Do your daily habits leave you feeling stuck in the same old day-to-day grind? If you want to change the trajectory of your life, this article will provide you with valuable information you can use to build life-changing habits.
Jay Shetty sits down with Gwyneth Paltrow, an Oscar-winning actress and lifestyle innovator, to talk about his transition from monkhood to life coach. Here, he takes us on his journey of learning to condition his mind to find strength and happiness and teaches us how to appreciate each step of the journey.
From Monk to Life Coach
Jay Shetty was raised in London and grew up in a family where he had three choices. He could be a doctor, lawyer, or a failure. He informed his family he wanted to become a monk at age 18. He jokingly states that he decided to become the third option.
“They didn't believe me,” Shetty shares. “They were just like, ‘Yeah, sure, it's a phase.’”
Monkhood was not something he grew up dreaming about – it kind of just fell into his lap. While attending university, his friends invited him to an event to hear some different speakers. He reluctantly agreed to go with the stipulation they would go to the bar after the event. “I went along to the event,” explains Shetty. “This monk was speaking, and I went there expecting nothing. But I walked away feeling like I'd completely found a new path in life, because the monk was speaking about selflessness and service and using our time to impact the world.”
After graduation, Jay Shetty traded his suits for robes and pursued life as a monk. He slept on the floor and practiced meditation for four to eight hours per day. A gym locker could store all his possessions. He lived the monk life for three years until his teachers felt it was time for him to leave the ashram and share his knowledge with others. “When I came back, I had no idea how I would try and share what I'd learned,” he says. “Everything was so busy, hectic, and chaotic. But I started and took a few steps, and now here we are today. It all started because I met someone who changed the trajectory of my life. Had I not met him, I wouldn't be here today.”
Experimenting is Important
Don't be afraid to take a leap of faith to try something new. For Jay Shetty, making the jump from being a student in London to becoming a monk took courage. By age 18, he had met many rich, famous, very successful, beautiful, and influential people, but the first person he recalled being truly happy was the monk he met at the event his friends invited him to.
“He was happy, he still is happy, and he’s still a monk,” Shetty shares. “And I thought I wanted to understand that. It was a moment of thinking, ‘I like that feeling’, so my 22-year-old self became a monk.”
With boundless enthusiasm, Jay Shetty lived the monk's life. He didn't take shortcuts. He moved out of his comfort zone and went all out to live exactly how the monks lived so he could reap the same benefits he saw that day at the college event. He committed to experimenting with something new to achieve the benefits he desired. By no means do you need to experiment with something for three years as Jay Shetty did, but take a month, week, or a weekend and put into practice something that you have learned or are learning and see what happens. “It's worth the experiment,” Shetty says.
Freedom of Choice
The ability to experiment with different things comes from freedom of choice. The freedom to choose based on what you want to do in life gives you power, but multiple choices can also lead to decision fatigue. Decision fatigue is when decisions feel exhausting. In decision fatigue, you are often hasty in making decisions opting to go with whatever feels the easiest, even if it is not always the best option. So how do you avoid decision fatigue while still having freedom of choice?
Jay Shetty explains to Gwyneth Paltrow that you need to strip away some of your freedom of choice, narrow down the choices you have to choose from, and grow your ability to make better choices. “When you're not having to think about certain choices in your day, you're freed up to make choices in a healthier way,” Shetty tells Paltrow. “I found that making certain parts of our lives systematic, routine, habitual, and communal allowed space for creativity, spontaneity, and true expression.”
Paltrow adds all the layers of responsibility we heap on ourselves creates more choices we have to make, and keeps us enslaved to those commitments. Creating habits removes some of the choices you need to make throughout the day, giving you the ability to make better choices.
The Monkey Mind
In Buddhist teachings, the mind is compared to a monkey. Millions of choices each day surround us, and we spend time rushing from place to place, just like a monkey swinging from branch to branch. We take ourselves too seriously and get caught up in what we have to do instead of doing. “We choose to criticize or judge ourselves when our mind does something we don't like,” Jay Shetty tells Gwyneth Paltrow. “Instead, we need to switch critiquing for laughing. Laugh when the monkey mind makes a mistake or when your mind tells you something that is not true. Allow yourself to laugh. Allow yourself to see it with a bit of humor. You’ll start to notice when you don't take the mind so seriously, it doesn't have much of an effect on you.”There are times when you feel more profound, painful emotions and want to sweep them under the rug and tune them out. But Jay Shetty explains it is in those moments you need to accept and recognize the emotion.“It's almost like the weather,” Jay Shetty tells Paltrow. “If I always say I never want it to rain, then it rains, and I'm scared, I'm unprepared, and I'm stressed. Whereas if I accept that it's going to rain, I have time to pack my umbrella and raincoat. It's about developing the umbrella and the raincoat for our emotions. The umbrella is community, and the raincoat is the tools, habits, and practices of reflection that help you break your emotions down.”
Not sure how to harmonize with your monkey mind? Meditation is a great way to get in touch with yourself.
Meditation is a tool you can use to help train your mind and gain a deeper understanding of life. There are different types of meditation, and you can build on which method works best for you. There is not a one-size-fits-all meditation routine. It is unique for each individual. Meditation trains your mind to be where you are and do uncomfortable things. It teaches you to focus and not give in to whatever you feel like in the moment. Sitting in that discomfort sets you up for success in other areas of your life. “I find that meditation is not meant to be a euphoric, ecstatic experience every time,” Jay Shetty explains to Gwyneth Paltrow. “It's meant to just give you a signal and an alert as to how you feel today. So if you feel distracted today, meditation is just showing you that today you're going to be more distracted. Maybe don't make any big decisions. Use it as a signal. Meditation is aligning your body and mind so that you can do what you want to do.”
The three types of meditation that Jay Shetty is trained in are:
- Breathwork. Breathwork helps to calm and still the body.
- Visualization. Visualization helps to focus the mind.
- Mantra. Mantra helps heal the heart and soul.
Breathwork is a great foundation to start with because it sets you up physically. Visualization help get the mind focused, and then the mantra helps heal. When used as an ascending process, it is very effective. Meditation is personal for everyone, so you need to experiment to see what works best for you. Jay Shetty prefers to use mantras for his meditation sessions. He sets aside two hours per day to meditate. It may be for two hours straight or broken down into smaller time segments throughout the day. It just depends on what his schedule looks like. Even in his hectic schedule, he still takes time to show up for himself to get the day started on the right foot or to keep it on the right track throughout the day. Need help getting started with meditation? Ready to make meditation a new daily habit? Meditate with Jay Shetty daily for seven minutes in The Daily Jay, his new mindfulness series on Calm. Save 40% off your subscription when you join now at https://calm.com/Jay.
Start the Day with Positivity
It is easy to wake up in the morning with the negativity from the day before still on your mind. Perhaps you have to face something that day that you are struggling with. When you wake up with the previous day's negativity or worry about what's ahead, it sets the tone for your whole day. So how do you cultivate a positive place where you can separate yourself from the negativity and challenges of the day? “I genuinely believe we all have to have a foundation of daily routines that give us the feelings we want, “ Jay Shetty tells Gwyneth Paltrow. “Instead of just wanting a good day, the more we start by creating a foundational set of habits and activities that can set us up for that day, the healthier we are.”
Jay Shetty suggests starting your day with four essential habits.
- Thankfulness. Thankfulness takes 30 seconds. The best way to practice thankfulness is through expressing it. Make it personal and specific. Send a text, a voicemail, or an email to someone you're grateful for.
- Inspiration. Whoever it is you're drawn to, take the time and listen to the same thing from them every single day. It will start to rewire how you think. It's as simple as that.
- Meditative mindfulness. Find what meditation practice works best for you and start your day with it.
- Exercise. Find a routine that keeps you interested and that you enjoy and make it a habit.
When you start your day with these four positive practices, you start your day ahead. Even if the rest of the day doesn't go as planned, the positivity will carry you through whatever is thrown at you.Instead of going straight to your phone, start with these four practices.“When you wake up to the phone in the morning, you wake up to notifications, negativity, news, and noise,” Jay Shetty says. “These four things make you feel like you're starting your day at the bottom of the ladder, and you are spending the day catching up to yourself.”
Jay Shetty tells Paltrow that your relationship with yourself is the best relationship you will ever have. “It’s such a joy to be present with yourself and to fall more in love with yourself. No one will ever love you the way you want to be loved apart from yourself.”
Appreciate where you are on your journey. If you don't learn to appreciate where you are, you will never enjoy where you want to go.
More From Jay Shetty
Listen to the entire On Purpose with Jay Shetty podcast episode with Gwyneth Paltrow and on “Building Life-Changing Habits” now in the iTunes store or on Spotify. For more inspirational stories and messages like this, check out Jay’s website at jayshetty.me.
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