In this ON Purpose episode, Jay Shetty shared one of his first conversations with Deepak Chopra, in which he described his career path in detail.

It was a candid discussion, where he opened up about his childhood, difficulties as a teenager, and what he learned along the way.He also pointed out two transformational habits that changed his life. Jay believes a shift in perspective can open new doors for anyone willing to take the leap.

Growing Up

Jay Shetty grew up in London in an Indian family. Stereotypically, his parents expected him to excel at school and end up with a high-status job, such as a lawyer or doctor. For many years, he followed this path, until he decided one day that he didn't want to continue on this path anymore.

Despite having good grades, he was bullied because of his heritage and weight. He believed that doing well in school was no longer his ideal. He wanted to find satisfaction elsewhere because his life hadn’t made him happy so far.

So, Jay Shetty started joining shady groups, experimenting with drugs and petty violence. This was his way to rebel against the strict expectations of his immediate environment. He told Chopra that he looked scary and confident but was scared and insecure inside.

This phase of his life lasted four years. During this time, he tried to find something more meaningful. "I was always seeking a thrill in life. I wanted to feel deeply passionate about something," he told Chopra.

Jay Shetty quoted Martin Luther King, Jr. who once said, "If you’ve got nothing worth dying for, you’ve got nothing worth living for." This is what Jay was after—something to make life worthwhile.

Wake-up Call

Sadly, Jay Shetty lost two friends when he was only sixteen. One died in a gang altercation, and the other in a car accident. This was a wake-up call for him. He understood that being tough was no longer satisfying him either.

He believed his friends to be good people, and their passing left a deep imprint. Suddenly, Jay Shetty started to look at life from a different angle. It was now a precious resource, not worth wasting. But, he admitted, "I started to recognize how little time we could have if it were used unwisely."

When he was eighteen, Jay's friends convinced him to hear a monk give a speech at the university they attended. Initially, he was not interested, but eventually reluctantly decided to go.

He recalls the speech having a deep impact on him. Jay Shetty then went on to spend half of his summer vacations working and dedicating the other half to studying monkhood in India. After finishing university at the age of twenty-two, he went to live full-time like a monk for three years.


One of the first things Jay learned while living as a monk in India was discipline. He wasn't aware that it was or could be part of his personality. But he learned it from various tasks, including waking up at 4:00 am every morning and sitting still for long hours during meditations.In his view, people today tend to underestimate the benefit of discipline. As a result, there is a heavy focus on creativity and spontaneity instead. But he would like everyone to understand that discipline takes practice and patience.

"But then when you have people who are doing it around you, when you build up a practice, everything becomes possible. Which is quite fascinating when you start breaking your limits," Jay shared with Chopra.

Facing Inner Demons

When people think of meditation, more often than not, they imagine a quiet and welcoming environment. Unfortunately, the pictures we see on social media with people wearing yoga pants, and sitting happily in silence on a sunset background, can often be misleading.

Jay Shetty gave an analogy from the Vedic tradition that compares meditation with cleansing an inner mirror. Like cleaning an old dusty attic, when you start working on your mind, you will inevitably be faced with the unpleasant aspects of your personality, too.

Demons, as one may call them, may surface in the form of anger, envy, greed, etc. Jay Shetty admitted to seeing more of these traits in himself. However, because he believes we are all pure consciousness, these aspects are just "something that I've taken on as a garment that needs to be taken off."J

ay believes our human experience is fleeting. Meditation is a tool that can help each individual find peace and relaxation, and get closer to their true selves. He encouraged listeners to allocate at least five or ten minutes to this practice each day and go on a meditation retreat at least once.

End of Monkhood

After three years of learning the ropes of monkhood, Jay Shetty felt something was missing. Having thought deeply about who he was and what he stood for, he realized that he had a rebellious and independent nature. Recognizing this didn’t align with the life of a monk, he returned to London.

But reintegration took work. Jay had to catch up on many things that had happened and find his path once more. Now, he had a harder time getting hired due to lack of experience, and his family was also not thrilled with his choice.


During his time in India, Jay Shetty took a hard look at himself. After returning to London, he continued this introspection, and began thinking about his meaning and purpose in life.

He believes life is much more than we think it is. And many people try to solve existential challenges with circumstantial solutions. The challenge, he continued, is that "we don't feel connected to ourselves. Existentially, we don't feel like we're serving. Existentially, we don't know our purpose.

"In his view, drinking or overindulging in activities that suppress these thoughts are merely circumstantial solutions meant to chase away these more profound thoughts. And so Jay kept meditating and reading books that complemented the Vedic life vision.

From Monk to Coach

By the time Jay Shetty ended his monkhood, mindfulness and meditation had also become popular in the Western world. After talking to some old friends in London about these practices that he had now mastered, he was invited to speak at a corporate event.Corporations found Jay's story fascinating and his experience valuable. So, he was hired to coach executives at various big firms. This role was created for him rather than for him intentionally seeking it.

But Jay Shetty wanted to spread his knowledge to everyone, regardless of social status. So, he thought about making a video series. He chased major media companies in England to pitch his idea, but they all turned him down. They all told him to get a Master's in Communications degree, but he didn't have the required background and wasn't accepted into any of the programs. He interned for free only to realize there were no jobs in the media after all.

And so Jay was seemingly left with no options. But he remembered Dr. Robert Schuller once said, "When you think you have exhausted all possibilities, remember this. . .you haven't." This thought kept him going, so he started a youtube channel.

Making Wisdom Go Viral

Only three months after starting his channel, someone showed Arianna Huffington one of Jay's videos, and she loved it. So, she asked to host some of his content on the official Huffington Post channel.

They uploaded four of his videos, which gained a hundred million views. The result was unexpected both for Jay and Huffington. Finally, he discovered, he could share his knowledge and spread the word to everyone.After a while, he moved to New York, where he sought to pursue his independent path again. He continued growing his channel and evolved into who he is today.

Happiness And Success

Jay Shetty differentiates between happiness and success. To him, being happy is something purely internal. It is understanding who you are without the reflection of a mirror or others. On the other hand, he sees success as an external achievement. It can come in the form of money, awards, status, etc., but it will always be measured by external factors.

Monk life has taught Jay to be happy. He now has daily practices that he incorporates into his schedule to keep him grounded and remind him of his purpose. He refines his intentions as if planting a new seed every day. He sets higher ideals such as love, empathy, service, connection, community, and unity. At the same time, he "weeds out" the desires of the ego, pride, and fame, in an attempt to keep true to his core values.

Once you do this, it is essential to realize your genius, Jay told Chopra. He firmly believes everyone has unique potential inside them. You don't need to copy others to become successful; be true to yourself. You are a unique combination of factors.

But being great is sometimes not enough. This is why Jay Shetty always has a strategy in place—knowing where you want to go and how to organize yourself when building a business is vital.

Jay believes the journey matters more than the result. People tend to get attached to the outcomes and stop enjoying the ride. But he admitted to being "in love with the process."

Honest Advice

Jay Shetty advised listeners to cultivate their authentic selves through meditation, reading, going on retreats, etc. He finds it necessary to grow beyond body and mind in order to achieve great results.

Lastly, if you are looking to build a business through social media, make sure your content serves people. Engagement will naturally pick up when you start caring about your audience. Authenticity is key.

More From Jay Shetty

Listen to the entire On Purpose with Jay Shetty podcast episode on “2 Transformational Habits To Change Your Mental State & How To Refine Your Intentions for a Happier, Fulfilled Life” now in the iTunes store or on Spotify. For more inspirational stories and messages like this, check out Jay’s website at

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