’t do anything else. You’re here because you know this is higher and you can have more of an impact in your life, and the world.
Lewis Howes: So, but you’re not supposed to be in a relationship or have sex as a monk.
Jay Shetty: No. Celibate monks.
Lewis Howes: So why do you detach from that, then? Why do you escape from that?
Jay Shetty: So that’s to be able to give yourself all the time, focus and energy on personal growth and development. So, we all know this, right? Anyone, and I’ve been in multiple relationships before I became a monk. We all know this: when you’re in a relationship things slow down, because now you’re managing two minds, you having to give energy to another person, you have to give time to another person, you lose time, energy and moments to invest in your own growth.
So, monks traditionally have lived celibate lives so that they can focus on their own growth. So they’re not distracted, they’re not falling prey to any lust or engaging in any flirtatious conversations that, again, brings down the consciousness and distracts the mind. You’re learning to train your mind like an athlete.
So many athletes, maybe you had this experience too, but I remember reading David Beckham’s autobiography many years ago and he was talking about that, how they were trained not to have sex before big games. No alcohol in the weeks leading up to big games. I remember talking about how, when all his friends were out partying, he’d have to get to bed on time.
So, you see, athletes go through very similar training as monks. So, it’s not abnormal. We see it in modern life, where people who have to be peak performers, they also use the same measures. Very similar measures to monk life.
Lewis Howes: Doesn’t personal growth also come from experiencing life and not detaching from it? Not only isolating yourself, but also experiencing all of the things that could happen in life, and growing in that?
Jay Shetty: Yeah, absolutely. And I think the whole thing there is that most of us just throw ourselves into the deep end and then try swim and figure it out. Monk life actually begins at five years old. Monk life is ultimately training in self-actualisation and self-awareness. It’s meant to start when you’re five.
The problem is, we all went to normal schools that try to put stuff in us rather than take stuff out of us. You talk about this, right? You were told at school that you weren’t very good, and you weren’t good at English, and now you have a New York Times bestseller, right? But no one noticed that potential inside of you. No one noticed that, “Oh, Lewis was really creative,” and you’re not the only person. There’s so many people who feel like that.
So, the modern schooling system didn’t extrapolate your self-actualisation, your element, and just tried to put maths, English, science inside. So the point is that you’re trying to get to such a strong foundation that when you interact in the world, you’re going with a sense of strength, fuel, energy to make a difference, rather than going into the world going, “Oh, my gosh, where am I?” trying to figure it out.
And I find what happens today is that, we all know this, I mean, self-love has become such a big thing now. Yeah, it’s like a huge trend now, but my point is that if you don’t start at a place where you have self-awareness, self-actualisation, you have figured out what works for you, what your strengths are, how you want to be in an environment, when you walk out there, most of us just pretend to be someone else, most of us get lost, most of us get carried away. So, my point is, strengthen yourself, grow yourself, and then of course, interact with the world.
So, we had that. We were going out to pitch, to Forbes Rich List members to fund our philanthropy work. We’d be in these pitch meetings dressed as monks, and then be laying bricks the next moment. So, you get the perfect balance. At one point you’re in this fancy office, and the next morning you’re laying bricks, you’re digging.
So, it’s not that you’re not getting both, you are getting both. Just the relationship aspect of a female partner, or a male partner if you’re a female monk, is limited because the whole aim is to allow you to just focus on first finding yourself, before you try find the checklist you’ve been following your whole life.
Lewis Howes: Right. What did you notice about the outside world maybe a year or two years into the flow of your learning about yourself and about the wisdom and the philosophy of being a monk? What did you start to notice the most, the most common things of when you were just talking to people and just walking down the street and just being aware of what was happening?
Jay Shetty: Frankly, I’ve been in the Gita quite a lot, the Bhagavad Gita, but I’m a somewhat modern day philosopher, because this encapsulated perfectly, he said that, this is Kholi, a philosopher writer, he said, “Today I am not what I think I am, I’m not what you think I am, I am what I think you think I am,” and I always find that blows my mind every time I say it. “I’m not what I think I am, I’m not what you think I am, I am what I think you think I am.”
So we live in this perception of a perception of ourselves. So we’ve all seen the movie, Inception, imagine you get lost so far into someone’s perception and that’s your perception. So, if I think Lewis thinks Jay is good, then I feel good, but if I think Lewis thinks Jay’s not good, then I don’t feel good. And we live like that today.
If I think someone thinks I’m confident, I feel confident. But if I think someone thinks I’m not confident, then I don’t feel confident, and that’s what I noticed when I lived as a monk. That people were so far removed from their own understanding of themselves, that they were either lost, living a life they didn’t want to, lost living up to someone else’s expectations, or lost becoming someone to impress someone else. And so, people, their real identity is almost buried under six feet of multiple identities they’ve created.
And that’s what I started to notice. We have a social media identity. We have a LinkedIn identity, we have a Twitter identity, we have a Facebook identity. Then we have an identity who we are to our boss, then we have an identity who we are to our Friday night friends, then we have an identity who we are to our Sunday people, and we just created all of these identities, and if you ask, “Well, who are you?” we struggle to answer that question.
And so as a monk you’re taught to dig deeper beyond all those identities and kind of, again, bring out yourself, rather than define yourself. So, that’s what I noticed. I just started to notice that people had a big lack of self-actualisation. They were very disconnected from what they wanted, needed and understood about themselves. And most people’s identities were crafted by the reflection in this mirror of their mom, dad, friends, boss, partner, whatever.
Lewis Howes: Right. How do we start to tap into self-realisation better? How do we learn that about ourselves?
Jay Shetty: So, I think it starts even at a physical level. I’ll give a basic example at a physical level. Anyone who’s a physical fitness or health coach will know that different bodies need different food, different sleep, different fluids. We don’t all need the same thing. Me and you, with different body types, can’t do the same work out, right? We can’t. I would die if I tried to lift what you lift. It just wouldn’t work.
Lewis Howes: And I would die trying to sleep on the floor.
Jay Shetty: Right! Exactly! And that’s the point. Our bodies have different tolerances in different things. That’s self-awareness at the physical level, already. So, now, what I realised by living as a monk is, I can’t survive over four hours sleep a night. I realised that about my body.
Lewis Howes: When you were a monk?
Jay Shetty: When I was leaving and came back to my real bed, and I was just, like, “Oh, I like this! This is good!” Right? And I kind of came to that realisation that I’m not able to function as effectively as I want to. I could when I was a monk, because we meditated so much.
Lewis Howes: That just got you to a higher vibration.
Jay Shetty: Exactly. So now I meditate two hours a day, then I used to meditate four, six hours a day, plus the collective, plus the environment. All of that helps. So now that I don’t have that, I can’t, but if I have that I can.
Lewis Howes: You could’ve just slept for those four hours in the bed.
Jay Shetty: Exactly. So, the point I’m making is, that’s physical self-awareness. We know our limits. We know what we can do, we know what we can’t do. We know what our challenge is. On a mental level, what’s self awareness? Knowing what type of people I like to be with. Knowing what makes me grow and what drains me. That’s mental self-awareness. So, self-awareness at every level.
And then we go into the spiritual consciousness level. That’s disconnecting from all these identities and understanding the identity that we are wired for generosity and we’re wired to serve. And only in service can we be happy. And that’s us on a consciousness level. That’s the identity of consciousness. Like water is wet, the sun is heating and light, consciousness is service. That’s how it fits.
Lewis Howes: Why are we wired for that?
Jay Shetty: We’re wired for that because all of us, as consciousness have been designed, and we see it since even kids, like I was giving this example of this beautiful… And you may have seen it. It went viral on Instagram. It was this little girl, probably about two years old, watching a cartoon and she takes a handkerchief, and the cartoon character is crying, and she goes up to the television and she tries to wipe it up, right?
And it’s incredible, because this girl’s two years old, and she thinks this cartoon character animal is crying and she gets a real tissue and tries to wipe it on the TV. Obviously it doesn’t work. And there was another one that I saw with this statue of this rabbit and there’s four rabbits, and one rabbit’s falling off the end, and this little boy is trying to push the rabbit up. But it’s a stone rabbit, it’s just a statue, but he’s trying to help it back up.
So, we see, and that was a great article in Wired about this, about how we’re wired for generosity. Our brain is happier in service. Why are we that way? I’m not fully sure, but what I do know from my experience as a monk, or what I can verify, is that we’ve been created to connect and serve. We’ve been created to connect and serve.
Lewis Howes: But you don’t know why?
Jay Shetty: I can give you my opinion and the Vedic opinion. I can’t tell you why for everyone. The reason is, that the main deep, or the main Vedic reason is that we’ve been created that way because that’s our nature and that’s what makes us most happy. Because this whole world is almost a school, an education system to make us realise that one truth. To make us realise that one truth.
And we see that when we’re serving, when we’re doing that, we feel genuine happiness. But when we’re trying to gain and greed and power and strength, we even feel empty as it slips through our fingers. So, the why is because that allows us to connect to our deeper self, the happier self that we have. And modern studies have shown that. So, Michael Naughton at Cambridge University, he did a study where they gave people 5, 10, 20 dollars to spend on themselves. Have you seen this?
Lewis Howes: Go ahead.
Jay Shetty: Yeah, and then they spent 5, 10, 20 dollars on others. So people spent 5, 10, 20 dollars on make-up, Starbucks and the normal stuff, that was the three common things, make-up, Starbucks and then something else, I can’t remember, and then people who spent on other people, they also bought the same stuff, Starbucks was still in there, and they’re buying all this stuff.
What they found, is that when people self-assess their happiness, before and after, without knowing about this AB test, people who spent the money on themselves didn’t feel any happier, or any less happier, but the people that spent it on others, felt 10% to 20% happier. And then he went and tried this out. This was a college in the United States. They then went and did in in Africa, they did it all over the world, and the stats and the pattern showed the same.
They were wired for generosity, we’re wired to serve. To make us realise that that’s our real nature, that’s our greatest self-awareness, right? So that’s the Vedic opinion, and that’s why you had to probe me to go to why it is. I know why it is, but I want to give people an answer that I feel they can connect with.
Lewis Howes: So, what was one of the greatest lessons you learned in those three years, then?
Jay Shetty: Do you want me to share the one I shared before, or share another one?
Lewis Howes: Share another one.
Jay Shetty: Yeah, okay, I’ll share another one. This is one of my favourite things, because this is what I learned on my first day of monk school. So, if you think about what you learn on the first day of school when you are three or four, if you remember what it was.
Lewis Howes: A, B, C, D…
Jay Shetty: Yeah, exactly! Alphabet, the numbers, one to ten, A, B, C, right, the twenty-six letters of the alphabet. So I remember my first day of monk school. I’ve just shaved my head, I’m now wearing robes, I still look like I’m from London, I can’t get away with it. I’m walking around and I notice this monk who’s teaching. This monk’s ten years old, and he’s teaching a group of five-year-old monks. And I see him teaching, he looks like an adult, you know, his ability to teach these five-year-olds and conduct himself and he’s got this great aura about him and so I’m kind of eavesdropping on his class, I can’t go and sit with a bunch of five-year-olds even though I really want to and because I feel like a five-year-old next to that ten-year-old.
And I went up to him and I said, “What are you doing?” and he said, “Oh, well, we just taught their first class ever.” And I said, “Oh, cool!” and he said, “Well, what did you learn in your first class at school?” And I said, “Oh, well, I learned the alphabet and numbers.” And I said, “Well, what did they learn?” And he said, “Do you want to know what they learn on their first day of school?” I said, “Yeah, of course.”
He said, “The first thing that we teach them. The first thing you learn at monk school, is learning how to breathe.” And I said, “Why?” He said, “Because we’re taught that the only thing that stays with you from the moment you’re born, till the moment you die, is your breath. All your friends, family, the country you live in, all of that’s going to change. The only thing that doesn’t change, that stays with you from the moment you’re born till the moment you die, is your breath.”
And he said, “Notice. When you get stressed, what changes? Your breath. When you get angry, what changes? Your breath. When you’re sad, what changes? Your breath. When you’re happy, what changes? Your breath. Every emotion is experienced with a change of the breath.” So he said, “When you learn how to navigate and manage your breath, you can actually navigate any situation in life.” I was just blown away. I was just like, “Wow!”
And then I remember researching it and noticing how athletes were taught how to breathe, musicians, singers, especially those who play wind instruments, who have to reach really high notes. They’re all trained how to breathe, because they have to use their breath in challenging, stressful, pressureful situations. But I was like, “So are all of us.” You’ve got to go on stage in front of 10,000 people. You’ve got to go do a concert. You just lost a deal or a contract. Our breath changes in all those scenarios, yet we don’t know how to use our breath to change our life.
And so, for me, that was just a huge learning point, where I just thought, “Wow, that’s what you’re taught. The priority is on the root of things not the leaf or the symptoms. And that’s the biggest thing about living as a monk. You’re not dealing with your challenges at symptomatic level. You’re dealing with it at root level, right?
And people say if you’re stressed out, just take a stress pill, if you’re stressed out, just go to get a massage. If you’re stressed out just relax, watch Netflix and chill. But all that’s doing is pacifying, you escape for that hour, two hours, maybe a week. But going to the root of it and learning how to change you breath, means you can manage any situation in life.
And that principle, that’s an example of the principle that’s just so much deeper, that always go to the root. It will take longer, but it will last longer. If you go to the root, it takes longer, but it lasts longer. But if you go for the symptom, you get it quick, and it never lasts, and we don’t know that! And so, that was the deepest principle I learned as a monk.
You always go to the root. Cut down the root of that weed in your heart. Cut down the root of that weed in your mind. Don’t just let it grow and kind of water a little bit and snip, snip, cut it a little bit, just really go to the root and just knock it out there, you know? Just get rid of it. Get a big axe and cut it down.
Lewis Howes: Wow. Are there any weeds in your life right now?
Jay Shetty: Loads.
Lewis Howes: In your heart or in your mind?
Jay Shetty: Always. My daily practice is to refine my intention. The biggest weeds that we all get, is in our intention. So, when I say intention, I mean, my current intention is to use everything I’ve been given, everything that I have, in the service of others. So, I want to use the following that I have to help people. I want to use the money that I have to help people. I want to use the network that I have to help people. But every day that intention, which is a beautiful little plant that’s growing, gets weeds around it. “No, do it for the money!”
Lewis Howes: “Do it for the fame!”
Jay Shetty: “Just do it for the fame! Do it for the followers! Do it for this…” all these weeds are going around my real intention every day. Every day. That’s a weed. A weed is the intention that you don’t want, and the problem is, sometimes you’ve let it grow so much, the weed looks like the plant. The weed looks like your intention. And you start believing it’s the same thing.
So, for me, my daily practice is going back in, reflecting on what is my voice right now in my head? What am I saying to myself? And I’m hearing, “Make that deal, it makes a lot of money. Do this, do that, do this, more followers, fame,” all that stuff, and I’m cutting it down. I’m cutting that weed every day. And you’ve got to do it every day, because the more you’re surrounded by that energy, the more it’s going to keep creeping in like a creeper weed. I’m just using the plant analogy because it… I don’t garden at all, by the way. I have no idea about it.
Lewis Howes: What’s the intention you set every morning for yourself then? If it’s going back to the core of what you really want to create, what is the core of what you really want to create? Service?
Jay Shetty: Yeah, service. To help people find their purpose, whatever that may be, and help them help other people find their purpose. I think Mark Zuckerburg said it brilliantly at Harvard. He was saying that finding your purpose isn’t enough. You have to help other people find theirs. And I know you’re passionate about this. Whatever that definition is, but it has to lead everyone.
So, whether I meet a celebrity, an entrepreneur, or whether I meet somebody who’s just starting out, I always ask this question, “How can you use what you have to make a difference in the life of other people?” Because if you start there, everything else will work out. But if you’re starting from the point of, “What am I going to get?” then you’re always going to feel disconnected.
And I see that, I see people who live like that and feel pain in their lives, every day I see that. It’s not like some conceptual philosophy. We see it. I see people who are only in it for themselves, and they feel disconnected, dissatisfied, every single day. And then you see the other extreme where people are just trying to give too much. More than they even have themselves. And they also feel disconnected.
Lewis Howes: And they have nothing at all.
Jay Shetty: And they have nothing at all, right? So, we know, again, attachment and aversion, two sides of the same coin. So, we want to be in that dynamic balance of growth, but always to give.
So, I always think, “How can I go three steps deeper, so that I can move three steps forward, so I can give three times as much?” That’s always my mentality. How do I go deeper, to go more forward, to give more? And if I can get those three in action, for that reason, see, it’s all about the reasoning. You can do anything you like, but it’s, why are you doing it? We know this.
Lewis Howes: Yeah, of course. So you were in there for a few years and you told yourself you were going to do this for the rest of your life.
Jay Shetty: I was, I really wanted to, genuinely. From the bottom of my heart I wanted to.
Lewis Howes: And all of a sudden, one of your mentors, or a teacher there, at this Ashram, right? Just said, “Time for you to go.” So what was that conversation like when they said you’re no longer welcome, and how did you start to plan for your exit?
Jay Shetty: Yeah, exactly. So, I’ve been there for three years, I’ve literally traded everything, been celibate for the first time in my life for that long, it’s huge. And then he sits down with me and he says, “I think you’ll be able to share what you’ve learned if you leave. You’ll be able to share this with everyone if you leave.” And I felt like it was his nice way of saying, “You’re not ready to be a monk. Get out of here.” That’s how it felt. It felt like I’d failed, and it felt like he was breaking up with me. I equate it to a divorce. It was almost like him saying to me, “It’s not you, it’s me. It’s not working out,” it kind of felt like that.
Lewis Howes: Is this the same monk that came to speak at your college?
Jay Shetty: No, it was his teacher. His teacher.
Lewis Howes: Even more so.
Jay Shetty: Yeah, even more so, right? It wasn’t disingenuous on his part, it was just a reality check that this wasn’t going to last forever. And it was one of the most toughest, humiliating, ego bashing, crushing things that happened. Because here I was thinking that I was going to be a monk and I’m going to do this and I’ve got all these plans.
And then all of a sudden, three years gone, all your plans have failed. I’ve got no money, I’ve rejected all my corporate job offers, and I moved back to my parents, five years ago with $25,000 worth of debt, from studying, which is a lot less than what you have in the US, because you get educations cheaper, but still, 25K debt, no work experience for three years.
And not only that, it’s not only no work experience, you’ve literally been in another world, right? You’ve been in another world. It’s not just like, “I’ve been on the same planet,” you’ve been disconnected. I forgot who won the World Cup, I have not read a newspaper, I’ve kind of kept up to date, but not much.
So I moved back to my parents, and I’m thinking to myself, “What am I going to to? Now I have to start thinking about paying bills and I’m going to have to think about…” My parents aren’t well off, so I didn’t have anywhere to just, I had their home to hang out in, but it wasn’t like, “Oh, yeah, I’ll just live off my parents for a bit and I’ll just figure it out.” It was just, like, “I literally have nothing. If I don’t figure this out, I’ll be sleeping in my bedroom that I grew up in for the rest of my life, and that’s it. Like, that’s life.
So, it was tough. It was the closest I’ve ever been to a very low point, because your biggest dreams have just crushed, and I know no one can really understand my dream of becoming a monk, but you can equate it to playing in sports. I know for you it was like that, but whatever it is, music, it was like your biggest dream on the planet just comes crumbling down.
And I felt it. It hurt. It really hurt. And it hurt the ego, because all my friends or family, who I just about convinced I was becoming a monk, when I was coming back, they were all like, “What? I thought you were going to be a monk. What are you doing? Did you fail at that?” You know, it was kind of like, “You failed at being a monk?” kind of thing. “You can’t even think about nothing? You can’t even focus on nothing?”
So I was getting a lot of backlash, and I was feeling like the monks, you know, you start judging yourself, and you put that mirror onto others and you feel like, “Oh, the monks are going to judge me, my friends are going to judge me,” and I felt alone. I really felt alone, because I’d let go of a lot to go there. I hadn’t talked to my friends for ages.
And so, anyway, I moved back and I literally, from the day after I left, I just started reading and learning more about what was happening in the world, started reading about personal development, and started reading about the Vedas again, my practice. So I never left my practice. I brought it with me.
And I had that moment where I had to decide. I was like, “Wait a minute. I’ve been taught how to deal with anxiety, pain, pressure, and everything, as a monk.” And for the first time in my life, I had to put it into practice, but in acceleration mode. I had to put everything I’d learned into practice, and everything I’d learned was tested in that moment. And that was hard, because it was just like, “Wow, now I really need to, now, apply everything I’ve been talking about, teaching, all this kind of stuff. And I have been tested, but now this is a real test.
Lewis Howes: Real world.
Jay Shetty: Yeah, real world. I took me, like, nine months to twelve months to feel like I could go into a normal space again, maintain my energy, and still be able to interact without feeling drained or without feeling like I’m in a lower space, or without feeling like, “What’s the point of this?” You know, all that kind of stuff. Because that’s human. What’s the point of this all? It’s so meaningless.
But then, having to realise, actually it’s not meaningless, because I was trained to realise that everything gets meaning because I give it meaning. So if I see it as meaningless, it is, but if I use it as a service, it can be the most powerful thing in the world. I took me nine to twelve months to be able to adapt that mindset so that I could live with normality again to some degree.
Lewis Howes: Yeah. So when did you realise you wanted to start creating videos?
Jay Shetty: That was much later. So, I ended up doing two things when I left. One thing was, all my friends who worked, now, at big companies, they were stressed out and hating their lives. And so they started to invite me to speak at their companies, like Google and Starbucks.
Lewis Howes: To share what you learned from being a monk.
Jay Shetty: Yeah, that’s it! They were all working at these big brands, and they were like, “Jay, come teach us what you’ve learned. Like, we’re stressed out, maybe you learned how to meditate.” And I was like, “Oh, yeah!” This is five years ago, when mindfulness and all this stuff was just on the rise. It wasn’t huge yet, like now, everyone talks about it. So, I kind of had come back just at that moment.
Lewis Howes: Good timing.
Jay Shetty: Yeah! Good timing, but without any strategy whatsoever. And I actually remember, this is, I know you’ve got Andy Puddicombe on your wall, I remember finding out about Andy Puddicombe when I was still a monk, and I always talk about this.
Lewis Howes: He was there for ten years or something, twelve years.
Jay Shetty: Yeah, he was a monk for ten years, and I think, when he left and started up Headspace, I remember learning about Headspace when I was a monk. I remember hearing about it. And it was very early days, then.
Lewis Howes: A monk made it! It’s possible!
Jay Shetty: Yeah! And now I always look back and go, “That was my big, I wish I could have invested then.” That’s like my thing, I had no money to invest, but anyway, it’s a brilliant app. But the point being that I kind of came back at that moment in a world where mindfulness, well being, all these things were coming into the corporate workplace, and so all my friends were inviting me. So, I started speaking at all these venues. And I had been speaking while I was a monk, I had been speaking since I was sixteen, so that was a very natural part, teaching was very natural. And I loved it!
And people were getting so much out of it. And I was like, “Wow! My monk experience is really there to help so many people, and because I’m still living it I can give it.” And all of a sudden all of this environment had a meaning and purpose again, and I started to see what my teacher had said, that, “You’re there to share this with people.”
But then I saw this barrier that I was hitting that most of the companies that wanted it were corporates. And I saw this rise in technology, and I hadn’t even joined social media yet. So, I avoided Facebook when I was in university, because I thought I was going to be a monk, so I tried to avoid it. And I never used it when I was a monk. So, I never used Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, anything, until 2014, when I just had a normal friend page, but I didn’t do anything on it.
So, I joined social media in 2014, ten years after Facebook’s launched. So, I noticed this rise in technology and I’m also thinking, “I need to understand companies better.” So I start reapplying to loads of companies to get my job back, to see if I can learn about technology, because I can see I need to get technology, I don’t get it enough.
So, I’m applying to all these companies, I get rejected by the same thirty, forty companies that would have let me walk in three years ago, and finally one company gives me a job. It’s called Accenture. And so, I get this break at Accenture, and I join it when I’m like, twenty-six, twenty-seven. And I’m joining with a bunch of new grads who are twenty-one, so I’m the oldest guy there, and I’m joining, and I’m like, “I’m just here to learn,” I keep reminding myself, “The intention here is just learn, consume, and you’re not going to be here a long time.”
So, I start learning about social media technology. It so happens, they have a growing digital and social media at the same time. And I just got stuck in self-learning, spent every hour trying to figure it out, had training from their experts, and I ended up becoming the top social media influencer in Accenture, inside 400,00 people, just through experimenting, learning and figuring it out. Because I had a feeling, and it wasn’t because I was preparing, I just had a feeling that social media would be useful. That was it. So, anyway, then I’ve been at Accenture for 2013 October to 2015 October, and I recognise that now I’m not playing to my own passion. Everything that I’m teaching about living your passion, your purpose, your living what really matters to you, I’m not doing that myself, because I’m still talking about digital and technology, when what I actually want to talk about is life, and the mind, and wisdom.
So I quite my job, comfy, corporate job, doing really well for myself, and I’m trying to get into media, and so I’m writing to every big media company, before my videos, and saying, “Please give me a job. I’ll come in at a video journalist salary.” I was looking at salaries that are a quarter of what I made.
I was like, “I don’t care about the money, I want to make videos and I want to spread a message,” and getting rejection e-mail after rejection-email saying, “Jay, you never studied media. Jay, you have no background,” so I’m getting rejected by all the biggest companies: Business Insider, the Huff Post, Business Wired, you name it, I’ve got all the e-mails.
And then I try and network with the editors of these magazines. So, I find out where they are, I go to the events, I try and talk to them, and they’re like, “Hey man, you’re, like, twenty-eight years old, why do you want to do this? You make more money right now, hang in the corporate world, do it as a hobby.”
I remember running after one of our biggest news anchors in England, called John Snow, and he rides a bike around London, but he’s huge. He’s on Channel 4, one of the biggest broadcasters for us. And so, I’d run after him when he’s on his bike, and I’m like, “John, please, please stop!” and he stops. He’s really kind. And I say, “John, can you please give me a job? I don’t want to get paid, I’ll just watch you,” because he creates these powerful documentaries, he’s interviewed the best of the best, like Mandela and all this stuff, like, life changing conversations. And he gave me his card, and he goes, “Jay, go get a masters in media and then come back.” And I’m thinking, “Ah!”
Lewis Howes: That’s two, three more years.
Jay Shetty: Yeah, exactly! I’ve got to go back? Anyway, so I came to a point where I literally had no other option than to start a YouTube channel. And my honest limiting belief at the time was, that doesn’t work for anyone. And that’s what I said to myself. I was like, “It’s not going to work for anyone.”
But I literally had exhausted, I think it was Thomas Edison who says, “When you feel you’ve exhausted every option, remember, you haven’t.” And I had come to that point where I felt I had exhausted every option apart from starting a YouTube channel. So I launched the channel, Jan 03rd 2016, two years ago, and it’s doing pretty well.
And so I started to make videos, because I felt that was the only way we could scale this message beyond corporates, beyond companies, to people in the world who can’t pay for that coaching, who aren’t part of this industry. When you grow up in this circumstance, you think everyone has that. But when you look around the world, most people do not work at a huge Fortune 500 company. And I wanted to go to them and beyond.
And I always had this scale in mind in my head, and I’ve always been a big thinker and wanted scale. And when it comes to helping people, there’s nothing more important than scale, to me. Being able to impact everyone in the world. You can’t, if you really want to help, you can’t say I’m happy helping ten people. You know? You want to help more people.
Lewis Howes: That’s why video’s the most powerful platform to spread a message. Speaking in front of 100,000 people at an event isn’t as powerful. It’s big, but it’s limited, still.
Jay Shetty: Exactly!
Lewis Howes: It’s a lot of people, but if you want to take it to as many as you can, I think video is the best option.
Jay Shetty: At low cost. To them and to yourself. Like, completely, at no expense to anyone, you can have an impact on someone’s life, and I didn’t know that then, but I knew that video was the form, so I just tried, and that’s when I started making videos, because I felt, anyone in the world with a phone, like, more people have a phone than a toothbrush, right? So I was like, “Anyone with a phone can watch this and it can impact them and get their journey going, whatever that is. And so, that’s why I started making videos.
Lewis Howes: When did you realise it started to take off?
Jay Shetty: So, it was after a month I was doing okay, I was getting like, 10, 20, 30, 50K views on YouTube, which was pretty decent, and it was just all organic, me pushing it out, sharing my videos, again, tweeting it out to lots of editors and publishers saying, “Please feature my video,” and them coming back even on Twitter and saying, “[We’re] not sure about this message. We don’t think it quite works.”
I got a lot of negative feedback as well. But the audience liked it. I was getting good feedback on YouTube, but from official people I was getting quite, not negative, but not great feedback. But I kept going, I’ve always had this mantra that I’ve always believed: All you need is one person to say yes. And I still live like that. When I have an idea, I’m just, like, “I’m going to knock on every door and all I need is for one door to stay open. It doesn’t matter how many that is.
And so I started doing that, and somehow, someone showed it to Arianna Huffington. She was at the World Economic Forum and someone showed it to her there. And then I met with one of her team members, who is now a really good friend of mine. He was the editor in chief of the Huff Post at that time, and he loved my videos, he liked me, and then I pestered him for a month after I’d met him, to actually get my videos on Huff Post. And Arianna called me and she said, “I love your videos, we want to feature them. Just make a series for us and we’ll post them up.”
So I made a series of four videos. So this was about three months after I started on YouTube. So it’s March/April 2016. They launch my first video, it gets a million in a week, views, on Facebook, on the Huff Post. Which is great for them. They’re like, “Let’s try the second one.” They load the second one a week after, and that video is now on 40 million views and has another 120 million across Facebook on other channels.
But that video did 40 million. It did one million in 24 hours and then 12 million by the end of the week, and then 24 million in two weeks, and then 40 million overall. And the third video did another 15 million and the fourth one did another 20 million. And so that was the most views Huff Post has ever had on any of their series in their history. And then Arianna was just, like, “Hey, do you want to come over and be a part of us?”
So that’s when it really took off, when Arianna spotted it and her team spotted it, Danny Shea, one of my favourite people in the world who really had faith in me and fought my battle when I was just this guy making videos on YouTube, which I still am, but he really saw that they had potential and Arianna.
So them two were the best, and Danny’s, Arianna’s, one of her favourite people. He made it happen. He invited me to New York to host a show on Huff Post Live, which was their partnership with Facebook Live, and I had a show called, Follow the Reader, that I created and produced, where I interviewed self development experts. I would have loved to have you on that show, had I still been there. But we interviewed Deepak Chopra, Tim Ferris, Gabby, Dr Shefali, Russell Simmons, et cetera.
Lewis Howes: Shefali’s great.
Jay Shetty: Yeah, Shefali’s awesome, yeah.
Lewis Howes: She’s really cool.
Jay Shetty: So, I got to meet all these incredible people and more, on that show. So that was September 2016. That’s when I came to New York.
Lewis Howes: What are people not understanding about video? What are they not understanding about how powerful it is for their business, their brand, and ultimately their message to impact people?
Jay Shetty: You mean people who are already doing it, or people who don’t get why video is important? Which side?
Lewis Howes: Both. What are they not getting? People that are doing it and maybe it’s not working well for them, and people who aren’t doing it.
Jay Shetty: Yeah. Let’s start with the people that aren’t doing it, and then move to [the others]. So the people that aren’t doing it, it’s always that same question: What’s the ROI on social media? What’s the ROI? Now the funny thing is, your business, work and service, my business work and service, literally lives off of social media. So, there’s obviously an ROI.
But the problem is, we live in a world where we want everything to be measurable. And there’s this beautiful Einstein quote that says, “Not everything that counts can be counted, and not everything that you can count, counts.” And we live in this world where everything needs to be measured. But life doesn’t work like that.
There’s a load of adverts and billboards on the street, that the biggest brands pay for that don’t convert into direct sales. Do you think that Coca-Cola looks at the billboard out there and goes, “How many people saw that advert today and how many people bought a Coca-Cola because of that advert?” They don’t have that number. It doesn’t exist. And they’re one of the biggest brands in the world, but they still do it.
So, social media and videos are just a new billboard, and the biggest brands know that the more you see it… This is funny, I saw, yesterday I saw this big billboard outside of my hotel that has all the Jenners and the Kardashians wearing their Calvins. I saw it straight away this morning. Then I saw it on Instagram, and then, I saw it everywhere. So, already I’ve seen it in three places. Now, I don’t need women’s Calvin underwear, but the point is that I’ve seen it in a million places.
So anyone who’s not using video hasn’t understood that more people are going to see video than anything else, and not just that, video is so much better than a billboard. You can say so much more. So, for me it’s just a lack of seeing opportunity. There’s a great, I think this is an old tale, it’s not true, but it’s told that when Nike first went to India, they went there and it’s not Nike, it’s any sneaker brand, it’s a nice story, and when they first went to India, they saw everyone was barefoot. So the first reporter came back and said, “Ah, there’s no market there, because no one wears trainers.” And then the second reporter went and he said, “Oh, no one wears shoes,” and then he came back and said, “We’ve got a huge market out there.” Right?
And it’s the way you see it. That someone saw no one wearing shoes as no market, but another person saw everyone not wearing shoes as a market. And that’s what video is. That you can sit here and debate the ROI for as long as you want, but the truth is, every major brand has invested in a front window that may not translate to direct funds or work, or whatever it is, but it does.
Lewis Howes: Do you think every brand should be using video?
Jay Shetty: Every brand should be using video, I think.
Lewis Howes: And what’s the best way they should be using video? Should it be just, “Buy my product,” or should it be more telling a story and inspiring people.
Jay Shetty: Yeah, so I don’t like to advise and work with brands I believe are selling things that I don’t believe are legitimate. So, this advice that I’m giving, is me saying the brands that I think are having a positive difference in the world.
Lewis Howes: Or have a product that’s good, or something that helps people.
Jay Shetty: Or a product that’s good, that helps people, yeah. My advice is that the story is one thing, but you really have to go into the heart of the emotion. What are people experiencing when they use your product What experience are they having? How is it transforming their life? How is it making a difference? And building an experience and a story around that emotion, rather than, “Hey! If you drink this, you’re going to be really happy!”
And you know, it’s like, “Well, where’s your proof?” Right? How is this changing lives? I think people look at it, how is it changing your current day to day life. But they’re not looking at how it changes lives, in general. How can a very simple product actually make a huge difference in people’s daily lives.
So, every company’s trying to sell VR, so I recently made a video, for a brand about VR, but I took a completely different spin on it, and they’d asked me to make a video about VR, and I said, “Well, I like VR, but that’s boring. I don’t want to make a video about VR.” So, my spin on it is, what if VR was used to increase empathy in humanity? So, what if a young child could put on VR goggles and live through the eyes of another young child who doesn’t have what they have? Could that increase gratitude? Could that increase empathy? That’s looking at how VR can change lives.
That’s not looking at, “Oh, VR can help us play more games, and be in 3D environments,” like, who cares? And that’s what really touches our hearts, right? How can this product, service or tool change lives. So brands are not focussed on that. Brands are focussed too much on the transactional purpose, as opposed to the transformational purpose, of a product, service or tool.
So I’m requesting brands switch away from transactional thinking to transformational thinking. How can that technology, service or tool transform people’s lives. Not just get you another transaction. And people need to move away from that direct selling, that direct kind of cheesy, salesy stuff that doesn’t work on any of us, and neither does it change lives. Does that answer your question?
Lewis Howes: Of course. Yeah. So it’s really learning how to master telling a better story. Yeah.
Jay Shetty: It’s all storytelling and creating experiences. How can you create an experience that really touches on human emotions. So I was just talking to you the other day that the main emotions are adventure, emotion – positive or negative, like controversy, debate. You’ve got comedy, you’ve got inspire or motivate, and you’ve got surprise. Those are the five key emotions that all of us are triggered by. So brands need to figure out which of those fit their brand and are aligned with their ethos.
And it has to be content led. Too many people are making bad content and expecting good marketing to sell it. And that’s what I see everyone interested in. Every brand influencer, expert or author comes to me and says, “Jay, I want to sell this. What tools do I need, what techniques do I need, what marketing do I need?” And I’m like, “No, but the content doesn’t work.”
So you can put a thousand, hundred thousand, a million dollars behind a bad advert, or a bad piece of content, and it won’t get anywhere. Or you can have an amazing piece of content, and you can just touch a few distribution channels, and it’ll have millions of views. And so, too many people are not content focussed, they’re marketing focussed. And that gap is ruining brands.
Lewis Howes: Tell better stories, give more value, yeah.
Jay Shetty: Yeah. Tell better stories, give more value, craft content that makes people understand what you’re creating, how you’re making a difference in someone’s life and why you’re doing it.
Lewis Howes: What’s something that’s going to make someone want to share and leave a comment? What is that main theme that someone watches, keeps them watching the whole time and than says, “I have to share this.”?
Jay Shetty: So, the first thing is, people need to see themselves in the story you’re creating. If they can’t identify with the character, they’ll switch off. Why is it that Marvel and DC have so many different characters? Because we can all connect with one of their origin stories, whichever one it is. Now, I know a lot of people want to be Wolverine, but the point is, there’s multiple, I mean, everyone has a favourite, X-men. Everyone has a favourite Justice League character, because we all identify with a different origin story.
So the more deeply you understand your origin story of your customer or client or audience, the more deeply you can create a story around it. So, people have to be able to see themselves in it, that’s the first thing to keep them watching. To even get them to watch in the first place. The way you keep them watching is to create a scenario where there will be a surprise or a reveal at the end. Who doesn’t want to know how a magic trick is done? Who doesn’t want to know how something finishes.
There’s a beautiful movie called, The Prestige, by Christopher Nolan, I don’t know if you’ve seen it. It’s my favourite movie of all time. Huge actor named Christian Bale, directed and produced by Christopher Nolan, and he talks about every magic trick has three elements, and the third element is called the prestige, which is the reveal, where you’re surprised. Where you see what you didn’t think was going to happen.
Video has to have that. Video has to have that message, a link, a surprise at the end, that delights people. That has taken them on a surprising journey or a different turn. And then, finally, what a video needs, for someone to share it after that, is you need to help them experience that emotion at the deepest level. Where they feel compelled to want to tag their friend. Now, you can do this through language, you can do it through crafting.
So, title of a video, these are the more logistical aspects. But you, again, you can have rubbish content and put a good title, it won’t work. But the titling, the caption, all of this stuff is going to impact the audience. So, things that help people watch and share immediately. So I have a video called, Before You Break Up Watch This. Alright, we released it just before summer, because a lot of people break up just before summer. I wanted to try and see if people didn’t have to break up before summer because it hurts a lot of people.
So, I made a video called, Before You Break Up Watch This, but the “watch this” makes you want to watch it now. It makes it instant, it makes it current, it makes it relevant. And the “before you break up” is pulling at an emotion that most people don’t want to go through. How many people want to break up? Most people don’t want to break up.
So, we’re tapping into an emotion, and then I’m presenting a video that isn’t lying, isn’t manipulating, I’m sharing how so many of us are in love, but not together, and so many of us are together, but not in love, and helping people reflect and realise where are they at on that scale. So I’m also offering a solution through the video.
And that video, of course, is completely free. It’s completely there, but people are sharing it because they realise the value in the message. I think too many people are not message led, they’re cool effects led, or cool text led, but it has to be message led. What are you really sharing, and how are you taxing your brain to craft a message without just saying it.
I could just say to you, “Lewis, I think you need to use more video. Or I could do what we’ve just talked about and share with you why you should use more video. And we all know that we’re more compelled when someone talks about they “why”, as Simon Sinek says. The why do you use a video? What’s the message that you’re crafting?
Lewis Howes: Right. Wow. If you were starting over again, you just came out of the monk world, would you go right to video again?
Jay Shetty: No, you know what, my experience at Accenture was hugely helpful. It also gave me time to sort of observe and transition. I think if I went straight to video, I’m not sure, because, first of all, at Accenture, I learned social media. Second of all, at Accenture I understood corporate culture properly again, which is very useful. Thirdly, I made a bunch of great friends that I’m in contact with now that I love, and I have a great relationship with the company and they’re one of my biggest clients.
So, it’s like, there’s nothing that could have been done differently. But did I know that then? No. So, “you can’t connect the dots moving forwards, you ony can when you look backwards,” Steve Jobs. And I feel like that with Accenture, that I wouldn’t change it, because the amount I gained there, in the two to three years that I was there, two years that I was there, is priceless, on so many levels.
Lewis Howes: Wow, that’s cool man. What’s something that most people don’t know about you that you’re really proud of?
Jay Shetty: Whoa, what people don’t know about me that I’m really proud of? Wow. I don’t think a lot of people know that I meditate two hours a day. Which I’m not proud of in the “ooh, look how good I am” sense, but I’m proud that I’ve been able to maintain that since leaving the…
Lewis Howes: It’s tough! It’s really tough! I went to India a little over a year ago for two weeks and practiced all day for two weeks essentially, until we’d stop at, I don’t know, 9 o’clock at night, or whatever, but and then sometimes we’d do 2am meditations to kind of be in this space of, “Am I asleep? Am I awake?” to see what was possible for the mind then. So it was two weeks, and for about six to eight months, I was very consistent afterwards. And since then, I sometimes am and sometimes not.
Jay Shetty: But you felt compelled to carry it on.
Lewis Howes: Unbelievable. I wanted it and when I was doing it consistently, it was profound, right? Now, I was still not perfect and had a lot of flaws, but it was so much more powerful, for me. And I haven’t been as consistent, so it’s amazing that you have been, I mean, if you do it for three years, every single day…
Jay Shetty: Yeah, for four to eight hours a day.
Lewis Howes: You should be able to keep it for hopefully like, ten years. I did it for two weeks and kept it for, like, seven months or something.
Jay Shetty: That’s great!
Lewis Howes: But it’s definitely, I feel much clearer when I’m meditating. Even for fifteen minutes. I don’t know if I could do two hours every day like you, but fifteen minutes a day is powerful. Just to reconnect to the intention, right, and to get rid of the weeds.
Jay Shetty: Exactly. Most people don’t know that. I think people would think that I, like you did as well, when we met, people think I make videos and I teach, but for me, my personal practice is such a big part in grounding of who I am, that I don’t feel proud like, “Oh, look, I can do two hours,” that’s… but when I go live with the monks again I’m only at two hours, you know? It’s not a big achievement.
And it’s also about the depth of the two hours. Anyone can meditate for two hours, but it’s like, what’s the depth? I can go to the gym for two hours and do nothing, or listen to music all day, but those people that are going to the gym and really going deep. So, meditation is just a gym for the mind. That’s all it is, it’s a gym for the mind.
Lewis Howes: And your wife supports the two hours in the morning and the lifestyle?
Jay Shetty: So, my wife, I actually met her while teaching her meditation and philosophy. When I left being a monk, she used to come to my classes. I’d actually met her before I became a monk, but we weren’t friends, we didn’t really know each other. I knew of her and I had seen her around. But then, after I left, she used to come to my classes, and I used to teach meditation and philosophy. And I have to be honest and say that she’s a better meditator that me now. Yeah, she’s way better than me.
Lewis Howes: How’s that possible?
Jay Shetty: Because she’s so genuinely pure. She’s a sincere soul who’s more monk than I’ll ever be. She just has it naturally inherently within her. So, she now wakes up earlier than I do, yeah, she wakes up earlier than I do, she meditates better than I do, she reminds me to meditate, she’s the one who’s always questioning my intention and purity level. Not in a negative way, in a good way, where I feel accountable to someone who’s really grounding me and making me value what I have, and what I’ve learned.
And it’s not just because she newer to it, because now she’s been meditating for around four, five years. So she’s been doing it for a long amount of time, for two hours a day as well. So the great thing is, I wake up, and I don’t feel good at all, because she’s just finished two hours and I’m like, “Oh, yeah, I got to start.” She supports it because she’s better than me at it.
This is going to be my ego moment, I’m going to have it, where you feel like, “I’m a good teacher,” right? If the student’s better than the teacher, then I must be pretty good. But no, she’s a better meditator than me.
Lewis Howes: Is there anything you do during your day that you’re not proud of.
Jay Shetty: Yeah, loads.
Lewis Howes: Besides a couple of moments of, “Oh, am I chasing this for the money?” for a moment or something?
Jay Shetty: No, you know, I have my moments where I’ll snap at my wife, or I’ll be, you know, I won’t communicate with her in the most compassionate and beautiful way that I want to, and I’m busy and I’m carrying all this stuff. And that release happens. And I never feel proud of that. I always end up feeling bad about it.
Because I’m like, “Here’s this beautiful, amazing person, who is supporting me in every way possible, and here I am being ungrateful, not following my own advice, not communicating with empathy and love, and falling prey to the stress that doesn’t even matter that much any more. So, yeah, that’s something that I really, really am not happy about when I do that. When I snap at her, or I don’t give her the right energy, or I’m not connecting with her, with the right language and the right tone and the right mood, because I’m trying to focus.
And I’m quite an extremist. I like to get lost in creative worlds, so I need complete silence. I’m like, “I’m trying to write a script for another video!” and she’s asking me what I want for dinner or something, which is her trying to serve me, and I’m just like, “No, I need…” you know, and I hate that about myself, I don’t like it when I’m like that way, because it’s ungrateful. So, that definitely is something I need to change, and I’m working on it.
Lewis Howes: Is there anything that you’re ashamed of that you’ve done in your life?
Jay Shetty: Oh, loads of stuff. And I feel it back, like, karma’s real, right? I used to be a really stupid kid, so between fourteen and eighteen, I experimented with all the worst stuff. I was never a saint, I was never meant to be a monk. I just got lucky I met the right people. I used to do stupid stuff, we used to mess around with drugs. We used to steal. We used to hotwire cars. We used to, all the stuff that you would never be proud of, and we did it from fourteen to eighteen.
And now I have the worst car karma in the world. And that’s not just for the play on words. I literally have the worst car karma. I always get parking tickets, always something goes wrong with the… I don’t have a care in New York now, but every time I’m in London, I rent a car, something will go wrong with it. And I’ve realised, I’m just getting back all the pain I caused to people from whatever I did to their car when I was fourteen to eighteen. Whether we stole it, whether we hotwired it, whether we scratched a car, whatever it was. All the stupid stuff that I did, I’m just so ashamed of, but I was just that kid who was looking, I was looking for a thrill in life.
And I was looking for something in life that had more meaning than just being someone who did well at school. That just wasn’t enough. Like, that can’t be life. But unfortunately I went down the wrong… you know, I was suspended from school three times. For everything from violence, to stealing, you know, all this kind of stuff.
So I’m super ashamed of that. It’s the best grounding thing, because I look back and I go, “No matter what anyone says about me today, or how I think I’ve grown today, I’ve got all these anchors that humble me and remind me of who I was and could have ended up as, if I didn’t meet these great people.
I’m hugely ashamed of how many bad relationships I had. How many girls’ hearts I broke. How many people, I wouldn’t say… I never cheated on anyone, so that was, that’s kind of like holding up my card and going, “I never cheated,” but the kind of pain that I caused anyone through leading them on the wrong path, or breaking up with them when they thought there was a future, or all that stuff, like, my favourite thing is finding out an ex-girlfriend got married, and has a baby.
When I find that out I feel so happy, I’m just like, “Oh, please forgive me.’ Like, “Yes! I didn’t ruin your life!” and that I’m super ashamed of, and those are my biggest grounding moments, because, before I became a monk, that’s what I was like, and it was me failing people rather than the relationship failing. I was getting lost too quickly in relationships, not treating people properly and that stuff I’m like, you know, that stuff makes me grounded all the time and I’m reminded of how low I can go and have gone.
Lewis Howes: Motivating you to stay consistent with the practice and, yeah.
Jay Shetty: Exactly. And never to buy into your own hype. Just don’t buy into it. Yes, it’s beautiful to be able to live a life now where I’m not like that, and I don’t feel like that any more. But it can happen to any of us. Any one of us can fall at any moment, and I think the moment you think you can’t fall…
I was talking about this with someone the other day. Benjamin Franklin’s thirteenth precept. He had thirteen things he wanted to achieve by the time he died. It included things like integrity, honesty, principles of that sort, values, deep core values. And at the end of his life he was asked which one did you not accomplish out of the thirteen. And he said it was the thirteenth one. And the thirteenth one is humility.
And I give that example, because if he felt he’d achieved humility, then he would lose all humility in that one statement. You can’t be humble if you say, “Oh, I’m humble.” If you feel humble, then you can’t be humble. That’s what I feel about, if you feel safe, that’s when you’re at your most vulnerable. When you feel you’re infallible, when you feel that there’s no moment when you could ever fall, that’s when you’re at your worst moment. And I think, too often when you do good, you feel good, you live good, you can get to a point where you can feel like, “Oh, I’ve got this.” And I think that’s where most of us fall and fail.
Ryan Holiday, I know, was on your show. Ego is the Enemy, it’s a beautiful book, I think it’s a great book, and that’s what I mean. That ego becomes the enemy, even when you start living the most pure, well intentioned life. That’s the last step of ego and the ego’s just ready.
So, for me, that self reflection, that grounding, that meditation, remembering, you know, as a monk we were taught two things to remember. Two things to forget. Always remember the bad you’ve done to others, and remember the good others have done for you. Always remember the bad you’ve done to others, and the good others have done to you. When you remember the bad you’ve done to others, you’ll always feel grounded, you’ll always feel humbled. You’ll never let your ego get over you. And when you remember the good others have done for you, you feel grateful.
Two things to forget: forget the good you’ve done for others. If you get fixated and fascinated by that too long, your ego is going to grow. And forget the bad others have done to you. That doesn’t mean you have to be their best friend again, but to forget, otherwise that’s just going to drain your energy forever. And those two points, really stayed with me, because they both stop you from ego, and they increase gratitude, and they keep you humble and grounded. And so, I aspire to that.
Lewis Howes: That’s powerful, yeah. Final few questions for you.
Jay Shetty: Yeah, go for it! I’m loving this.
Lewis Howes: This one’s called the Three Truths. From all the things you’ve learned in your life, monk life to stealing cars and everything else, breaking hearts, before you were a monk, all those things, to what you’ve learned now, if this was the last day for you, many years from now. You’ve created every video you want, you’ve created every story, shared every parable, you’ve shared every lesson, written all the books you want to do. Everything you want to do, you’ve done. Those thirteen things that you want, it happened.
But for whatever reason, they’re all erased. Everything is gone, from the internet, the world, print, it’s all gone, your words of wisdom. But you had a piece of paper and a pen, and this would last for 5,000 years. The three things that you wrote down would last for the next 5,000 years, but that’s all that would last. What would be your three truths or three lessons.
Jay Shetty: Your consciousness in the soul, not the body, that’d be the number one thing. Your consciousness. You’re not this physical, mental, emotional being. You’re a spiritual being in a human experience. You’re not a human having a spiritual experience. That would the first thing that would be mine. The moment you realise that, you cut through so much nonsense in your life. So, that would be number one. It’s one of the biggest principles in the Bhagavad Gita.
The second principle would be the second principle that’s huge in the Bhagavad Gita, which is, play to your own element, don’t try and perform someone else’s expertly. So, in modern terminology, how would I say that is, Steve Jobs: “Don’t waste your time trying to live someone else’s life.” Don’t be trapped by dogma, focussing on your own strengths, your own element, what you have to offer, don’t get lost in trying to become like someone else or pretend to be someone else.
There’s a beautiful, one of my favourite, quotes by Einstein, and then one of Steve Jobs, again. Einstein said, “If you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will spend its whole life believing that it’s stupid.” And too many of us are fish, trying to climb a tree. Too many of us are monkeys, being taught how to swim. Too many of us are lions, being taught how to live like cats. We’re not getting to live in our element.
So my second piece of advice is: Live in that element that you’ve naturally been given. Don’t try adopt another. You know, we’ve all got a special genius inside of us. It was Steve Wozniak and Steve Jobs’ conversation. Steve Wozniak, for those who don’t know, is the tech guy behind Apple. He practically invented the technology and the software and everything. So Steve Wozniak looked at Steve Jobs and he says, this is in Walter Isaacson’s biography of Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak looks at Steve Jobs and he says, “What do you even do? You’re not a coder, you’re not a designer, you’re not a marketer, and you’re not an engineer. What do you even do?” Imagine challenging Steve Jobs.
And Steve Jobs replies, he says, “Musicians play their instruments. I play the orchestra.” That is the most deep understanding of one’s role in life, and not getting lost in other people’s identities and perceptions of you. Steve Jobs knew that he wasn’t a marketer, he wasn’t an engineer, he wasn’t a coder, so he hired all of those. But he played the orchestra. He brought it all together. And that’s when you find confidence in your own role, you won’t be envious of anyone else’s. So that’s the second one.
I don’t know how big this piece of paper is, but anyway. And the third one is, lead with service. Just serve. Try and use the understanding of the first and the second to make a difference. If you’re a musician, serve. If you’re a coder, serve. If you’re an orchestra leader, serve. If you’re an entrepreneur, serve. Make your life about service and helping other people. Not just to feel good, but make that the reason why you do what you do. Don’t make that what happens because you have money, make that the reason you do what you do.
And if people start with service, then you’ll experience love, then you’ll experience compassion, then you’ll experience gratitude. Ghandi said, “You find yourself when you lose yourself in the service of others.” and that’s the deepest level of self actualisation.
So, know that you’re the soul and the consciousness, not the body. Know that you have a unique genius, and don’t settle for any less. And use both of those to serve other people as the reason for the first two. That’ll be my three.
Lewis Howes: Those are great. I love those, I love those.
Jay Shetty: They’re from the Vedas, they’re not mine.
Lewis Howes: I like them though. You’ve told them well. You used good analogies to tell them well.
Jay Shetty: Thank you.
Lewis Howes: How can we connect with you most? Where do you spend the most time online? Or how can we support you? You’re Jay Shetty on social media?
Jay Shetty: Yeah, Jay Shetty on social media. Facebook’s the place where I am most in terms of content, but Instagram and YouTube, any of those three are perfect places to find me and my content. My content generally sits across three areas. Relationships, Passion/Purpose, Success/Greatness. Those are the three things I’m most fascinated by.
So whether you’re an entrepreneur, whether you’re working at a corporate job, whatever you’re doing, wherever you are in the world, I’m very fortunate to have a global audience. So I’m very grateful that I’ve got everyone from Australia to South Africa to South America, to India, to China. So, wherever you are in the world, the US, UK, Europe, please come and find me on any of those three channels that work for you, and there’s always two to three new videos a week.
Lewis Howes: That’s great! Two or three a week. Make sure you guys check them out, follow him and check them out there. We’re going to make sure you have a book out soon too. I want to make sure that happens soon, so stay tuned for that in the future.
Before I ask the final question, I want to acknowledge you for a moment, Jay, for your ability to really dive into a place of letting go of everything, and then coming out the other side to be of service. I think you went through a lot growing up, where you realised it wasn’t the life you wanted. Then you saw the realisation that you wanted to do something greater than just steal cars or chase girls or whatever it was, and you learned some important principles that now you’re able to simplify and share with the world.
So the things that you talked about, your Three Truths, you’ve gone through the work. You’ve given up a lot so that you can give a lot to so many people. I just want to acknowledge you for showing up beautifully, man. You’ve got a huge heart of gold, and your discipline, your patience with people who maybe don’t think the way that you do, to just love and give is really powerful and inspiring. So, I want to acknowledge you for that, man.
Jay Shetty: Thank you. It’s a reflection of you. I definitely feel a lot of love for you. And I genuinely feel that we were connected beautifully last year, and I feel you’re one of the most genuine people I’ve met in a long, long time. And so I feel really touched to even know you, so the gratitude is mutual, yeah.
Lewis Howes: Thanks, man. Appreciate it, appreciate it. Final question: What’s your definition of greatness?
Jay Shetty: Phew! Oh, gosh! Leave that one till the end! Oh, yeah, okay. I have a definition of greatness. See, you sparked something. I said this in a class as a monk eight years ago. No, no that wouldn’t be true. Six years ago. I said this in a class. It came out spontaneously, since then I’ve repeated it. So I said that, “It’s easy to be great, to be personally great, to do something big yourself. Build a big business, have a good relationship, have a nice house, have a nice car. It’s easy to be great. It’s harder to be great and teach others to be great.”
To actually then go a step further and say, “I’m going to help other people be great.” That’s greater. It’s easy to be great. It’s harder to be great and teach others to be great. It’s even harder to be great, teach others to be great and then teach them to be great, and that they can teach others, and pass it on to be great.
But real greatness is when you’re great yourself, when you teach others to be great, when they learn how to teach others to be great, but you don’t feel that you’re great at all. That’s my definition of greatness. It’s where you stop and come back to humility and insignificance, and you embrace your insignificance. That’s the greatest thing in the world, the most powerful, most admirable, most captivating quality in a human is when they’ve achieved everything that looks great, in every arena, but they don’t consider themselves great. That’s my definition of greatness.
Lewis Howes: Jay Shetty, thank you very much. Appreciate it.
Jay Shetty: Thank you, man. Beautiful.
Lewis Howes: There you have it my friends, I hope you enjoyed this episode. If you did, please share the message out to your friends, to the world, on social media. All you need to do is post this link, lewishowes.com/608. Share it out to your friends, take a screenshot of this podcast on your phone and tag me on Instagram, @LewisHowes. Make sure to tag @jayshetty as well. Connect with us both over on Instagram Story and let us know what you think.
I try to respond to as many people as I can there, so post it there, put your feedback and we’ll try to get back to you. Again, the full video and show notes is over there as well, so make sure to share this with your friends. Super pumped to get this out there in the world, we’re all about making ancient wisdom go viral.
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Go there right now, audible.com/greatness for your free trial and you can listen to my book or listen to The School of Greatness. Every single month you get a credit, good for any audiobook in their store, regardless of price, and any unused credits will roll over to the next month. And if you don’t like your audiobook, you can exchange it, no questions asked, plus, you keep all your books. Even if you cancel, you get to go back an listen to your books. Check them out, one more time, audible.com/greatness or text, greatness, to 500-500.
Again, we have some big interviews coming up. Super excited about what we have coming up next, guys. Make sure to subscribe if this is your first time here, and every single Monday, Wednesday and Friday, we bring you inspiration, information and inspiring interviews to help you unlock your inner greatness. I hope you enjoyed this one with Jay Shetty, and as Joseph Wong said, “Influence is our inner ability to lift people up to our perspective.
I love you, and you know what time it is: It’s time to go out there and do something great!
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