Have you ever wondered what the true meaning of success is?

In this episode, James Corden, a renowned actor, comedian, and television host, opened up to Jay Shetty about his interpretation of success and letting go of expectations. 

Corden shares his experiences of chasing success, picking himself up after failure, balancing family life and career, and making marriage work. 

To him, surrounding yourself with good people and slowing down during tough times is important. He urges listeners to cultivate a purposeful life, embrace life's pace, and savor each moment.

Good Thing, Bad Thing

Corden opened up to Jay Shetty about his ability to challenge himself and take risks throughout his career. Success doesn't always mean thriving; it means learning from setbacks. The comedian chose to leave The Late Late Show because it no longer aligned with his aspirations. For him, it was time to prioritize life satisfaction over professional success.

While he made a life-changing decision, Corden admitted to being uncertain about the outcome. He believes in accepting what is to come and following life's course. He and Jay Shetty discussed the Zen parable about a man who accepted life's events as they were. He never judged them to be good or bad in the moment, as, according to him, only time could tell.

Moreover, Corden talked about the importance of making decisions based on underlying reasons rather than just focusing on the results. Success is not all about external rewards, but it is about the overall well-being. To the comedian, it is like climbing a mountain: The journey is more important than reaching the climax.

Yet pursuing success comes with a price to pay. There are many fears and worries that come with it. Corden explained that sometimes pursuing goals and overcoming challenges can bring more satisfaction than achieving certain objectives. Excellence and being the best is a subjective interpretation.

Love for the Stage

James Corden admitted to Jay Shetty that he had a passion for being on stage from a very young age, whether at school, home, or anywhere else. He grew up in a family involved in the Salvation Army. So, he had his first taste of performing at the age of four during a church event where he stood on a chair and entertained the congregation. That was when he became aware of his passion for the spotlight.

At that moment, Corden associated success with performing in a West End musical, which he achieved at seventeen. He saw it as the pinnacle of his aspirations. To him, being on stage was his dream. So, he started pursuing it by playing in different plays and musicals, always challenging himself to grow.

Success vs. Feeling Right

James Corden told Jay Shetty that some endeavors don't end up being what they you expect them to be. Failure is part of life and he accepts it as such, without dwelling on it. For example, he loved his role in the movie Cats. The show received widespread criticism. Yet despite the public opinion, he enjoyed his experience on-set. The comedian told Jay, "you have to separate sometimes your own experience and the outcome of a project."

Jay Shetty agrees with Corden's perspective—being successful professionally doesn't feel as good if you don't have special people to celebrate it with. Similarly, having your loved ones around you makes you feel less upset about a setback. It is, therefore, important to cherish each day and be prepared for unexpected twists and turns in life.

Lately, during his work hiatus, Corden found himself prioritizing health and personal fulfillment. He acknowledges a shift in focus toward activities that bring him joy, such as writing and podcasting, while being less preoccupied with traditional markers of success.

Identify Your Priorities

To the comedian, the well-being of his family is the most important thing. He told Jay Shetty, "You're only as happy as your least happy child." He tries to live by this quote.

When he first started as a host, Corden tried to do too many things at once. Over time, he understood that it is important to use your time wisely. He now started to turn down opportunities and decide which ones are worth his time and which ones aren't.

During his career, Corden learned to appreciate the simple things in life. He enjoys dedicating time to his family and caring for his health. When it comes to doing something new, Corden told Jay Shetty, "Just do the thing. Don't talk about doing the thing. Don't tweet about doing the thing." He advocates for taking action over talking about it.

Showbiz Life

James Corden reflects on the identity shift and ego associated with performing, especially as a late-night show host. He tells Jay Shetty that the work environment reminded him of his fame. He would be greeted every day with pictures of himself and would see his name displayed in different places, on posters, in the elevator, etc.

Yet despite the glamor and excitement of performing sketches with celebrities and receiving standing ovations, Corden acknowledges the intense ego boost this environment provided. Stepping onto the stage, he would mentally prepare while receiving a standing ovation. As a way to humble himself, Corden reminded himself that the audience was presented with a sign that asked them to applaud.

Transitioning away from this role, Corden finds the period of silence and reduced public presence beneficial. He finds a different type of fulfillment, being away from the spotlight. Despite the odd feeling of not performing regularly, he enjoys engaging in new endeavors. The comedian told Jay Shetty that he was curious about future possibilities and looks forward to making meaningful contributions over mere fame. 

The Ability to Let Go

James Corden and Jay Shetty discuss the fleeting nature of life and the importance of letting go. The comedian compares holding onto something forever to a child clinging onto a balloon, only to find it deflated and losing its charm over time. Corden said there is beauty in letting go, like the magical moment of releasing the balloon into the sky.

Moreover, Corden opened up about experiencing loss and heartbreak. It is on these occasions that he found wisdom and growth. Therefore, it is important to embrace life's ups and downs with an open heart and mind. James Corden and Jay Shetty agree that allowing space for new experiences and relationships to blossom is essential to achieving personal evolution and fulfillment.

"You're Just a Man"

Jay Shetty explained that it is important to remain humble amidst fame. He gave the example of the Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius, who had a servant follow him everywhere and whisper in his years the phrase "You're just a man" if he happened to feel too adored by his people. Fame is temporary, and therefore, it is important to have the right mindset to remind you of who you truly are.

Corden acknowledges that there were times in his career when his ego might have held him back. However, he learned that fans wanting to take a selfie with him were interested more in their own story than in his person. This was an important lesson that made him more aware of what fame is and how to manage it. However, he expresses gratitude for his opportunities and stresses the importance of not taking success for granted.

Healthier Habits

Jay Shetty has often spoken about the importance of a good night sleep in his life. Similarly, James Corden find sleep important - being jet-lagged and traveling used to decrease the quality of his sleep. Moreover, being a father of small children also impacted the length of his sleep. He references Alain de Botton's book The School of Life as a precious gift often taken for granted.

Corden told Jay that better sleep positively impacts every aspect of his life. Additionally, he decided to cut back on alcohol consumption. The friend who inspired him to do so compared drinking to borrowing energy from tomorrow. Corden desires healthier living without focusing solely on weight loss but by prioritizing his overall well-being. 

A friend of the comedian advises against going on a diet, as it is similar to going on a holiday. It may fix the issue temporarily, but it will revert back once the holiday is over. Instead, it helps make more sustainable lifestyle changes. For a truly healthier life, long-term habits have a greater effect than short-term fixes.

Male Friendships and Role Models

Jay Shetty and James Corden discussed the importance of deep friendships and vulnerability, especially among men. Corden emphasized that having reliable friends who will always be there for you is crucial. However, he suggested that relationships change over time, particularly with the arrival of children.

Especially in the role of a father, Corden highlighted the impact of friends as role models. Children may look up to their parents' friends for guidance as they navigate life's complexities. This is why it is essential to maintain meaningful connections and foster open communication with friends and relatives.

Prioritizing the Family

Jay Shetty first met James Corden when he was invited to watch his show in Los Angeles. He was impressed by the comedian's kindness and authenticity, especially his genuine connection with his family; on the breaks, Corden would call his children and talk to them. Jay was also impressed by his ability to juggle work and personal life.

However, Corden credits his wife for playing a pivotal role in their decision to move back to the UK from Los Angeles. He acknowledges the sacrifices his family made to support his career, and he is grateful for the opportunity to reconnect with his roots. In order to have a functional family, partners need to prioritize each other's needs and take turns when necessary. To the comedian, these family bonds are essential.

Connections and Relationships

Relationships have the power to shift life dynamics on personal connections. Jay Shetty appreciates James Corden's role in reshaping conversations around masculinity, especially through his funny "bromance" moments with David Beckham.

The comedian attended Beckham's documentary premiere; he understood the universal appeal of the footballer's story as one of resilience and perseverance. To him, it was similar to Aaron Sorkin's commencement speech at Syracuse University, where he highlighted the importance of getting back up after being knocked down. 

Corden believes that sports stars and musicians experience a different nature of fame than actors and performers. He told Jay Shetty that, in his opinion, athletes and musicians create profound, unifying moments that make individuals feel less alone. Music and sports are about shared human feelings and experiences, and they have the power to bridge personal and communal gaps. For example, he suggests John Lennon's interaction with fans who felt understood and identified with his lyrics.

Taking Things Slowly

Following his departure from The Late Late Show, Corden used the time to create something of his own. He explained to Jay Shetty his creative process - he takes his time without rushing and allows ideas to develop organically. He admitted that it can sometimes become challenging to balance patience with the fear of failure.

Yet the comedian intends to overcome this fear; he plans to avoid as much as possible the pressure of having to produce content on an ongoing basis. Instead, he aims to create something meaningful and different, like his new podcast This Life of Mine. Corden had this idea ever since he was 16 - he wanted to discuss things people find significant and love in their lives.

Moreover, Corden is planning to start writing again, possibly with Ruth Jones, his co-writer for Gavin and Stacey. He is also considering enrolling in a film school program or acting classes to expand his skills and potentially find a new creative direction.

James Corden told Jay Shetty that he feels fortunate and grateful for his past achievements, and he remains curious about exploring new creative possibilities. It will take time for ideas to mature, but he stays optimistic and welcomes change.

More From Jay Shetty

Listen to the entire On Purpose with Jay Shetty podcast episode on “James Corden ON How to Know When the Time Is Right to Let Go” now in the iTunes store or on Spotify. For more inspirational stories and messages like this, check out Jay’s website at jayshetty.me.

Jay Shetty On Purpose Podcast
Feeling a little lost lately?

Take my new quiz to discover your deeper purpose.

Take the Quiz
Jay Shetty On Purpose Podcast

Looking for greater meaning? This quiz shows you how to live with purpose every day.

Take the Quiz
Jay Shetty On Purpose Podcast

Dreaming of becoming a life coach? This quiz tells you if a coaching career is right for you.

Take the Quiz
Jay Shetty On Purpose Podcast

Dreaming of becoming a life coach? This quiz tells you if a coaching career is right for you.

Take the Quiz
Jay Shetty On Purpose Podcast

Everyone communicates differently. Discover your own personal fight style now.

Take the Quiz
Jay Shetty On Purpose Podcast

Understanding your role in a relationship is the first step to making things work.

Take the Quiz